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It’s a new year, but the same old me
A new year, a new you – I’m sick of seeing those words, repeated a billion times by every newspaper and magazine.
And top of the ‘to do’ list in most of them is exercise.
And it’s not just jogging around the block, or cycling to the local shops.
We are encouraged to do all manner of stuff – abseiling, windsurfing, extreme snowboarding – you name it, we’re urged to give it a go.
And why not? We’re all young and fit.
But hang on a minute...no, we’re not. Some of us – a large proportion of us in fact – are not young any more and nowhere near as fit as we once were.
For us, any sporting activity, particularly those involving speed, height and a high level of physical exertion, should come with a health warning.
The trouble with us middle-aged is that we think we’re still 15. We still believe we can jump and leap and race and roll like we did when we were in our teens.
In our minds we’re more than capable of running a marathon, or swimming along Lake Windermere.
And after years of inactivity bringing up children, we’ve got more time on our hands. It’s a dangerous combination which leaves us vulnerable to temptation.
I remember reading about the so-called ‘Marathon Syndrome’ which arises around a milestone birthday, usually a 40th or 50th, when people decide they want to conquer a new physical challenge and sign up for a marathon, cycle from John O’ Groats to Land’s End, or attempt to climb the north face of the Eiger.
My sister is one of them, having decided, aged 44, to tackle the London Marathon, despite having barely any running experience.
Amazingly, she did it, and has the medal to prove it.
But she is fit and active, and we’re not all like that. I’d dearly like to do the Tour de France, but know it would leave me hospitalised (plus, my bike has a puncture, so I couldn’t go anyway).
According to Saga Insurance, the over-50s are increasingly embracing so-called higher-risk sports and activities.
This leads to an increase in sporting injuries.
Taking up any activity after a long time can result in problems. I recently played darts for the first time in ages and my upper arm ached for the next two days.
Imagine what I’d be like after an hour or two of free running.
Take things gradually, that’s what the ‘path to a new you’ message should be. Dominoes first, then maybe a spot of pool, and a table tennis foursome.
Then, and only then, should you progress to whitewater kayaking and ski jumping.
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