Category Archives: Exercise

Pain relief – and exercising sensibly

You don’t need expensive equipment to get better

Looking round the Gym of a the very VIP hospital where i wa being treated – I did wonder at the lack of expensive equipment.  I had been sent there by my specialist to get help with joint pain, pain in spine,

Personal trainer monitoring a client's movemen...

Personal trainer monitoring movement Wikipedia

etc. after cancer.

The Gym was light, cheerful, and clean – but not many gizmos, except for a treadmill.  So I wondered at the lack of ‘toys for the boys’.

Until I was invited to a talk given by Mentholatum,  the firm that manufactures Deep Freeze and Deep Heat.  And then the words of a speaker started to make sense.  Toby Garbett modestly introducing himself as “I’m a Personal Trainer”, then we Continue reading

Hurrah for Harry!

AMC pilot wins at Warrior Games, meets Prince ...

AMC pilot wins at Warrior Games, meets Prince Harry [Image 1 of 4] (Photo credit: DVIDSHUB)

Prince comes into his own

Growing up with a Forces background, I knew that father, cousins and family got up to dreadful pranks.  But when it came to fighting, they served in the Mediterranean and Russian convoys, became Bomber pilots, Army cousins served in the 10th Royal Hussars, when most were killed in Normany landings, and one helped change the parade ground into a Go Cart track, much to his Sergeant’s horror. and went on manoeuvres with bottles stuffed up his tank’s gun (found out when the General in charge singled his tank out to lead a charge).

They may have got up to all sorts of pranks (far worse than Harry’s nude scenes), but their commanding officers knew this was just letting off steam;  when push came to shove, they delivered.

Now, Prince Harry is really delivering.  Let alone what he did during two tours of duty in Afghanistan (a nephew did the same and says it is no picnic), he is now getting a huge amount of invaluable media attention for the disabled.  And boy, do we need it.

You would think that today, with all that is written about disabled rights, life would be easier.  But you only have to go in to Peter Jones (our local John Lewis store) to see how reality is different.  All chairs have been taken away, and cash tills moved.  Complaining to PJ about this, answer comes back that we can always ask for chairs!  And it’s only a few more yards to walk to tills!  PJ hasn’t heard of portable credit  card machines.  Complain, and you are told that you can request a chair – which singles us out when we have to ask one of the hard-pressed staff to stop serving and go off and get us a chair.

What could be useful

It was interesting to hear Harry acknowledge that US rehab is better than we have. Whilst Help for Heroes has done wonders with Hedley Court’s rehab., talking to physios etc. who have worked there, they admit that facilities for US troops are far better.  There was TV footage of a soldier strung up in front of video footage, to teach him balance – and yes, I have seen this in Oxford, but at a private centre, not one that can be used by NHS.

But perhaps Captain Wales’s interest might persuade our rehab teams in Britain to look further.  I was lucky enough to be treated for polio whilst my father was in the Navy, in the days when Forces’ dependants got top priority;  but I had to work out for myself what Dr. Ludwig Guttman was doing in Stoke Mandeville, and then adapt it for myself.  Having been told I would never walk again, I was darned if I was going to believe the medics – so learnt to be an awkward cuss!  But came across the ‘what’s best for majority – not for me as an individual’.

And it is treating disabled as individuals that is so difficult, when we need specialised attention.  This apparently is how system works in USA, and hopefully Harry’s interest might highlight that each of us needs individual care tailored for us.  Give us this, and we will surprise you!  As I did when I walked out of hospital past doctors who had spent a long time preparing me for life in bed – but not giving me tailored exercise programmes, which I managed to work out for myself, then got Bob, my favourite Porter, to wheel me into hydrotherapy pool and leave me there all afternoon – when no-one knew what I got up to!

Lessons learnt

So when today doctors say that those who make a fuss recover better – you’ve got to believe this is so.  Remember, it’s YOUR body – so go ahead and DEMAND what you think you need.  I reckon those troops we see struggling across the Antarctic, or cycling to Paris, or just getting back on their (prosthetic feet) don’t stop to listen to the NHS which says there is no money for treatment.  So go out there and get going – and to H–L with what anyone says!

Good luck

verite@greenbee.net

10th Royal Hussars

10th Royal Hussars (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When will NHS recommend exercise?

Year 4~Day 342 +313/365 AND Day 1438: Water Ae...

Water Aerobics Class

EXERCISE

‘wonder drug’

 

which can make all the difference to recovery.”  Accoerding to Susan Morris, general manager for Macmillan in Wales.

She says new research showed that the message was still not being passed on to cancer patients about just how important it is for them to keep active.

“It’s hard to encourage people to think about keeping active during and after gruelling cancer treatment but, increasingly, many patients will need our help to bust the myth that resting up is always the right thing to do, ” said Ms Morris.

 

Macmillan backing scheme

According to a BBC report, in Hydrotherapy session at a swimming pool,  Patients are encouraged to take more exercise such as hydrotherapy.

Yet Chelsea and Westminster Hospital has just closed their Hydrotherapy pool;  excuse is that pool floor is breaking up, even though it is less than a year since a new lining was installed.  When patients complained at yet another closure, they are being kept in the dark and don’t know when it will re-open.

However, in Wales Cancer patients are being encouraged to take more exercise in a pilot scheme aimed at boosting their quality of life and independence.

Single cancer diagnosis patients in north Wales, Cardiff and Swansea will be assessed by a “physical activity champion” under the year-long scheme.

Macmillan Cancer Support said research showed greater fitness reduces stress, fatigue and clinical dependency.  Exercise could make all the difference to recovery.

The scheme is being trialed by Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board and Velindre NHS Trust.

As Susan Morris Macmillan Cancer Suppor says, “tIt’s hard to encourage people to think about keeping active during and after gruelling cancer treatment but, increasingly, many patients will need our help ”

Among those taking part is Fiona Lamb, 80, of Blackpill in Swansea.  Diagnosed with inoperable ovarian cancer last year, she has been attending hydrotherapy and gym exercise sessions at the Wales National Pool.

“The hydrotherapy programme includes a series of muscle-strengthening exercises and keeps me exercising every Wednesday,” she said.

“I enjoy it as I used to do a lot of swimming and it gives me the chance to meet other people in the same boat and have a good laugh with them.”

Miss Lamb said prior to her diagnosis she had always kept herself fit.

“My cancer is inoperable, although I have been extremely lucky as I’ve had no real pain,” she said.

 

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Will there be an Olympics Legacy?

AVIVA INTERNATIONAL ATHLETICS 2011 Great Brita...

Ennis calls

for sports

facilities

 

Fresh from winning an Olympic gold medal for the Heptathlon, and keen to build on Team GB’s success in the London Olympics.

Jessica Ennis calls on the UK to provide lasting sports facilities for everyone.  I take this to mean older people, as well as youngsters.

But once there is more Government committment to ‘doing well’ at our own Olympics, will Cameron’s, Clegg’s, Gove’s and Uncle Tom Cobley’s passionate pleas be allowed to fade quietly away – and we follow Australia?  As a country they made a fantastic success of the 2000 Olympics, yet 12 years later they are struggling to win any gold medals.

Exercise is good for you

We are constantly being told that exercise helps overcome cancer, from fatigue to treatment side effects.  Yet if we try and get help with this, how often are we given facilities?  Not very often.

Yet when I produced scans and letters showing that exercise had helped reverse osteoporosis (caused as a side effect of cancer drugs), my hospital just shrugged their shoulders, and said they didn’t offer any help.

Private v. State

There has been criticism of the number of privately educated members of Team GB who won medals – but often their training was supervised by teachers in the private sector who are passionate about sport, and encouraged by their school to help their pupils on a voluntary basis.

One of the outstanding features of London’s Olympics has shown the incredible helpfullness of the volunteers.  We could harness this.

At the last Olympics I belonged to a local Health Club, who ran a competition for its members based on Olympic gold medals.  The team of trainers devised ten ‘sports’ based on what we could do, ranging from swimming X amount of pool lengths per visit, to running to and from our homes to the Club.  There was a giant scoreboard in the Reception, on which we could mark which sports we were entering, and then watch as our counters moved across the board.

Watching these counters was incredibly motivating;  it didn’t matter how good or bad we were, we could feel a sense of achievement – and at the end of the Olympics we are all that much fitter.

If Physios would volunteer to set the the ‘Games’ and a scoreboard, and supervise sessions in hospital gyms, this idea could be adapted to encourage patients to get fitter.

Very often private schools encourage their teachers to go that bit further, and volunteer.  And as the Opening Ceremony showed, there were 600 NHS nurses keen to give up an enormous amount of time for rehearsals.

So lets devise properly structured exercise, using volunteers if necessary, and  leave a lasting legacy from London’s Olympics.

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Cancer survivors should eat and exercise to survive longer

New guidelines from American Cancer Society

 

American Cancer Society

American Cancer Society (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 


Suddenly, the media the professionals read is full of the new guidelines coming out of US cancer research centres, urging  survivors to exercise and eat healthily

The American Cancer Society says people who beat cancer exercise and eat healthier: now they say it just may provide a better chance of preventing the cancer from coming back.

Did your doctor discuss this?

In Britain, we are often given patchy advice – if anything at all.  Tacked on to your treatment schedule, you may be offered some sessions with a dietician – but allying these to advice on exercise – forget it!

In the States it can be no better.  “That’s not something most doctors do”, says Dr. Omer Kucuk, an Emory University oncologist who has researched the effect of nutrition on prostate cancer. Most doctors discuss surgery, chemotherapy or other treatments for their patients. “Usually the last thing on their mind is to talk about diet and exercise,” Kucuk said.

But Exercise is called a “wonder drug” for cancer patients: What can it do?

Cancer society officials have long encouraged healthy eating and exercise as a way to prevent certain cancers. They and others have tried to spread that gospel to cancer survivors as well. Indeed, the American Cancer Society has a certification program for fitness professionals who work with cancer survivors.

But until now, the group didn’t think there was enough research to support a strong statement for cancer survivors.

American Cancer Society encourages joined-up thinking
Being overweight or obese has long been tied to an increased risk of several types of cancer, including cancers of the colon, esophagus, kidney, pancreas and – in postmenopausal women – breast. But there hadn’t been much evidence on the effects of diet and exercise for people who had had cancer.

The last five years have seen more than 100 studies involving cancer survivors, many of them showing that exercise and/or a healthy diet was associated with lower cancer recurrence rates and longer survival.

Most of the research was on breast, prostate and colorectal cancer. The evidence is more meager when it comes to other cancers, including the deadliest kind, lung cancer. Also, most of the work involved observational studies, which can’t prove a cause and effect. Still, the volume of research was compelling.

“We’ve got enough data now to make these recommendations,” said Colleen Doyle, the organization’s director of nutrition and physical activity.

Other medical groups have strongly recommended exercise and healthier eating for cancer survivors, but the cancer society’s new guidelines are expected to have much greater impact. It’s the American nation’s largest cancer charity in both donations and the number of volunteers, and it funds more cancer research than any other non-governmental agency.

There was a time when cancer patients were thought of as gaunt and dying souls. Many cancers were diagnosed at a late stage, after the disease had ravaged the body and caused weight loss.

But better screening and treatment has made early diagnosis of cancer more common and survival more likely. Today, more than two-thirds of cancer patients live at least five years. The ranks of cancer survivors have grown, with more than 12 million Americans identified as cancer survivors, and millions more in Europe.

Tailored advice
For some patients just eating enough food is a priority, and diet advice can vary during treatment. The cancer society also notes that some people may be too weak at times for vigorous exercise. But experts say that even modest activities, like lifting soup cans while watching TV, can help.

Women seem to take to exercise and diet recommendations more readily than men, or to push their spouses to follow the advice, some doctors said.  Men tend to go back into their man cave and hide.

Get Active

Advice is to think what you eat, and get active.  And if your hospital or centre doesn’t have  a programme you can slot in to – what about suggesting starting one?

 

 

 

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Golfers beware of cancer

It’s time for golf in the sunshine!

 

 

That means checking your golf bag and making sure it contains everything you might need;  which should includes sun cream for protection.

Golfers Are Especially At Risk for Skin Cancer

The first thing you should know is that we all are at risk of developing skin cancer, regardless of race or skin tone. Yet some of us are more at risk than others, and this includes frequent golfers.

Why are golfers especially at risk of developing skin cancer?

Here’s why:

  •  Tee Times: Most people tee off between 10:00 a.m. and 2 p.m., which coincidentally is when the sun’s rays are at their strongest. Opt for an early morning or late afternoon tee time instead. It may also save you a few dollars on green fees to tee off at a later time also.
  • Length of the Game: A typical game of 18 holes will take about 4 hours or so. A busier course will leave you outdoors for much longer, being exposed to harmful UV rays.
  • Little to No Shade: Yes, golf courses are professionally landscaped with beautiful trees and foliage, but chances are you aren’t hanging out underneath them while you are playing. If you can, try to rest under shade while you wait your turn.

What to wear

Ideally, you should be wearing long trousers and a long-sleeved shirt. However, this may not be practical in warm weather.

What you can’t keep covered, remember to cover with sunscreen, even on cloudy days.

Apply sunscreen to exposed skin, including areas that are often neglected — the hands, ears, and the back of the neck. Golf sandals are becoming increasingly popular, so don’t forget to apply sunscreen to your feet if you choose to wear them.  Aim for a suncream with a minimum SPF (sun protection factor) of 30.

  • If you don’t use suncreams normally, ask the pharmacist for advice on how to wear them
  • when to apply (usually 20 – 30 mins before you go out)
  • how long the protection lasts (SPF 60 will last a lot longer than SPF 30 – but both have to be re-applied frequently)

Sun-protective clothing is also available at sporting goods retailers and at many golf pro shops. The fabric used in sun-protective clothing works like sunscreen, allowing only a limited amount of UV rays to penetrate the fabric. It provides excellent protection and is recommended by several cancer organizations.

A hat or visor isn’t just for keeping the sun out of your eyes; it’s also for keeping the sun’s harmful rays off your face. Choose a hat or visor with a five-inch brim so it is long enough to provide adequate protection. A golf umbrella is another item that most golfers keep in the bag, but often forget about. An umbrella is a great way to get much-needed shade on those long, sunny days on the green.

Using Sunscreen
Unfortunately, people make a lot of mistakes when it comes to applying sunscreen.  Ask the pharmacist’s advice on how and when to apply.

  •  How to Choose the Best Sunscreen for your skin type and what you want to do
  • What SPF Do I Need?
  • Do Lips Need Sunscreen?

And then go out and enjoy!  Remember that walking is one of the best forms of exercise post cancer, particularly if you have osteoporosis.

With many thanks to Lisa Fayed

 

Grand Cayman Golf

Grand Cayman Golf (Photo credit: Fevi Yu)

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The Macmillan Elephant reminds us of exercise benefits

MORE THOUGHTS ON WHAT NHS COULD DO

 

Take a good look at the Macmillan Elephant.

This is going to be in the room/hospital/even Parliament constantly from now on.

Whatever happens, no-one dare make a sensible climb-down over the Health Bill.  Egg is around in bucketfuls, and no politician has the courage to pull the plug on probably the most unpopular bill since the Poll Tax.

Yes, the NHS needed to  reform – no-one would deny that.  But one doesn’t send a Lansley breed bull into the china shop of the NHS to make reforms.  One goes about reform gradually.

But being sensible doesn’t make headlines.  And today’s politicians live by media soundbites.

Perhaps this Elephant standing in the corner might remind everyone that it is THEIR money that funds the NHS, and when the service crumbles, their in-put might actually be listened to.

So what’s to be done?

I asked  a very eminent medical journalist for her thoughts.  She knows what’s happening, realises that we must be realistic, but believes that prevention could SAVE money.

“Why isn’t a pass to one’s nearest health club automatically provided with one’s anti-cancer medication?

Why don’t we concentrate on the health part of the National Health Service? Prevention being better than any cure”.
Back-up for her comments is provided in a report by Macmillan Cancer Support. It notes that cancer patients and cancer survivors should exercise at least 2.5 hours a week,i and cites an excerpt from the American College of Sports Medicine consensus statement on exercise guidelines for cancer survivors, which states:

Exercise is safe both during and after most types of cancer treatment… Patients are advised to avoid inactivity and return to normal daily activities as soon as possible after surgery, and during adjuvant cancer treatments.”

Of course people need to be mindful of the level of intensity, and avoid exercises that may stress a surgical incision or repair, but generally speaking the sooner you can get moving after surgery, the better.  Continuing to exercise on a regular basis strengthens the cardiovascular system, stimulates metabolism and is a powerful anti-depressant.

What happens in the private sector?
Private patients can be put on a Cancer Recovery Exercise Programme, if they are willing.  Insurance companies will usually pay for this as an aid to  rapid recovery.  Local Physios at the NHS hospital were so interested they tried to set up a programme, but it was decided they were a general hospital, and there was no joined-up thinking to encourage them to offer the programme for local cancer hospitals.
In the private sector, those with Osteoporosis are often given specialised exercise programmes, which can reverse the disease.  One hospital, when asked if they would provide these simple, inexpensive exercise classes, turned them down.  “But WHEN you get a fracture (not IF) we will be able to look after you on the Orthopaedic ward” (at a cost of around £12,000).
No-one in that hospital had thought how much fractures cost the NHS every year, and how a simple exercise course could save thousands – if not millions.
Your place in the scheme
If you believe that exercise could help, contact your local Macmillan branch and ask them what exercise programmes might be available, or could be set up.
And be prepared to suggest classes yourself:  it does work.  Ask the patients at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital.  They heard the Hydro Pool was going to be closed down, so six of them got together, wrote to CEO, Governors, LINk, etc. and got the pool re-opened.  Took them six months – but they did it.  And every week they wallow in the warm water as they do their exercises, delighted ‘their’ pool is back again.  Incidentally there is space if more want to take advantage of this pool.  Phone 020 3315 5141.
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Yoga in the Park in London

London’s

Hyde Park 


hosts Yoga

 

 

Studies in USA, Britain and all over world point to benefits of Yoga for cancer patients, and now Yeotown Radiant Health Retreat has teamed up with The Royal Parks Foundation to launch

Yeo London! Let’s Yoga!

They will host a year long campaign of yoga classes and events.

This will be the first event of many during the year, culminating in the biggest yoga class the UK has ever seen on June 24th 2012.

It’s expected 5,000 ‘yogis’ will descendg upon London just before the beginning of the Olympics.

When is first session?

October 22nd 2pm – 5 pm

After two successful outdoor classes in Summer 2011, the next Yeo London! Let’s Yoga! event will take place inside the beautiful new eco-friendly Isis Education Centre at the LookOut in London’s Hyde Park.

The LookOut has the cleanest air in central London, and this workshop will be in celebration of the opening of the centre, where thousands of city children will learn about the natural world from pond-dipping and mini-beast safaris, to bat walks and wild food and cooking. Proceeds of the event will go to support gardening tools, a weather station and other vital equipment for school visits.

Cost:  £15 per person

Register online

Website: www.yeolondon.com

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Exercise – and shameful record of NHS ignoring benefits for cancer patients

Jogging with dog at Carcavelos Beach

Exercise is good for you both Wikipedia

So why won’t the NHS help

by providing this?

 

David Cameron talks on about obesity – research proves that exercise can help – yet all that happens is expensive advertising campaigns telling us obesity is bad.

When will politicians get real?

Researchers around the world are producing more and more studies on the benefits of exercise, yet NHS does nothing to help by providing suitable classes.  Not everyone can afford a private health club membership.  Not everyone wants to go running in the street, and the local park might not be the safest place.  Yet when cancer patients are now told to go and exercise, hospital gyms are closed to them.  It doesn’t make sense!

Starting off

Boredom was hitting in spades, and sitting around the Cromwell Hospital I had a massive dose – so picked up a leaflet headed Cancer Recovery Exercise Programme.  It would give me something to do, my insurance company was in a benign mood – so I went for it.

And its founder, Matt Hickey, was one of those evangelists whose words made sense.  And his exercise programme helped me get better so much quicker that my doctors were astonished.

Macmillan agrees

Now the charity say that research proves that inactivity risks long term health of 1.6 million cancer survivors, and are calling for exercise to be prescribed.

  • Doctors fail to inform cancer patients about benefits of exercise
  • 1.6 million cancer survivors1 could be at greater risk of serious long term health problems
  • some are at greater risk of recurrence of cancer because they are not physically active enough

Their recent report,  Move More, reveals startling new evidence showing just how important physical activity is to the recovery and long term health of cancer patients. Four key findings in the report are:

  1. breast cancer patients’ risk of recurrence and of dying from the disease can be reduced by up to 40% by doing recommended levels of physical activity
  2. bowel cancer patients’ risk of recurrence and of dying from the disease can be reduced by around 50% by doing significant amounts of physical activity
  3. prostate cancer patients’ risk of dying from the disease can be reduced by up to 30% by doing recommended levels of physical activity
  4. After treatment all cancer patients can reduce their risk of getting side effects of cancer and its treatment by doing recommended levels of physical activity. These include fatigue, depression, osteoporosis and heart disease.

Yet despite strong emerging evidence that being physically active could dramatically improve cancer patients’ recovery and long term health, a survey by Macmillan Cancer Support found that

  • many health professionals are not aware of this
  • the majority are not talking to their patients about it.

Over half (56%) of GPs, practice nurses, oncologists and cancer nurses do not speak to their patients about the possible benefits of physical activity, or, at best, they speak to just a few of them.

Ciaran Devane, Chief Executive of Macmillan Cancer Support said:

“The evidence in our report, Move More, shows just how important physical activity is to the recovery process of cancer. Yet very little attention to its benefits is given by health professionals or by those commissioning health services.  It is essential that physical activity services are available and ‘prescribed’ to all cancer patients.

“Cancer patients would be shocked if they knew just how much of a benefit physical activity could have on their recovery and long term health, in some cases reducing their chances of having to go through the gruelling ordeal of treatment all over again.

What type of exercise is best?

It doesn’t need to be anything too strenuous – what about

  • gardening
  • going for a brisk walk
  • swimming
  • cycling

What happens if you need gentler or more specialised exercise?

Sitting in just about every hospital that treats cancer patients is a large room, full of expensive equipment, but under-utilised:  the Physiotherapy Department’s Gym.

The equipment can help with all kinds of exercise;  this doesn’t have to be ‘gung-ho let’s go for the burn’ type – but using bouncers for gentle up-and-down leg movements can be helpful.  So can using treadmills for gentle strolls – and realising that what is probably more beneficial than setting machines to go faster, is to make them incline more.

Just rolling Swedish balls around, sitting and balancing on them, pushing them up the wall – can loosed tired muscles and get blood activated.

Exercise doesn’t have to be fast and furious – but it needs to be tailored to every patient’s specific needs.  And it needs physios that understand the requirements for individual patients’ needs.

Taking exercise on

Traditionally cancer patients were told to “rest up” after their cancer treatment and to “take it easy”, yet Move More shows that this approach is outdated and could actually put cancer patients at risk.

Jane Maher, Chief Medical Officer of Macmillan Cancer Support and leading clinical oncologist said:

“The advice that I would have previously given to one of my patients would have been to ‘take it easy’. This has now changed significantly because of the recognition that if physical exercise were a drug, it would be hitting the headlines.

“There really needs to be a cultural change, so that health professionals see physical activity as an integral part of cancer after care, not just an optional add-on.”

Jane, 57, from Christchurch, took part in a ‘prescribed’ exercise course at her local hospital, following treatment. She says:

“Before I was diagnosed with breast cancer I didn’t really do much exercise. I felt pretty down and exhausted after my treatment – it really knocked it out of me.

“I was referred to the BACSUP programme9, where I was given 12 weeks free use of the gym and regular meetings with a specially trained fitness instructor. They suggested I go along to a dragon boat racing group for women who’ve had breast cancer. I loved it so much, I’m still taking part.

“I feel like a completely different person. I’m much more confident, am much less tired and feel so much better. Who could have imagined me being so full of life after everything I’ve been through?”

So why can’t we ALL benefit?

Jane was lucky enough to be in a position to get the BACSUP programme, but ordinary patients, if they suggest to their cancer centre that they would like something similar, are met with blank stares, or, even more unforgiveable, “we don’t do that – you’ll have to go privately”.

So all you hospitals with gyms, hang your heads in shame.  You are being dogs-in-the-manger.  You could so easily set up classes for ALL cancer patients – yet you let NHS equipment lie idle and under-utilised until maintenance comes in and hangs a sign ‘out of order’. 

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"Paved paradise to put up a parking lot"

Rugby - Barby Rd. Rugby School Playing Field

Greedy Councils would love to sell off this type of school playing field Wikipedia

Joni Mitchell‘s

famous song 

lamented loss of green fields

 

And Government plans mean we are about to lose even more of our open spaces.  Open spaces were we could play and run around, kick a football, play around – and generally work off steam.  We were kept busy playing around, didn’t have time to get bored, and worked off the doughnuts and Chelsea buns that were our fast food.

Today, there are far fewer open spaces for kids.

So, bored kids go rioting

The Government howls about obesity

– is anyone surprised?

When we take away playing fields and areas where kids can let off steam (and incidentally get healthy exercise to prevent obesity) and the inevitable is fat, bored, lazy kids.

Not so much fun, is it?

Greedy Councils are taking away our birthright

If we don’t fight Councils and developers, we will soon end up with not a blade of grass to be seen.  Grass could even be on the ‘endangered’ list if we don’t watch out.

In our little area of Chelsea there was a ‘kick-about’ area where local teenagers used to play football of an evening – except during two weeks of Wimbledon when hitting a ball against a wall with an old tennis racket took over.  There were always a large group of kids there every evening.

But our Council decided to be PC, close this down and build a mega-expensive tiny tots playground, with state-of-the-art all-weather equipment, and covered in rubberised flooring.  This left just half a tennic court area for a totally inadequate kick-about area for teenagers.  The irony is that 90% of the time the playground is now empty;  there are often none or at most two kids playing when I go past.

Result?  Bored teenagers only have streets to wander in, so trash car mirrors for something to do.

Near by, Westfield Park was created to satisfy the law that says we have to have more open spaces.  Bulldozers moved in, and created an open, grassed-over area with a domed effect, so making it difficult for kids to play football.  How nasty is that?

Where can we exercise?

The NHS was founded on the principle that if people could get free healthcare, their illnesses would soon be cured, leaving fewer cases to treat.  Huh!

Preventative medicine is something that is totally alien to today’s NHS hierachial thinking.

  • How many hospitals have well-equipped gyms?  Just about every major hospital will have one in the Physio Dept.
  • And how many have programmes to encourage patient and ex-patients to take exercise, and use the gym equipment?  Not ours – and I doubt if many others do either.

It is the most incredible waste of a valuable asset to see hospital gyms lying idle after 5 pm, and all over the weekend.  Yet St. Thomas’ Hospital in London paid thousands for a large metal sign to go up on the wall:  Serving the Community.  Well, if providing exercise facilities isn’t serving – I don’t know what is.

With private gyms and health clubs costing upwards of £50 a month for membership, hospitals could offer exercise classes as a service to the community, and do their bit to prevent obesity.

  • Charge for these
  • Pay Physios overtime to run them
  • And let patients benefit from them

If we follow European hospital practice, we could offer exercise for

  1. weight loss
  2. bikini bodies
  3. osteoporosis
  4. post cardiac treatment
  5. joint aches and pains
  6. maintaining mobility
  7. Get fit for football
  8. OAP fit and healthy ‘club’.

etc. etc.

Reality

Fired up with enthusiasm after a trip to Italy to see how medical centres there treat osteoporosis with exercise, I ask Chelsea and Westminster Hospital if I could join exercise classes to help reverse osteoporosis?  No – we don’t do this.

So I ask why not, since exercise will strengthen bones etc. and help prevent fractures.  Ah!  No problem.  The hospital is fully geared up to deal with fractures (cost?  possibly around £12,000 per case?)

So no glimmer of even looking at what our cousins get in Europe, even though Cameron and La La Lansley constantly say how much better care is there.

And the irony is, my mother was on the Friends’ committee that raised money for the expensive TechnoGym equipment for this hospital, that lies idle for much of the time.

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