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Use It . . . Or Lose It May 24, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Humor, Life Balance, Mindfulness.

If we don’t use our muscles, they atrophy and waste away . . . to nothing. 

Don’t believe me? 

Climb into bed.  Stay there.  For 30 days.  Then, try to stand on your own two feet. 

Not gonna happen.

It’s not just leg and arm muscles that disappear from non-use.  Our memory muscles, sense of humor, drive, enthusiasm, resilience, determination, goal setters, dream-makers, kindness capacitors, vision questers, inner artists, and imagineers all benefit from regular work outs.

If we ignore these central and essential players, they dissipate and evaporate. 

They vanish. 


Leaving us to play the game of life with fewer and fewer resources at our disposal. 

Have you ever played chess with only pawns left to defend the King from attack by opposing Rooks, Castles, Bishops, and the evil ubiquitous Queen?

Not fun, is it?  The chance of prevailing diminishes with each piece lost. 

Eventually, our odds of winning are on par with making it to the top of Mt. Everest, without Sherpas, while wading through an avalanche in a blizzard.

Use it . . . or lose it.
Get up.  Get out.  Get moving. 

Get happy!

Aah . . . that’s better!

Related post:  Muscle Mania: A Nod To The Remote Control (Kate Shrewsday)


1. sarsm - May 24, 2012

Brilliantly said!!

Can you imagine losing your sense of humour? That would be the worst one for me.

nrhatch - May 24, 2012

Thanks, sarsm! When I think of my “core muscles” . . . my sense of humor is THE most important asset I possess for maintaining balance on life’s journey.

2. William D'Andrea - May 24, 2012

I walk about an hour a day, every day, which keeps me in very good physical health. My writing every day, keeps my mind active. Even if it’s just a short entry like this, I’ve exercised my mind. I’ve often said, that while the brain isn’t a muscle, is should also be exercised regularly.

nrhatch - May 24, 2012

That’s two of the bases covered, William. What about the rest? Do you USE every aspect of YOU that you don’t want to LOSE?

William D'Andrea - May 26, 2012

What I don’t want to lose most of all is my memory. I mentioned in reply to an earlier entry of yours that I’m noticing difficulty in remembering key words and phrases, but after short moments of intense concentration, I do remember them. When I’m writing, and concentrating on what words I want to use, my mind is fully exercised, and I’m keeping things together.

As for the rest of your list; are you saying “Be all that you can be”? If so, I’m trying my best, but after 66 years in this world, I know my strengths and limitations, and I keep gradually improving.

“Please be patient. God hasn’t completed me yet.”

nrhatch - May 26, 2012

It’s not just our brains and our bodies that benefit from regular workouts . . . our drive, enthusiasm, resilience, determination, goal setters, dream-makers, kindness capacitors, vision questers, inner artists, and imagineers do too.

3. cuhome - May 24, 2012

Interesting addendum to back up what you’re saying, Nancy: a study I read showed that, after just 3 days of hospitalization and being bedbound (except to get up to use the bathroom), patients on average lost 10% of their muscle mass! Yikes! And that goes for disuse of our brains, as well, as you point out!! Good reminder post!

nrhatch - May 24, 2012

I believe it! Fortunately, it’s (almost) never too late to regain (at least some of) what we’ve lost.

We just need to start “flexing” IT (whatever IT is) again.

4. Andra Watkins - May 24, 2012

Agreed. (As I type this in a very sweaty state after doing my six-mile walk for the day………)

nrhatch - May 24, 2012

You’re in great shape since you also flex your leadership muscles, travel muscles, imagineers, etc., on a regular basis.

5. granny1947 - May 24, 2012

Get up. Get out. Get moving.

Get happy!

Love it.
Live in the moment…really LIVE.

nrhatch - May 24, 2012

Exactly! If we’re not fully engaged in living . . . we die a little more every day. 😯

6. Three Well Beings - May 24, 2012

So right! One of the central issues in my dad’s “after care” from the hospital is that he was weakened. Prior to hospitalization he had been active, but when he got sick, he lost ground. Two weeks in bed and he went “down hill” very fast. It’s now all about getting his strength back. I’ve never before seen such a major dissipation in overall stamina as I’ve seen with him, and it appears to be all about the “use it or lose it” syndrome. Major illustration for me, and I’m stepping up my routine to be a lot more in tune. At every age we do need to be mindful. And I agree with you–movement and health are part of maintaining happiness! Debra

nrhatch - May 24, 2012

The younger we are, the slower we lose IT and the faster we regain IT . . . once we put our mind to IT.

As we age, we lose IT faster and regain IT slower. Keep encouraging your dad, Debra. My dad has lost and regained ground on numerous occasions ~ it’s amazing how we bounce back IF we put our mind to IT.

You’re smart to “kick it up a notch” now . . . so you have more pieces and play as the game progresses.

7. spilledinkguy - May 24, 2012

The pawns are the one with the sphere(s) on top, right?!

nrhatch - May 24, 2012

Yes . . . the knob-heads. 😉

nrhatch - May 24, 2012

Not to be mistaken for “gobstoppers” of Willy Wonka fame.

8. suzicate - May 24, 2012

Get up. Get out. Get moving. Get happy! -Absolutely we must “Get” on with life or we might just lose it before we fully use it!

nrhatch - May 24, 2012

Here’s to seizing the day . . . with both fists! 😀

9. Lisa Wields Words - May 24, 2012

Some of the saddest muscles to lose are the ones that make us smile.

nrhatch - May 24, 2012

Yup! My smile muscles make me happy when I remember to flex them. 😀

Lisa Wields Words - May 24, 2012

I meant lose. Oops, At least my error made me flex my smile muscles. 😀

nrhatch - May 24, 2012

You flexed IT!
I fixed IT!

Aah . . . all better! 😀

10. sufilight - May 24, 2012

Nancy, Good reminders especially if we are getting older! I always try to move even it’s do quickie house cleaning chores or taking walks. I however focus on the mind a lot because of history in my family with senile dementia.

nrhatch - May 24, 2012

Good strategy, Marie. Anything we want to hang onto benefits from regular use.

11. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide - May 24, 2012

30 days in bed sounds.. horrible. Yes, very bad indeed.

nrhatch - May 24, 2012

Doesn’t it?! As a kid, I enjoyed an occasional “sick day” . . . stuck in bed with the TV and some ginger ale for company. These days, I’d much rather be up and about.

The last time I stayed in bed all day, I was in the hospital. And, even then, I insisted on getting up to move around for a few minutes at a time.

12. jannatwrites - May 25, 2012

Yes, we do have to exercise our brain and body. It seems I’m not keeping up so well on either at the moment 🙂

I never wish to stay in bed. When I was pregnant with my older son, I was put on strict bed rest for two weeks – I was only allowed to get up to go to the bathroom. I was so cranky. I would sneak away just to get my own drink once in a while. Perhaps that’s when I lost my mind…

nrhatch - May 25, 2012

Life is better with balance.

All work and no play is no fun. Neither is all play and no work. Going, going, going without any rest is awful. Resting, resting, resting without any go is terrible too.

A mind is a terrible thing to lose . . . I’m pretty sure yours is right where its supposed to be. 😉

13. Booksphotographsandartwork - May 25, 2012

I walked all over Books A Million tonight! Hope that counts for two, mind and body.

nrhatch - May 25, 2012

Of course! Did you have your “kindness capacitors” in full view too? What about your vision questers . . . locked and loaded?

14. bluebee - May 25, 2012

I like your chess analogy (not that I can play) – was just commenting to Elizabeth that I’ve forgotten how to write in cursive. That’s a small thing, but if I ever lose my sense of humour, shoot me!

nrhatch - May 25, 2012

I forgot how to ride a bike. When we first moved to FL . . . I could ride, but it was a wobbly messy affair requiring 100% focus on what I was doing.

Now, I can pedal AND enjoy the scenery without staring 6 inches in front of the tire for obstacles.

If you start writing in cursive again . . . it will come back. It will be a wobbly messy affair at first (requiring 100% concentration), but eventually you’ll be able to write with one hand tied behind your back. 😉

15. barb19 - May 25, 2012

Well said Nancy, use it or lose it – we just have to remember!

nrhatch - May 25, 2012

Yup . . . our drive, enthusiasm, resilience, determination, goal setters, dream-makers, kindness capacitors, vision questers, inner artists, and imagineers all benefit from regular work outs.

Just like our brains and our bodies. 😀

16. The incredible potential of the human mind…left brain, right brain…. | Pocket Perspectives - May 25, 2012

[…] intuitive brain connections…???….after reading Nancy’s post from yesterday…. “Use it or lose it”…about the physical body and the power of  “exercising” and using the brain, […]

17. Pocket Perspectives - May 25, 2012

wow…this post sure stimulated some in my own mind/brain cells!… : ) …and your comment to barb19 includes wonderful idea!…can I add it to my own post today…. Nancy, I just LOVE you enthusiastic way of wording your ideas! : )

nrhatch - May 25, 2012

Yes, you may! Thanks for you enthusiasm! I’ll be around to check out your post shortly.

At the moment, I’m knee deep in paying bills . . . with somewhat less enthusiasm than when sharing my ideas. 😛

Pocket Perspectives - May 25, 2012

ahha…immersed in left brain activities…with a longing for right brain expression??? I just had to interrupt my “play” (moan and groan) and dig out a calculator to figure out some retirement form calculations/complications and choices…I so prefer living “life in the right brain” these days…hey I like that expression!…”life in the right brain!” … : ) ..whoops, playing again! 🙄

nrhatch - May 25, 2012

Working with numbers is FUN . . . paying bills, not so much. 😉

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