33 Things You Can Do When Aches & Pains Aren’t Holding You Back


The most boring and frustrating thing on the planet is being in pain. Suffering from stiffness and deep aches in your joints, feeling like you’re trapped in your own skin…bleh.

(my friends Jessi & Hunter were feeling no pain when they did that double bridge in that pic that’s for sure)

But what if you didn’t have to deal with that kind of pain? What would you do if you weren’t acutely aware of much your feet hurt? Have you thought about what you could do if you knew your back would hold up?

Maybe it was the mountain air getting to my brain, maybe it was all the things that I was doing while away, either way, I spent some time on a recent trip pondering exactly what you could do if you weren’t dealing with aches & pains.

Most people would say “I’d do more!” But what exactly does “more” mean? Here are 33 things I came up with that you could do if you were out of pain, and weren’t dealing with aches.


33 Things You Can Do When You’re Not Feeling Stiff, Stuck,
Or Broken In Your Own Body

 1. Go on a daily walk.

Getting outdoors has been shown to decrease depression. Doing it in groups, in nature, is super effective, too.

2. Walk along the curb as if it were a balance beam on your daily walk.
And if you fall, there’s not a long way to go.

3. Remember your dreams when you first wake!
Not only will you be getting better sleep, but because the first thought in your mind doesn’t have to be “ack, my body aches”. Instead, you can remember that dream that you probably shouldn’t tell anyone about.

4. Expand the group of “things I can do if I try” by 23,458 (+/- 5).
When the “I’d like to do that….but my shoulder is bum” gets in the way enough times, you tend to stop even considering what “things you can do if you try” because, well, your shoulder is bum. Remove the bum shoulder issue, expand a whole bunch the amount of stuff you could do if you wanted to.

5. Increase your pet’s love for you by 74%*.
You’ll no longer be the boring pet owner at the local park, because you can now throw their toy really freakin’ far away instead of just ‘kinda far away’ for them to chase down.  *estimated to the nearest 0.5%

6. Slip ‘n Slide.
You are never, ever, in a million years too old. (The wave rider is LESS than $10. If you feel gutsy, you can use it to do this.)

7. Go hiking. 
Or just walking a really long ways in a mall carrying a small child, and not be broken for days from the effort.
(but honestly, hiking!!)

top of Grande Dixence in Valais, Switz.

8 Mash potatoes like a champ.
If your elbow and shoulder stink, you’ll have the lumpiest bumpiest mashed potatoes ever.

9. Nap anywhere anytime.
No worry about whether the pillow softness or mattress firmness even needs to be considered if your body is adaptable.
(This is severely underrated. Life is better with naps).

10. Travel.
See the world. Take in a sunset in India, a never ending night in Iceland, or party on the islands of the South Pacific. You have a LOT more freedom when you aren’t stiff and stuck.


11. Be more productive.
Have better focus while at work as your mind is now free to engage fully instead of partially on work and partially on your achy lower back.

12. Sit on the floor cross-legged.
If you’ve got kids, they’ll love it even more.

13. Get up off the floor without needing support.
Have you seen the study that showed that how you get up off the floor is a fairly accurate predictor of your longevity? Yah.

14. Walk around barefoot.
Your foot wants to move, to feel the ground, to be durable & callused (not in a gross way though, keep that shit in order). 😉

15. Do your first marathon, triathlon, bike-across-some-location event.
Because why not?

16. Do your 50th marathon, triathlon, bike-across-some-location event.

17. Enjoy life’s pleasures.
Buy more amazing freshly roasted coffee beans/wine/grass-fed beef.
How? Because you’ll have extra money when you don’t have to spend a chunk of it on massage, Graston, physio, braces, orthotics, etc.
(My beans of choice come from Frankly Good Coffee, Paradise Roasters, and La Colombe)


18. Get Happy.

One study showed that when we are in chronic pain, our memory and happiness-level decreases. So when you aren’t in pain, you increase the size of your hippocampus, allowing you to remember more, and feel happier.

19. Stand on your feet for HOURS at a concert and not die from discomfort.
(with proper ear protection in!…because you’re *slightly* more mature about protecting what you’ve got than your 18 year old self was when your fave artist is on stage).

20. See deadmau5 perform live.
Maybe you don’t want to. But I do. This track is immense.

21. Be able to do more technical elements of the training, sport, or adventure you love.
More free-space in the ‘ole noggin when part of the noggin isn’t pondering whether or not a weak spot in the body is going to hold.

22. No chair? No problem.

Ido Squat

23. Play the adult-version of “superman” aka acro-yoga, even if just once to say you did it.
Because why not?

acro yoga

24. Be able to do nothing better.
Doing nothing is an important recovery tool for the brain, and if you’re all achy and painy, even doing nothing can feel uncomfortable.

25. Be able to hop a fence or shimmy under one should you need to.
When you’re out adventuring, you sometimes need to hop fences. I did recently and got this incredible view.
(Totally don’t condone breaking & entering though, of course)

looking back at Dent du Midi

26. Lift weights.

Because it feels good and is incredibly useful.

27. Start a side business.
Wouldn’t a bit of extra cash be nice each month? When you aren’t in pain, you can devote yourself to trying something new without having to battle aches and pains, too.

28. Take up photography.
We are the Instagram-generation, after all, as Jason Silva reminds us.

29. Increase the quality of your current workout program because you’re not programming around body parts or movement patterns.
All the parts and patterns are on the table when you’re not dealing with pain.

30. Dance your face off.
Doesn’t matter what that might look like, if you’re shakin’ it, you’re hot.
A current fave I love because truly you can move any way to this track and you look awesome doing it is Dillon Francis’ ‘We Make It Bounce’. (May or may not be able to verify this by the mid-morning work dance parties that happen.)
Or, if you’d like something a bit more chill, may I recommend Eric Prydz’ ‘The Gift’.

31. Climb a tree.
Because why not. It’s just standing there. WHY NOT.
climbing trees

32. Adventure. All of it.
Whether its a slow walk along a river, or a massive bike ride up and down a mountain, the world is your oyster…never forget that.
Want to get inspired? Take a look at the feeds of adventure friends of mine like Jen Comas Keck and James Murphy to get inspired yourself.

33. Be able to see the sunset twice in one day.
No travel required, only the ability to move quickly. I learned this trick while watching sunsets with a fellow sunset-geek this summer….as the sun is almost set, lay down on your belly and watch from that vantage point. As soon as the sun dips below the horizon, jump up to a standing position (fast!) and you’ll get another 8 seconds or so of sunset.
*shrugs* It’s fun. 🙂

What did I miss? What can you add to the list? Tell me what things you’d totally be all over doing if you didn’t have to worry about any aches or pains in your body. I would love to hear what creative, or simple, or important-to-you things you might add to this list.

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