DARI say it? OK, fine, yes, I will exercise in 2023

January 05, 2023
Three images side by side by side of a man doing different movements in a gym
We're not quite sure what's going on above, but it appears Bryce stuck the landing. Photos by Sarah Pack


mugshot of bald guy with the words "trust me, I know a doctor" 

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the third in a series of regular columns by MUSC writer Bryce Donovan. "Trust Me, I Know a Doctor" takes us inside Bryce's mind as he experiences the interesting aspects of life at MUSC, all told through his own lighthearted lens.


Ah, the new year.

That wonderful time when, after 12 consecutive months of questionable decisions …*cut to*


ME: “Honey, I went ahead and set a second alarm for tomorrow morning. We are NOT missing that flight.” *laughs triumphantly, closes calculator app*

Pet store

ME (to kids): “You know what? Yes. Let’s do it. I mean, who ever regretted getting a ferret?”


MY BRAIN: “Relax. It’ll be fine. Let it rip. No way anyone hears it.”

… we get a fresh start. 

A chance to try new things. Eat healthier. Watch less TV. Wear pants during my, er, your Microsoft Teams meetings. 

The clock striking midnight on Dec. 31 is like the ultimate do-over for adults.

And for the first few hungover minutes of that next morning, the world is your oyster. The sun is shining. The birds are singing. Endless possibilities await. And then you stub your toe on the Peloton/clothes rack in the bedroom and shout a word that, up until this point in your life, you’ve only heard Andrew Dice Clay utter. Your kid starts crying. You soil yourself. HAP-py new year. (*cue Auld Lang Syne*)

Just kidding. Generally speaking, this doesn’t happen in our house until a few days later. Which means, for most of us, there’s a tight window at the beginning of each year when most of us are open to improvement. And that’s where resolutions come in. This year, I’ve chosen what is easily the most cliched of them all: to get more exercise. 

Now this isn’t completely out of the blue. I mean, once upon a time, I actually used to be athletic. Growing up, I played competitive tennis, baseball and soccer. I was on my college golf team. After school, I got into long-distance running. 

Then I had kids and gave up everything that gave me joy athletics.

That is until recently. With my children getting a little older (they’re 9- and 12-years-old) I’ve suddenly found myself with a bit more free time. So I’ve gotten back into running and tennis. And with that has come additional benefits. Like, more fresh air. More sunshine. It’s even led to a few new friends. The only downside seems to be that after tennis, my shoulder hurts; after a moderate run, my knees ache. Sure, getting older has a lot to do with it, but after talking with MUSC Health human performance manager Michael Sole, my questionable hygiene might also have something to do with, wait, no, it was technique. He said technique. That might also be part of the issue.

“Our bodies are designed to move in certain ways,” he told me when we first met. “For instance, yours seems to want to move toward the couch.” OK, so he didn’t say the last part. But only because he’s too nice. I’m sure he was thinking it. Because if there’s an expert on movement, it’s Sole. Though he has the face of a 25-year-old, don’t let that fool you. For nearly a decade, the affable personal trainer has worked with collegiate and professional athletes, the last six years of which he spent with the New York Yankees. So yeah, the guy probably knows what he’s talking about.

“But don’t just take my word for it,” he said. Instead, he invited me to MUSC Health’s Health and Wellness Institute in Mount Pleasant to try out a new FDA-approved technology called DARI Motion. Though still relatively new, it’s already being utilized by Olympic athletes, NFL players and college athletic programs across the nation. It operates by using eight high-speed cameras, proprietary motion-capture software, cloud processing analytics and lots of other really cool terms I copied from their website. 

A series of three photos, one a wide shot of all the DARI equipment, another of Bryce talking with Michael and the third is a close-up of a monitor with Bryce's stick figure motion capture. 
Above, Bryce is surrounded by the eight cameras and his own low self-esteem. Below (left), Michael Sole tells Bryce what motions to do, while he can keep tabs on himself using the display.

After arriving at the center in my best workout jorts, Sole put me through a series of motions, jumps, lunges and balancing acts. The fancy cameras catch every single motion, and on a big display in front of you, there’s a stick figure mirroring your every move in real time. After maybe 15-20 minutes, Sole – along with the DARI supercomputer and its high-powered software – were able to spit out lots of fancy analytics with names like “explosiveness” (non-lavatory) and “dysfunction,” to summarize my body’s flexibility and movements. Or, in my case, lack of flexibility. By delving into the data, Sole was able to highlight ways I could improve my body motion as well as areas where I might be most prone to injury. 

A data sheet with different pieces of data that Bryce learned about his body from DARI 
A compilation of some of the data output by DARI.

And though I know I’ve seen better days physically, without bragging I think I can safely say I’m one or two rungs above Danny DeVito on the inferred athleticism scale. So, at the end, when the program settled on a “motion age” of 21, as compared with my birth age of 47, it was quite the ego boost. 

As is typically the case with me, I handled the good news with dignity and class.


SOLE: (calmly holds up index finger, covers bottom of phone) “I’m on hold with DARI’s technical support to report a broken machine.”

OK, so that didn’t happen. (The second part. And the first part might have been a little longer. And I might have taken off my shirt and jumped on a coffee table in the lobby.) In fact, Sole seemed to be somewhat impressed with my abilities. At least that’s how I interpreted him scratching his head and saying, “No way!” 

But all of that aside, here’s the best part: Sole’s services and the DARI Motion experience are available to anyone. That’s right, I’m talking to you, reader/Dad. You don’t have to be a professional athlete – or even a middle-aged medical writer – for that matter. For a small fee, you, too, can now find out why your back hurts after playing pickleball, or, if you’re like me, simply getting dressed. 

As for what I plan to do with this cool new data? I’m still not sure. But I do know this: I have a sneaking suspicion that 2023 might just be the year I stick with my New Year’s resolution the whole way through. And if not, there’s always the bright side – at least I’m finally old enough to buy alcohol. At least motion-wise.



Got an idea for Bryce's next column? Send him an email at donovanb@musc.edu.