Ted Talks: The Physical of the Future?

By Ted Spiker

While I’m not especially proud of slipping into the hard-headed aging-male stereotype of avoiding an annual physical, I have some friendly amendments for how we could conduct our checkups. Why? Maybe there’s an opportunity to improve the experience, the quality of assessment, and the behavior change that could happen in conjunction with the diagnostics. #OrMaybeImJustMakingExcuses

Disclaimer: These suggestions are made fully knowing that costs, insurance, practicality, and physician area of expertise may make them nearly impossible. But, a man can dream!

NOW: The scale

TOMORROW? A body- composition scale

This would at least allow us to see percentage of body-fat versus amount of muscle mass, as opposed to straight poundage. If I’m going to spend all this damn time slogging through burpees and looking like an aching walrus doing so, I want at least a little credit for my attempts to counteract #TacoTuesday.

NOW: Asking me how often I smoke (none), drink (uh), wear a seatbelt (always)

TOMORROW? Also asking me “what is the one thing you could change today?”

Sometimes, health changes feel as daunting as 5 p.m. traffic on Newberry. Sometimes, we need a scare (see, scale). Sometimes, we need a scold. But maybe sometimes, we just need a little prod, a little push, a little confidence to turn the corner.

NOW: Asking me about my exercise routine

TOMORROW? A random physical test in the office

Pushups or running up a flight of stairs. The physical would serve as a proxy for cardiovascular health or overall fitness. And we’d never know what test was coming, so it would be a true measure of our fitness in that moment. The fun is in the surprise! “Today, Mr. Spiker, you will bear crawl to the waiting room in back and attempt to do so in under 23 seconds!”

NOW: Bright lights, cold room

TOMORROW? Spa-like surroundings

If I have to sit there in next-to- nothing, maybe I don’t need my adipose tissue under the spotlight. I get you have to read your monitors, but maybe dim the lights, warm the room, and make me feel somewhat comfortable before we talk about upping my berry intake?

NOW: See ya next year!

TOMORROW? A 30-day challenge

Tell me what I need to work on, what I can do to help myself, and then give me a short finish line— because if I can make it through this short challenge (and I know I might be watched by the person monitoring my glucose), maybe that will help me make it to the most important finish line in the distance.