Women warned to stop killing themselves with kindness 45



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Are you making the time to look after yourself? No, yes, sometimes? If your answer is anything but yes, you need to stop and rethink your daily schedule if you want to live to a healthy old age.

Put simply, you could be shortening your life by not making exercise a part of your daily life.

That’s the message from Federal Health Minister Sussan Ley, who says women are “killing themselves” to keep everyone happy and they need to stop putting themselves last and do something about it.

News Limited reports Ms Ley said women risk major health problems if they do not put aside time to exercise.

“I am worried that the increasingly long work hours, hectic family schedules and sedentary lifestyles of Australian women are killing us, and the time for ‘I’ll get around to it’ has passed,’’ Ms Ley said.

“It’s a reality that Australian women continue to be the dominant force in managing Australian households and caring for family members and friends, and many of us are guilty of putting the health, wellbeing and needs of others ahead of our own.’’

Ms Ley made her comments in the lead-up to launching a $900,000, No Time for Never campaign aimed at encouraging more women to look after themselves and enrol in sport.

While the “sport” aspect of her comments may have been directed at younger women, her advice for us to exercise regularly true holds true for all women.

She said too many women were being diagnosed with osteoporosis in cases that could have been avoided.

Sedentary lifestyles could also lead to chronic health problems and premature death.

“We must start putting our health first and I’m here to support you,” Ms Ley pledged.

Many studies have underlined the truth of Ms Ley’s words and just how important regular exercise is when it comes to our health, with even a little lessening our risk of death.

A study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found even just a little moderate to vigorous activity could help curb the risk of death, although obviously it was a case of the more the better within reason.

Much of the health benefit seemed to be for a reduced risk of dying from heart disease/stroke, while the reduction in deaths from all causes was considerably greater in older women than it was in older men.

Experts also stress exercise is important to bone health at every stage of life.

Are the demands of work and putting other people’s needs first stopping you from exercising? Will Sussan Ley’s blunt warning make you rethink your daily schedule to include some exercise?

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. Mmmm…..I had an experience today where I have a friend in need yet I put myself first and I feel terrible about it.
    I felt really down and was struggling to get myself out of it when really, I should have just gone to her.
    Its one of those situations where she needs to do the hard yards in order to be well. There’s nothing I can do for her until she decides to help herself. But I still feel bad.

    6 REPLY
    • Don’t feel bad. She must take the initiative to help herself. Once she makes a start then you can be there to encourage and support her.

    • If your friend is capable, she does need to be encouraged to make an effort on her own behalf. Sometimes too much kindness is just as bad as too little.

    • My mother told me this years ago. You can be something to every one, and you can be everything to someone, but you can’t be everything to everyone.

    • Don’t feel bad….sometimes one has to be cruel to be kind, so to speak. I have great problems in saying “no” to anyone who wants my help, often to my detriment. I must make a stand in future and toughen up. You did the right thing. Xx

    • Christa, I made a decision like this. My family kept telling me to learn to say no! Then they’d ask me to do something for them….obviously it’s only meant to apply to strangers in the street!! Didn’t matter, because in spite of all my good intentions, my decision didn’t mean squat!

  2. Oh yes dats me I do it all da time nd u no u dont get respected in return but still carry on doing it.

    2 REPLY
    • It is just our personalities unfortunately. Our brains seem to be wired to care for everyone before ourselves. This is very debilitating to our own health. I truly do not know the answer to make us stop.

    • I just feel sometimes it is expected of us,is it not the burnt chop syndrome? I am learning to be kinder to myself if I don’t want to do it now I don’t not really bother anymore if I am loved,liked,or hated! I just want to be me lol

  3. Where did she get that advice from? I wonder what planet these people are on, we have seen the advent or changes to a healthy lifestyle for the last 20 years, does she think we’ve been in hibernation for half our lives. Most that don’t participate in exercise have good reason. Ms Ley, find something more constructive to do, like employ more nurses.

  4. Oh yes – I’m guilty as well. Ended up totally burnt out last year. Still recovering. We all know we should be putting ourselves first, but easier said than done.

    2 REPLY
    • I have no idea how you stop having to look after others. I like you burn’t out in February this year, became really ill physically. No one gave a shit, just wanted to know when I would be better, so I could look after all of them again. So selfish, but they have no one else who will look after them!

  5. Yes, everything Sussan says is correct…no excuses. However, I have worked in a sedentary industry for most of my life, because it’s what I’m good at. My husband recently had his second back operation so I had to not only do the mowing but all the lifting for him until he was able to go back to work. Then two daughters had babies, so have been helping them out. In the meantime I have been diagnosed with a hip problem but will have to battle on because I had an injection six weeks ago and I can’t retire until I’m 67. No, I’m not putting exercise on the back burner, but after doing the mowing, lifting, running messages for my Mum, dropping off rubbish to the tip, housework, being grandie, walking the dog and working two days a week, I feel totally knackered.

    7 REPLY
    • Carole, sounds to me like you’re getting plenty of e revise! I was mowing the lawns until recently and now have a couple come in and do it. I miss doing it, but it got too much for me. You’re doing heaps! Give yourself a break.

    • Carol Krake, exercise isn’t only done in a gym with a hot young instructor (although one can dream) working in the yard, gardening, playing with the animals, is all exercise. Be happy with yourself. Emotional wellness is important too xx

    • You have done more than enough exercise. Hope the injection has worked for your hip. I had two injections and the last one did the job. I hope I’m not speaking too soon.

    • Helen Joan Harmon, the hip is a bit up and down 🙂 Somedays it is OK and doesn’t give my any trouble but the next day I get a return of the symptoms and the smallest bit of exertion aggravates the trouble spots. Because I’m a newby at the treatment I haven’t been back or asked my specialist how often I can get the cortisone. The whole @#$*& thing took six years to diagnose as my GP was certain the problem was caused by bulging discs in my lower back. I had every test known to man to rule that out before he would give me a referral to an ortho…even though I said all along my back felt fine!

    • Not good. Mine was diagnosed straight up. The first cortisone injection worked for a while, but the second one seems to have done the job. I have been pain free for at least 3 years now.

    • Helen and Carole, I had knee surgery a few years ago. I was so disappointed when it seemed it hadn’t worked. When I told the surgeon, he put a cortisone injection into it. I could have killed him the pain was so intense, and I cried all the way home. But the next day I felt better and each day was better still. Now, I can climb stairs but have trouble going down them, but I can walk for miles. It’s still not a wonderful knee, but it’s ok.

  6. This would be my reply to the Minister:
    Federal Health Minister, Ms Sussan Ley,
    In reply to your advice that woman should devote some time to care for themselves by getting regular exercise, I have to tell you about my present life. I am 74, caring for my husband, a 77 year old stroke victim, who is paralysed down his left side. Vic cannot even move up the bed by himself. He has to be physically assisted on to the shower chair and then back into bed. He can feed himself food that has been cut up, yet his mind is still clear and sharp. Then, I also care for my brother, who suffers from Multiple Myeloma plus many other serious health complications. He can hardly walk and other than dressing himself, and he sometimes needs help with that, he is incapable of anything else. So, juggling the needs of my two men, how do I get time to ‘put myself first’? If I do get a moment, I walk the dog, or work on the veggie garden. So, in two and a half years, I haven’t had a day off, not to exercise, not to pamper myself, not to go shopping (except for food). Now, I know Vic and Hugh appreciate my care, I know they wish it wasn’t necessary, but facts are facts and we have to live with them. They are never going to get better! They can’t do it for themselves. I can’t turn my back on them. There is too much emotion involved. So, I just have to hope that my duties include sufficient exercise so that I’m not risking my health, because if anything happens to me, we are in big trouble.

    6 REPLY
    • You are an absolutely AMAZING selfless woman, too caring for your own good, but as you put it so eloquently….. who else could or would do what you’re doing? My most heartfelt admiration goes out to you xxx.

    • Mary what a caring wonderful woman you are, but please contact Your doctor or community service people, you should be entitled to have some one come and sit with your relatives for and hour or two to give yourself a break occasionly

    • Janet, thank you. The Shire give us 10 hours a month. 4 hours on one Thursday and 6 hours a fortnight later. I use this time to take Hugh to the Alfred as he is part of a clinical trial. On the 4 hour Thursday it barely gives us time to get there (80 minutes) get his blood tests and meds, and get back home. The second fortnight he has to see the doctor so we get the extra 2 hours. If things go wrong, and it happens frequently, I have to call in a friend to step in until we get home. The hold up can be extra tests, he may need blood transfusions and/or fluids. So, I try to keep my friends in reserve for these occasions. Even then I’m careful not to abuse friendships. Also, I’m very careful with strange carers as Vic is so vulnerable.

    • Oh Mary – you are an angel. I would send that off to the Health minister. I really think that rather than tell woman what they already know they should give more support to people such as yourself.

    • Hugh has just been taken to Frankston Hospital by ambulance. He was having difficulty breathing, poor darling. I think he was having a panic attack and was frightened to sleep. I’ve just rung them and he’s still waiting for a doctor to assess him!

  7. Is this the same government that wants us working longer hours for less money and has cut funding for health?

  8. Most women do try to keep everyone happy just for peace! Alas we forget about our own well being sometimes but thats life and the more soft hearted we are the harder it is to say no!!

    1 REPLY
    • Oh Judy Carpenter how very true your words! There just aren’t enough hours in the day to look after our 2 disabled adult children,my aged Mother, my loving partner; the farm AND myself! I don’t think anyone else really understands how much we women put everyone/everything before ourselves. Take the best care of you that you can xx.

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