Easy Does It - Get Fit, Not Injured! By Claire Sykes

15 January 2019

…we have a tendency to get out and exercise, especially come spring, and we do this with great vigour and our cardiovascular fitness goes through the roof! awesome! we think…but it is at this time, our bodies are most vulnerable.

Sometime after our parents pass away, we often learn a little more about them, than we knew already…or bargained for!

So, upon rifling through a vast amount of Dad’s boxes and tattered brown paper envelops, I came across a red ring binder folder, with Recipes determinedly written on the front. Now, to know and understand the contents of this folder you had to know my Dad of course, but in there, was a very eclectic array of paperwork…cut outs from The Press, recipes, and other bits and pieces of interest stuck onto pages of refill paper was the outlay. There were many of my school recipes, you know the ones…pinwheel scones, and macaroni cheese…Alison Holst was a big hit of Dad’s, as was Nigella Lawson, in later years… I am not so sure a recipe followed her glamorous picture tho..

Then I came across a page with an article about FITNESS! Shock, I turned it over.. and there was an article describing the destructive habit of Tooth Grinding! I was having fun now and discovering Dad’s secrets.

The 1980’s and the new world of Jazzercize classes and leotards, and being aware of our body shapes and wearing lipstick to match our legwarmers, let’s get physical!. Go Dad! On a closer look the article was about warming, stretching and moving your body to funky music, a new way to most people, thus being an effective way to prevent injury.

Which was an interesting thing, as I thought my Dad was dead against any exercise…but after some thought and reminiscing, I realised it was SPORT that he had absolutely no interested in. He was not a conventional man so rugby and netball were not in his vastly educated vocabulary. Lucky us kids were not into the conventional sports I guess either, so that did mean on the odd occasion he would come to a bike race or mountain run if it was in an area of interest to him. He was a fit and healthy man all his life, this came from scampering round the hills all around the world. Still, at the tender age of 90 years he was concerned about the fact of not being able to walk far, and his body not being mobile enough to get around. A young woman breezed in twice a week to go through a few exercises with him, and we would have long phone conversations about my gym, he would listen avidly as I answered his questions about the weight training and the correct way to do the exercises.

You may have a little snigger at the attire of the famous Judi Sheppard Missett, as she demos one of her hip and shoulder moves…the queen and founder of the long lasting Jazzercise legacy. (Please check her out on YouTube, she is fantastic!!) But I assure you all sniggers will disappear when you notice she still has the same super-duper figure some forty years later…sigh.

Part of her legacy is, that we have a tendency to get out and exercise, especially come spring, and we do this with great vigour and our cardiovascular fitness goes through the roof! awesome! we think…but it is at this time, our bodies are most vulnerable. Our limbs they say take twice as long to adapt to this sudden burst of activity. In this time we are horribly prone to injury, Judi explains the importance of starting out slowly and letting our body play catch-up.

To emphasise the importance of this I would like to add from my own experience the importance of balancing cardio exercise i.e. running and biking with a choice of many other activities, such as pilates or yoga which provide great core strength, flexibility and breathing awareness. Cross-fit is a combination of gymnastics and Olympic lifting, which provides both strength and flexibility (if done with care!).  Google: Foundation Training, these movements are designed to prevent back injuries and build strength in our posterior chain, which is the foundation of all our everyday movement, (very useful!).

All of the group classes at your local gym or Rec centre… love them or hate them, are designed to work on fitness, movement, flexibility and strength, so…your pick!… there is something for everybody and if you are unsociable and want to do it at home there will be an app you can download…anything is possible by an app!

Looking back, I think it was Dad who taught us to enjoy being a part of the outdoors as one of the greatest gifts…as I picture him skipping around the hills like a young gazelle, pack on his back and a cheeky grin on his face… I didn’t really picture Dad at any of these indoor glitzy gym options…but on the other hand there will be secrets of Dad’s that I will never know about… and maybe I don’t even need to…

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