Why you’re your own worst enemy when it comes to your health 9



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Think you are in-tune with your body? Think again. The reality is that most people are their own worst enemies regarding physical well-being.

Every week I see people who start out with good intentions and unnecessarily hurt themselves by falling for common mistakes.

Does this sound like you?

Going too hard too soon: We live in a ‘go hard or go home’ culture. But our bodies prefer it if we build fitness and strength gradually.

Comparing yourself to others: Too many people will start a fitness-related class, which is great, and then worry that they aren’t as fit/ripped/athletic as the person next to them. They may eventually quit the class, a huge shame. It’s important to measure yourself against yourself and not those around you.

Getting advice and treatment from friends: People’s willingness to follow advice from friends who aren’t qualified is bewildering. But every week people hurt themselves following bogus tips like how to ‘crack your back’. Everyone is different – what works for your friend may not work for you. And nobody should ‘crack’ their back or neck, unless they are fond of spinal/stress fractures or plan on increased risk of stroke.

Trying to emulate TV and magazines: Celebrity culture is everywhere, but has no place in our physical health regime. Unfortunately people become deluded into chasing an impossible dream. It’s pointless trying to emulate celebs – best focus on being the best version of yourself, not someone else.

Not listening to advice: Think you can cut corners and get away with it? Take an easy example: we’re told our whole lives that heavy objects must be lifted from the knees, but people still bend from the back, risking injury.

Self-diagnosing injuries: Shooting pain in the lower back? It must be sciatica. Can’t walk? You’ve popped a disc. If only actual diagnosis was so simple – too many people self-diagnose, use Dr Internet or an equally unqualified friend to find the source of their pain. The truth is, getting to the cause of underlying pain can be difficult and elusive even for trained professionals.

Making one or more of these mistakes is not a failure – merely a bump on the road to better physical well-being. Being aware of these basic mistakes and being honest with yourself will keep you on track.

Which of these mistakes have you made? How do you keep fit and healthy?

Kusal Goonewardena

Kusal is a physiotherapist with over 15 years’ experience at treating seniors, families and elite sportspeople. His clinical research has involved finding preventative cures for low back pain. Kusal has authored books including: Low Back Pain – 30 Days to Pain Free; 3 Minute Workouts; and co-authored Natural Healing: Quiet and Calm, all currently available via Wilkinson Publishing. Kusal holds a Masters in Sports Physiotherapy from Latrobe University and a Bachelor in Physiotherapy from the University of Melbourne. Aside from his consulting with the general public via his clinic, Elite Akademy, Kusal works closely with Melbourne University’s Sports Medicine team and works with elite athletes including several Olympians. When not consulting, Kusal is a lecturer, author, consultant and mentor to thousands of physiotherapy students around the world. www.eliteakademy.com

  1. I’ve been misdiagnosed by the medical professions so many times I’m more inclined to listen to my inner self.

  2. The worst thing I ever did was read about anxiety on the internet, did nothing about it and was then forced, by a terrible situation, to deal with it.

  3. My head says I am still a teenager and can run down those stairs, but my body thinks differently – so many accidents – so many breaks. When is my head and body going to think along the same thought path?

  4. I ignored vague throat discomfort and result an angiogram with stent. Just assumed I wasn’t a candidate for heart disease.

  5. I
    I don’t think
    I am my worst enemy. Actually after my spinal surgery which was unsuccessful (waiting for the next one) i found physio completely useless, she googled and youtubed things. I could do that at home, because she just showed me on the computer. Where are these good old-fashioned physiotherapists? Nowadays they do nothing, except paper-work, youtube and refferring to pain management where they try to convince you everything’s in your head. Sure it is, how else would i know i am in pain? And then, bacm to surgeon! Great!

  6. Read on a mum’s web site……………………….my 2 year old fell last night head hit the skirting board. Massive egg on her head and bruising. Tonight she says she has a sore head and is pointing to the spot she hit. She has vomited three times…….SHOULD I GET HER CHECKED BY A DOCTOR.

    Thanks to the Internet people are seeking advice from other people, self diagnosing and refusing to vaccinate their kids because they’ve read it causes autism therefore bringing back childhood diseases that can kill. Sometimes I think the net does more harm than good. Well, I guess it’s not the net is it. Maybe people should get a common sense test before they’re allowed on it alone.

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