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Is exercising a hazard to your health?

Sourced from google images

Walk into any Australian news agency and you will see a whole section of the magazine department devoted to health and fitness.

Jane Fonda made millions from her workout videos and pioneered a television movement which also gave us gems such as “Aerobics –  Oz Style”  and Richard Simmons.

And of course in our modern interconnected world, you can instantly access a wealth of information from any number of sites such as Health Fitness.

As a child, I did not play much regular sport apart from a couple of years of unsuccessfully attempting to play basketball.

Partly this was because as the seventh child, my parents were well and truly over having to drive  kids to their sports.

The fact I wore a metal back brace for 23 hours a day in my early teens meant I was physically in capable of exercising.

My teenage torture - the back brace

Then there was the fact I simply was not very good at sport, so rather than trying and failing, I preferred to watch.

University changed all this for me, for as well as opening my mind to new adventures, brought me the realisation that exercise is fun. And if you do enough of it, it can help counterbalance all the beers you consume at the uni bar.

I became addicted to the music, the camaraderie and the smell of lycra which made up your average aerobics class. And in those heady days of the early 90s, boy did we love lycra. Preferably worn by way of a thong over lycra bike pants.

Post uni years I have always tried to maintain a fitness routine, mainly through gym classes coupled with a few years playing mixed netball and volleyball.

In recent years my exercise regime has been hampered by my body, which keeps getting injured despite my best efforts.

Last year whilst recovering from a knee arthoscope, I managed to fracture a finger, develop tendonitis in both wrists and develop a lower back issue.

Basically I have got to the point where I don’t remember what it feels like to be pain-free.

But it seems I am not the only one. A quick survey of my friends-who-work-out reveals a score of 3:3 when it comes to injuries from exercise in 2011.

One injured her foot while taking part in an outdoor class, another recovered from a running injury only to suffer tendonitis in her shoulder from lifting weights.

And Sharon, trying to act like Jennifer Jason Leigh in Single White Female, copied me and had a hip arthoscope after a medicine ball incident.

This is what we say to hip injuries....

Which leads me to wonder – is exercising really good for your health?

Or is this more about that old chestnut – we’re grower older, and this is what happens when you are ladies of a certain age?

Actually I am not sure it is quite that simple. I need look no further than my own family to see an example of a 44-year-old woman who exercises 9 times a week, seemingly without consequences. Yes, 9 times.

While many may argue this amount of exercise is excessive, I simply wonder how her body lets her get away with it. She has suffered one relatively minor injury setback, which was quickly remedied by a lone visit to the physio.

Whereas I am on intimate terms with my physio, in fact, with both of my physios. I find it is helpful to have one that lives close, for more urgent but less serious injuries, and another that works hand in hand with Leyton Hewitt’s surgeons.

I have my own preferred hip surgeon (best of three I tried), knee surgeon (love and hate him – he told me I could never run again but suggested I take up boxing), and rhuematologist.

I have not restricted myself to traditional western medicine either. Last year I visited a kinesiologist, and this year for the first time I have tried acupuncture.

My incongruously named chinese medical practitioner, Kylie, practises a mixture of needles, massage and cupping.

My second visit to the chinese medical practitioner looked like this...

For me, my three visits so far have given me the gift of  pain-free days, and several nights of real sleep. Worth the consultation price alone.

But I still can’t bend my back properly and my knees buckle after every class at the gym.

Yes I am still going to class – I manage 3 or 4 a week. But as this latest injury passes the six month mark, I realise it’s time to start the whole medical diagnostic and intervention cycle again.

And so I can’t help but wonder – wouldn’t it be so much easier if I just did no exercise at all?

Perhaps Miss Piggy has the best idea in this YouTube clip.

Miss Piggy’s “Snackercise”

Cheers till next time,

Ali.

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