Coming to America

by admin on

When I was young people would ask me, “what do you want to be when you grow up?” More often than not, my answer was simple: I don’t know. Very rarely do children know what they want for their future and giving a definitive response at that time of my life was a certain impossibility. First I had to grow up, let life happen, and only then could I make a determination about such a thing. In fact, it wasn’t until the age of twenty five when I finally realized that becoming a physical therapist was the career path I wanted to pursue. The motives behind this decision were inspired by my family, my years of interaction with other healthcare professionals, and the undeniable impact that this growing profession has had in the United States. It took a long time for me to reach a confident decision about my career and to better understand why, you have to consider the journey that brought me to this point.

I am from the West African country of Gambia. Born in a small, beautiful village called Ballanghar, located in the outskirts of Farafenni, my parents were both young when they brought me into this world. Like most other families in Ballanghar we had little more than the clothes on our backs and the tiny shelter which we called home. But my father also had a high school education, which set him apart from the other people in the village. Finding a job was very difficult, even with a high school diploma, but he never wavered in his perseverance to make a better life for our family. He continued to pursue every educational opportunity available to him and, sure enough, his resilience paid off in the early 1990’s when he was offered the chance to travel to the United States and continue his studies. When I was nine years old, my mother and I followed him here and seeing his tireless pursuit for knowledge gave me the realization of just how important it was to get a good education. I was new to the American culture, and had no idea how to speak the language. To say that I was apprehensive and unsure of how our family might adjust to this culture would be an understatement.

But time has passed and I am now happy to count myself a proud American with a successful career in physical therapy. Along the way, I have learned many valuable lessons that have informed my decisions as a citizen of this country and as a licensed therapist. The stereotype of the lazy overweight American is not entirely apt, but that isn’t to say that obesity isn’t a major epidemic in this country. Furthermore, those who are dealing with weight issues are often all too eager to solve them and they come to me for advice. I always tell them that exercise is a vital component towards a healthy weight and good diet must go along with it. I often suggest that buying some type of fitness equipment for the home is a better value than a gym membership, mainly because a machine in the home will get more use. How many of us really love to leave the house to go workout at the gym? Nothing is easier to put off than working out when you have to get up, get dressed, and then leave the house to go to the gym. I am just as guilty of dreaming up the reasons for procrastination when the time comes to work out. When you have your own fitness machine, you need not go any further than your living room or bedroom to work out.

It’s tougher to deny yourself a good workout when the equipment is hardly 100 feet from you. One must really be lazy and lack true dedication not to engage in exercise when they can do it in the comfort of their home. This is why I always suggest that my clientele, and even close friends who solicit my advice, to visit best-exercise-machine. There they can find a whole range of recumbent bikes and other exercise machines to purchase for the home. Believe it or not, much of what I have learned about Americans is not what you might guess when it comes to fitness. A large majority of them are quite dedicated to their own well being and their attitudes are vastly different than what many of the people from my village know about the American culture. I try to dissuade them from these unfair assessments but a reputation is not always so easily disproved. I like to think that I have had some impact on the realities of the way Americans view exercise even when the statistics say otherwise.

Yes it is true that there is an obesity problem in the country but there are also many who want to do something about it. I am one of them and though I was not a natural born citizen, I am one of those Americans who wants to promote positive change. I always tell my clients that change begins with them and it can only take place if they want it badly enough. I feel it is important to reduce the number of deaths in this country as a result of obesity and, in doing so, the perceptions that many hold around the world will also change.

Written by: admin