Don’t Ask Your Doctor

Leigh Anne Jasheway-BryantI am an outlaw. Maybe I’ve never robbed a bank or tagged a train with “Menopausal women rule!” but I have worked out to exercise videos without consulting my doctor first. Go ahead, send the fitness police–I’ve got some Zumba moves that will daze and confuse them.

Really, how many of you have a doctor who gives you more than 5 minutes to discuss the situation de jour? Once you’ve chatted about that weird mole on your back or the fact that your right kidney seems to be asleep, you’re supposed to yell at the M.D.’s quickly disappearing backside, “Do you think I can safely do the Bollywood Bootylicious Bounce for Beginners?”

Unless your doctor happens to also be a fitness enthusiast, chances are he or she knows less about exercise than your pet groomer, hairdresser, or plumber. In fact, I’m fairly certain you can better fitness advice from a 12-year-old nerdy boy who never leaves his mom’s basement. At least he knows how to play Wii tennis.

I was once married to an overweight man who went to the doctor a lot with issues that were all clearly related to being overweight (bad back, bad knees, high blood pressure especially when weighing himself, permanent impression in the mattress because he never left bed except under threat of no food or sex). I regularly accompanied my ex on medical appointments because he tended to have anger issues (yes, he was a peach; thanks for that). Not once in five years of visits to multiple practitioners did any of them say, “Just get off your fat ass and get some damn exercise!” Which made me look like a bad guy when I said it.

Most doctors learn everything they know about exercise from watching Dr. Oz and The Biggest Loser. This does not make them an expert in the field any more than my watching Private Practice means I am qualified to deliver a breach baby or sleep with everyone in the office.

I understand that exercise video people are just trying to cover their Spandex behinds in case you keel over and die while kick-boxing in your living room. I think we’d all be safer if they changed their warning to: “Consult yourself before beginning a new exercise program. And remember: we have lawyers on retainer.”

From Leigh Anne Jasheway’s blog, accidentalcomic.

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