The Erosion of Time

The Erosion of Time

By CPR Partner, Tracy Ervin, PT.

            Time, per the Oxford dictionary, is defined as: “the indefinite continued progress of existence and events in the past, present, and future regarded as a whole”.  There is no better place to attempt to understand this definition of time than in the Grand Canyon, via an expedition trip down the Colorado River. Such was my privilege this May, when my daughter and I spent 16 days rafting down the Grand.

This mind bending/time bending trip started at Lee’s Ferry, the mouth of the Grand Canyon, and ended 226 miles later at the Diamond Creek takeout.   226 river miles, winding deeper and deeper into the canyon, exposing layer after layer of ancient rock, some layers as old as those found anywhere on earth, with the oldest exposed layer approximately 1.84 billion years old. The Grand Canyon itself is much younger, having formed over the last 5 million years. It’s hard to wrap your head around the passage of that kind of time, but the evidence of such is presented around every river corner and every side canyon that winds its way from the rim to the river floor.  The river, and time, sculpt a forever changing landscape that is majestic and awe inspiring.

Much like the Grand Canyon, the human body is susceptible to the erosive forces of time. As we age, cellular degeneration contributes to age-related decline. Skin becomes less elastic, joints undergo wear and tear, and our bodies have more difficulty adapting to the forces we ask them to endure. The Grand Canyon and the human body experience the erosive nature of time in very different ways. Despite the relentless forces of time and erosion, the Grand Canyon remains a symbol of enduring strength and beauty. Likewise, as we age, we have an opportunity to be shaped by the gradual processes of time in ways that reflect resiliency, strength, adaptability, and dare I say, beauty. 

Not only is time an erosion factor, but we humans ourselves have become very proficient at eroding time. We tell ourselves that we’ll start that exercise program tomorrow, that we’ll eat healthier when the New Year rolls around, or that we’ll “get in shape” when we have more time.  These excuses aren’t about time, they are about priorities. When it comes to our health, and aging into our bodies in ways that allow us to live our later years in life on our own terms, we must make our health our priority. Now. No excuses.

For some, this is an easy ask.  But for so many others, barriers prevent us from achieving our goals. Barriers such as physical limitations including weakness or loss of endurance, medical limitations such as diabetes, heart disease, or obesity, or the mental/emotional challenge of overcoming fear or anxiety associated with an exercise or gym program.  Physical Therapists can help you work past those barriers.  Therapists are experts at resolving neuromusculoskeletal issues and manipulating how those issues interact with medical diagnoses that may be affecting your overall health and activity level. Not all barriers can be removed, which may require creativity, adaptability, and modifications in order to further improve our health and remain active. The therapists at CPR will partner with you to meet you “where you are” and help you get to where you want to go.  Contact us today and start that journey with us. In the meantime, here are a few things you can do immediately to start improving your health:

  1. Adopt the Mediterranean Diet – an evidence based, easy to follow way of eating that decreases inflammation and improves longevity.
  2. Go for a brisk walk – start easy: flat terrain, slower pace, shorter time. Eventually, work yourself up to a brisk pace and shoot for 150 minutes per week.
  3. Stress relief – pick one thing that brings you joy and devote 10 minutes a day to it. Also, practice diaphragmatic breathing at night before falling asleep.
  4. Better Sleep – Practice good sleep hygiene, including regular bedtime and wake times, no screen time 1 hour before bed, get at least 7-8 hours of sleep every night, and avoid alcohol, but if you must, don’t drink alcohol later than 3-4 hours prior to bedtime.

We have choices about how we age; what we want each decade to look like as we progress through time and etch our stories into the tapestry of our lives. Time is both a creator and a destroyer. Whether through the erosive nature of the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon, or as it relates to the aging processes of the human body, we have the opportunity to manipulate time to our advantage, creating the same longevity and resiliency in ourselves that characterize both nature and humanity.