How to keep fit and healthy
I have been active all my life, taking movement and its benefits for granted the fittest I have ever been and into my 40s, I was happy! All the talk of my elders and doctors warning me of health, injuries and what the body needs post 40 was blah blah blah to my ears.
Our afternoon handball competition on the front driveway was a competitive one in the family, almost ending in tears most days when the reigning champ got shown up or his fancy trick shot went long. One of those afternoons I’d learn just how I had taken movement for granted.
One beautifully placed shot across the court and my competitive nature not wanting to let it go, saw me step wrong, roll an ankle and it was goodbye to all my end of year triathlon races I had prebooked. Xrays weren’t good, and I was told no training for 12 weeks. REST for 12 weeks, how bad could it be?
Fast forward 12 weeks, ankle still not good, couldn’t run and it hurt when I swam, was this the dreaded “you take longer to heal post 40” that I’d heard so many times? At 16 weeks I started to walk past 5km albeit it slow but mentally this is not where I wanted to be so I tried to push my recovery up a little. Having been “resting” just a nice word for a couch potato, yup you guessed it I’d picked up 15kg as well. That’s okay, I was recovering and I know what our body needs and how to keep fit and healthy – or so I thought
At 18 weeks I completed my first proper activity and it was so good to be on the bike again, walked up the stairs to announce my return and BAAM! Front right toe in excruciating pain. What now?
You said Gout, what is that? I thought that only happened to unfit individuals and people who don’t eat healthy? Can we test for gout cause I don’t believe I have it? Long story short I was diagnosed with chronic gout and was again laid up in bed as I was told movement would aggravate it. I became Dr Google and tried to change my weight gain and “gout” through dietary changes.
10 months have passed I still eat meat I still eat tomatoes and I still drink a beer, I am however pain free, gout free and on my journey back to where I was. I applied one thing… I moved!
Just Move | Don’t over complicate it!
If you’re someone who doesn’t know where to start, or when you hear “you need to exercise,” it sounds like the hyeana of Lion King saying “Mufusa” movement is the key and there’s very little that needs to be involved!
It’s time to stop thinking of our 20s or the training montage of Rocky, daily exercise does not have to be running five kilometers or dead lifting your body weight. Its important to start small, assess your fitness level and move accordingly. I cannot stress this enough, I always make this mistake and try to pick up where I left off so I will reiterate, start small except that you are starting over and move accordingly.
We will all be different don’t over complicate it – whether you decide to implement small movements into your routine or try a something new activity like cycling (try an e bike) or yoga, by increasing our daily movement we can help upgrade our overall health.
I started my journey back with mobility stretching, I realized it was not just about high-impact, sweat-inducing HIIT exercises, I kept it simple I made a plan to move each day and mobility stretching and bands reduced the pain I had feeling as a result of chronic gout.
What are the Benefits of movement
MENTAL HEALTH: Oh yes, heard of the word HANGRY when you are hungry, well next time you are all snappy and angry with your kids, wife or friends and colleagues ask yourself if you have moved? The days that you do move, particularly early in the morning diary note how you treat others – Just saved you an appointment with the couples’ counselor..ha-ha! It also has numerous benefit for the brain and our cognitive function and growth.
LUNGS: Cardiorespiratory strength and endurance is a huge benefit. I like swimming here, do the odd length underwater, or 5m meters and work it up. As an asthma sufferer I find if my lungs are strong I don’t need to rely on medicines (pumps)
HEART: I don’t think I have to tell anyone of the benefits of decreasing the risk of heart attacks, there are a plethora of articles out there all of which will tell you – exercise
MUSCLES: By introducing movement, you are strengthening your muscles, which improves stability, balance (which we will all need later in life), and coordination. Stretching or mobility work helps maintain your muscle health as well and increases blood flow.
BONES: Movement helps keep our bones strong. Weight training or banded training, weight-bearing exercises (running, walking), and balance exercises such as Pilates or yoga can assist our bodies with better bone strength (densities).
JOINTS: Mobility exercises (highly rate these), Pilates and yoga can increase our coordination and balance and encourages flexibility and range-of-motion, which boosts joint flexibility and joint function.
COMMUNITY: Yes exercise always has a community, so not only will you get the benefits to you body but your social needs will be satisfied too with like-minded people all on the same path. Cycling is great for this, always group rides of similar fitness and Mountain biking is booming and has a great community of people.
Test the waters | Listen to your body
Simple, I think so. Everyone is different, some of us may be restricted to chairs, some starting out and other might be more like me where we know how to keep fit and healthy but needed to have that reset with the start small approach on our journeys back to great health in our 40′, 50s 60s and beyond.
Test the waters with some mobillity stretching, for our members in chairs or recovering from injury consider some bands.
Set a reminder each day, start a calendar and lets move
I’m not going to summarize, however I’d like some comments from our group below on how you too have either overcome a situation like myself, how you have started moving or your game plan that could help others.
Happy to take feedback too, but I think motivating comments helps everyone to understand its not just them going through a tough situation or journey to a fit healthier life.
Thanks – G.