10 top excuses people use to avoid exercise—part 3

Sporty senior woman doing exercise warm-up stretches outdoors

Image: mavoimages/Bigstock.com

Being healthy for retirement means getting healthy before retirement. In this 7-part series, health researcher and exercise guru Darren Morton talks about the top 10 excuses people use to not exercise.

3. I am sick, injured, or health problems prevent me from being active

If you’re at death’s door, you’re justified in lying down and concentrating only on breathing, but often people use mild sickness or injury as an excuse to do nothing.

For example, a sore leg does not mean you need to immobilise your arms.

I once had an injury to my right thigh that persisted for six weeks. My solution was to take the right pedal off my bike and ride furiously with my left leg. I attracted some stares from passers-by—but it worked a treat.

There’s usually something we can find to do if we’re creative. If one part of the body is injured, activate another part that isn’t.

The same applies if you have a more permanent health condition that restricts your ability to be active. Just do what you can. Remember, everything helps.

I’m inspired by the story of John Maclean. When John lost the use of his legs, it didn’t slow him down—if anything, he sped up!

Although clearly devastated in the wake of the accident that left him a paraplegic, he went on to complete the Hawaiian Ironman triathlon, which involves a 3.8-kilometre swim, 110-kilometre cycle, and a 42-kilometre run. The run alone is a full marathon.

Contesting the event in his modified, arm-cranked bicycle and ‘racing chair’, John was the first para-athlete to make the able-bodied cut-off time for the event. As if that wasn’t enough, John has also swum the English Channel.

Inspirational stories like John’s can help put things into perspective.

When it comes to more systemic illnesses like the flu, a good policy is to apply the ‘neck check’, If your symptoms are confined to above the neck—a head cold or sore throat, for instance—it’s probably OK to engage in light activity. Go for a casual stroll.

However, if the symptoms present below the neck-line, such as a chesty cough or a body ache, it’s best to rest entirely.

Darren Morton is the lead researcher at the Lifestyle Research Centre at Avondale College of Higher Education and the author of Live More Active.

Category: Physical Health

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