Sweaty Respect! If you want to mow an average lawn, generally you should periodically practice walking 10,000 steps.

If you plan to carry your 20 pound grandson through the zoo, you should work on your core and your upper body strength, or suffer fatigue and joint pains after.

If you want to elevate your game to skiing or hunting for a week in Colorado at 10,000 feet, you should be able to run a few miles three days a week at our Michigan altitude and keep your breath.

We forget that we should be in shape beyond what we ask of our bodies in order to withstand and endure those activities we want to achieve!

If you are like my family, a search for the best place to “work out” is never-ending. The brain desires those endorphins released during vigorous exercise, but the body feels abused and would rather indulge in TV watching and snacks.

Our daughter, my wife and I are 5 weeks into “boot camp” at a local gym. The coaches literally ask us to beat the crap out of ourselves, and we actually pay good money for the torture! None-the-less, they respect each person’s ability, and help work toward the individual’s goals by demonstrating the best way to proceed with a specific exercise and offer a few easier modifications.

We are directed to improve ourselves reaching for our individual results, not competing with the crowd! When we finish and wipe away the sweat, we “high-five” each other in congratulatory esteem for each and every person’s efforts!

Some of us are thin. None of us are models. All of us are successful. And we can look forward, as we drive away, to strive for a reachable goal: self-respect, again at the next session.

That feeling of physical accomplishment is addictive. I remember it from high school athletics. Since high school, I’ve gotten in shape to run a few 5 K’s and have the t-shirts to prove it! The best part of this new attempt is my daughter and wife joining me in the parking lot before, and then afterward having dinner and discussing which exercise was the most difficult and which was a favorite. We are practicing accountability and camaraderie.

The desires I have for my body since Ostomy surgery haven’t changed. I have my goals, but age brings a few realities. Sit-ups seem to put my abs in spasm on the side of my ostomy, and not on the opposite side. Big surprise!! (Remember they cut a hole in there and stuffed your bowel through a perfectly good rectus muscle!) Oh well, if I want to carry my grandson, I will keep trying!

By the way, it may sound silly, but to exercise I wear shorts and t-shirt, and my StomaCloak. I have asked my wife and daughter if they see my ostomy appliance while we are doing “star jacks” and “mountain climbers” and they tell me that nobody has time to look at anybody other than the coaches!

I still do feel more secure during those intense work-outs with my StomaCloak, and I think I’m developing a six pack of abs!

By Dr. Joseph Salisz, MD A urologist with a ostomy

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