A man’s gotta know his limitations

Dr. John Briggs

A man’s gotta know his limitations

3 mins
September 7, 2020

A man’s gotta know his limitations

This is a famous statement made by Clint Eastwood in one of his Dirty Harry movies. I’ve fully come to realize the impact surrounding this statement. 

I’ve always felt there was nothing I couldn’t accomplish, and yet there’s so much truth in that. The Bible says that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. What stands out today is the time frame within which we try to accomplish these things. 

Although I’m just shy of 69, the prospect of re-roofing my house really didn’t look to be that big of an undertaking until I found myself smack dab in the middle of the project. Following the successful completion of the house, I opted to tackle the out-buildings and do them too. 

Today, after a very intensive weekend of spending every daylight moment on the roof, I had to reach out to my chiropractor and scream uncle. When she got a hold of me, I screamed all the more. She said she’d be back again this week and work on me some more. Grateful that I have everything she needs in my office so she can grant me a house call right here. It’s rough when you can’t do for yourself what you can for your patients. 

What I’m saying here, is that we need to pace ourselves according to our abilities. Had I not tried to do it all in one setting, I could have done just great. If I’d not run out of nails, I probably would have finished the project and not been able to stand up today. 


The human body is capable of adapting to many conditions if taken care of properly. If we can adopt an exercise routine which strengthens muscle groups while nourishing the body, we can build the body to accomplish many tasks. Working up to what you desire is important. A weight program doesn’t start out at the heaviest but begins with what you can do. 

So much of my professional life is spent in a chair in my office. When muscles are called on to do repetitive heavy activity, which they aren’t conditioned for, it can set up some troubling conditions which I’m currently finding my body rebelling against. I’m a very active man and love being active. Unfortunately, packing 4x8 sheets of plywood and shingle bundles up a ladder onto a roof is asking more of muscles than what’s been a part of my daily routine. 

Maintaining youth

Maintaining youth is something we can do if we remain active and mobile. Seeing Kenneth Copeland drop down and do 50 push ups at the young age of 83 proves that if you are diligent at caring for the physical frame through intentional work outs, with a qualified trainer, is proof that any of us can do it if we are diligent and committed. We all have the potential of restoring and building strength and stamina. 

As we age it’s important to get real about our previous physical endurance and activities as well as our present ability. Getting a trainer isn’t a bad idea. Injuring yourself by not observing your abilities can set you back significantly. As I write this, I am speaking from first-hand experience. Your physical abilities are a major factor, but what have your muscles and nerves been fed to do the work. 


Thiamin is the B vitamin which is of first-hand priority. If you are fatigued and sore after a good work-out, chances are you could be deficient in this nutrient. My go to for this is the Cataplex B from Standard Process. Deficiency can often be see on a heart tracing using the heart sound recorder. Besides being used when active, this is a nutrient lost when we abuse sugar. 

I can only imagine how I would be feeling if I’d been drinking soda pop while doing the roofing. Chances are I would be crippled for a week. For many, they would consider me a spoil sport for this information, but I want to get right back up on the roof and finish my project. Although I put my body through an arduous task over the weekend, I will have it totally done for Labor Day, so I can rest from my labors. 

The Three Concepts

The secret to a long healthy life lies in three major concepts. Maintain good nutrition, know your limitations and work within them till you increase those limitations. And finally, never lose sight of what you can do taping into the power of God and His word. I have a sign on my desk that says, “God and I are a Majority.” He’s proven to me over and over that I can do all things through Him. 

If you’ve missed any of my articles or wish to review, please go to my Blog page https://drjohnabriggs.com/blog.html.

Dr Briggs is a 1980 graduate of the National College of Naturopathic Medicine and has been practicing naturopathic medicine in the northwest corner of Oregon since his graduation. His practice involves diagnostic and therapeutic modalities which have stood the test of time and the challenges of diverse disease. We believe that each person exists dynamically as a spirit being, possessing a soul made up of their mind, will, and emotions, living in a body which requires specific care and nutrition. To address only the physical needs is to ignore the real person, and frequently, the real issues. We strive to address all your issues (spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical) with compassion and wisdom.

This article was orginally reported by
Dr. John Briggs

Dr. John Briggs is a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine.