Have you ever used the excuse ‘I’m so busy. I don’t have time to exercise’? I have. While that is probably okay when you’re in your early 20s or 30-something, what happens after that is a bit of a worry.
As a kid I used to run everywhere. I got my Bronze Medallion for swimming. I was a pretty good surfboard rider. I enjoyed long bike rides. I did Boy Scouts and Sea Cadets. I’m sure there are a few of you who can relate. Yet, having started work aged 15 as a radio panel operator — basically a button pusher — my ‘active life’ quickly subsided. I soon became very sedentary.
I loved my job and it led to other sedentary roles in media such as a recording engineer in the United States, United Kingdom and Spain (hours and hours spent resting on my bum) then an audio/video editor for television in Australia, and now I’m a ‘social media’ guy. I spend countless hours sitting down in front of a computer every single day, hardly moving at all. Okay, my fingers get a bit of exercise but until recently that’s about it.
A few years ago when I realised my knees were a bit sore, I did one of those volunteer test programs for arthritis with St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney. The X-rays proved I had osteoarthritis in both knees.
Along with other ‘trial patients’ we were testing whether a certain well known brand of tablets would help alleviate various symptoms, such as pain. I got the placebo so no change there!
As the years passed I just dealt with the mild discomfort and thought nothing more about it. Yep, I tried, turmeric/golden paste, glucosamine/chondroitin. I even tried red wine! However, there was no real change overall. I still take the red wine ‘just in case’.
It all came crashing down recently while on a caravanning holiday in Victoria. I told my wife we should go for a bike ride … Yee haa! Freedom again! However, five minutes into the ride I stopped and had to say,”Sorry darling, could you please go and get the car and come back to get me. I can’t move my right leg!”
I was in so much pain I literally could not walk. In fact I could hardly get out of a chair. I was hobbling around like some classic ‘old bloke’ — and while in my head I’m still 20-something, I must admit I’m an early 1950s baby, so the message my legs were sending me was a real wake-up call! Brian, move it or lose it!
I have to say I’m one of those guys that has seen a doctor maybe three times in my entire life. The first time I was being born, then I had early childhood asthma and in my teens I broke my leg. Otherwise I’ve been fortunate to have never really been sick (touch wood)!
Back home after our holiday I did some research and realised that instead of perhaps a knee replacement maybe I need to see an osteopath or similar. This I did and four visits later I am now walking, squatting, bending over to pick up keys off the floor, walking without a limp, walking down stairs left, right left, right rather than right, limp, right, limp.
The biggest change has been the fact I have now set my phone alarm to alert me every 30 minutes to get up off my butt and walk around the house (I still work from home) and I have a small exercise bicycle that I do several minutes on as well as a few stretches.
The difference? I’m pain free! I can walk without limping. As I get older (much older) I might need a knee replacement but right now, knee pain? What’s that?
Apparently it’s all about movement. Who’d have thought.