Since leaving school and starting work I had never bothered much with sport, but when I realised that I was 30 and putting on weight, I began to panic.
How to get fit
My friend had been on at me to go to the gym with him, but to be honest, I couldn’t think of anything more soul destroying than using machines to work out with. I much prefer the open air, so when I saw an advert in the local shop window for a Sunday league football team, I decided to give it a go.
I had been quite good at football at school, but hadn’t played for years. Anyway, I went along and really enjoyed it, but I did feel as though I might die after running around on a field for the best part of ninety minutes. It was just after Fabrice Muamba had suffered a cardiac arrest on the pitch at White Hart Lane and I couldn’t get the image of all those people trying to save his life out of my mind.
Medical check up
I decided I needed medical advice before taking up sport seriously again, so I made an appointment with a private cardiologist. The doctor I chose offered sports screening, so I had a consultation, an ECG and echo, all on one visit which was much more convenient than waiting for a referral to a cardiologist from my GP. When I had been given the “all clear” I had the confidence to really start training properly and was soon playing in matches every week.
Change of lifestyle
The strangest thing about deciding to get fit was the effect it had on my day to day life. My wife started bringing our six year old son along to watch the football and he became really enthusiastic. It wasn’t long before the local park became an unofficial after school club for about 16 primary school age children and I seemed to have been nominated “coach”.
Before when I got home from work I just used to flop in the chair and turn on the TV. Now I seem to have more energy and get a lot more done at home and in the garden, as well as enjoying time with the family. Even if you think your sporting days are over, it’s worth seeing what a difference a little exercise can make.
Jamie Woodburn whose day job involves writing on a variety of subjects including fitness and health. He is writing here for www.londoncardiovascularclinic.co.uk.