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How's Your Engine Running?

How's Your Engine Running?  

By: Megan Piersol, DPT

Your Body As A Car

Think of your body as a car. Your car engine needs oil pumping through its parts to function well. The same thing applies to the human body, except the oil, in this case, is blood. How do we get blood to pump through the body? The same way a car does...movement.  Just like you run the engine of a car, we have to run the engine of our body in the form of movement. Now think further, as we continue to drive our cars, tune-ups are needed and problems may arise. The body is no different. In order to function well, our body needs movement, fuel, cleanliness, and a little shine.

What's Fueling You?

You don’t fill a premium car with regular gas. You shouldn’t fuel your body with anything less than premium fuel. The fuel we put into our body can equivocate to the output our body can produce. Eat poorly, your body will run poorly. Think of that disturbing car that is pumping out black exhaust fumes. Our bodies need good sources of energy and hydration to work properly.  The body craves a well-balanced diet to be able to fuel itself.  There are a ton of processed and modified foods out there that may not be good for our bodies productivity.  There are also things falsely labeled to be wholesome or appearing to be healthy that may not necessarily be the best for your body. A nutritionist, internist, or GI specialist can all help with finding a good diet that fits your body demands.

Body Needs Maintenance Service

We easily spend money on keeping up our cars, but then totally neglect the amount of maintenance needed to keep up our bodies! We are beautifully designed creatures that deserve the TLC that one gives their prized cars. Our joints, muscles, and brain thirst for blood flow to be working properly in order to perform well. As soon as something drops off, we don’t operate properly. This can be from stress (think of driving your car with the parking brake engaged), lack of sleep (running on an engine that didn’t have time to cool down), poor food (dirty oil, improper gas source), and/or continual, repetitive use (cars wear out and require maintenance after so much time of use, tires wear out if the same path is always taken).

Body Needs Movement To Run in Optimal Condition

You can also think of the reverse. If you leave a car in the garage for weeks, the battery dies, it doesn’t operate properly, or other issues occur. It only takes a few days of bed rest before our bodies lose strength and endurance. We need to keep moving in order to keep our bodies running. It may just be a quick, short walk a few times throughout the day just like starting the engine and letting the car run for a little bit to help it not die. Batteries run out quicker in cars that aren’t driven (or only go a short distance) than cars that are driven. However, if you are always riding the gas pedal and go…go…go…, this will also run down the car battery.

The human body craves a fine balance of rest and movement in order to operate fully. Each individual is different as to how much it can sustain. Such as various car models and makes require different maintenance and care. You can’t expect a Ford Fiesta to compete with a Lamborghini.  A bus won’t last as long on the road as a Honda Civic. However, they all need the same basics of care to stay alive.

No One Size Fits All

The point here is that just because one diet or exercise program works for your friend, doesn’t mean it will work for you. You need to take the time and care to learn what your body needs and how well it can perform.  You can always improve your body, just like you can always upgrade to the next car. Learn how to drive what you are given first and then strive for the next model or stay with your current reliable car if that suits you and your goals. There are reasons people love their Honda’s, Toyota’s, and Hyundai’s. There are also the cars that are known to be high maintenance and not worth the fuss. So, don’t compare yourself to others and know that the next best thing may not be such.

Which Model Car Are You?


I’ve always been able to play every sport that I have learned. I may not have been a Porsche, but I was always average as it was enough to satisfy my desire to move and have fun. As soon as I advanced to the next best thing, it became too competitive and not fun. I’d personally rather be able to play numerous sports decently than only be good or the best at one thing.

If you disagree, then you are the Porsche model and have to understand that it will take a lot more to keep your body in check. We aren’t a one size fits all species. Learn your make and model, how to maintain it, and then keep in mind that a new model of that same car is in the making. You too can make your body a new model. Our brains are very adaptive and changeable, you just have to put in the effort and dedication to stay up to date.

READY - SET - GO... 

Check out Dr. Tamer Issa's book, Freedom From Neck & Back Pain- Learn to Live an Active Life Without Fear of Pain