Being in my 60s, yet still pretty fit, I'm at a stage now where I'm questioning how much exercise I should carry out to remain relatively so. Since my 20s I have run. I have run for all sorts of reasons, from losing weight to taking part in competitions. Great memories, but I have also picked up some nasty injuries along the way - the last one was a major injury which I'm still living with.
Back 12 years or so I went for a run over sand dunes close to my home with a mate of mine. We were running at a fair old lick and when we were running alongside a deep rut I took my eyes off my footing falling over heavily with the left side of my chest contacting the ground before anything else. I wasn't aware of any injury at the time. I simply got back on my feet and ran hard to catch up with my mate. Once home my chest was hurting. On inspecting things further my chest was out of shape, with the left side caved in some. It became apparent something had broken close to my sternum.
I knew, at this stage, that they couldn't do a lot for broken ribs, but on sending pictures of my chest to another mate of mine, whose wife was a nurse of long standing, she insisted I go straight to the hospital - she was alarmed apparently. I was shocked to be honest with you. If a nurse who had many years of experience behind her should be taken aback by the extent of my own injury was scary - how would it not?
A&E was a farce. It was crowded for one thing. There was a young, overseer doctor who seemed overworked and was not at all sympathetic. He sent me for an X-Ray. The strange thing was the machine never made a sound, and when viewing the result my chest appeared fine? I get the feeling I was fobbed off.
I couldn't lie on my back for a year or 2. On top of that I couldn't lean forward whilst sitting up as my stomach would suffer a sharp pain - I still get bothered by this, but now, thankfully, not so much. The reason for this was that my rib cage seems to have twisted my upper body and pressure on my left back hurts my front, whilst leaning forward presses the sharp end of the break into my stomach muscles. Getting back to my questioning running ...
I have attempted to get back to a high level of fitness a few times since the injury. I have never managed to get anywhere near each and every time. This last time I trained extremely hard and lost a lot of weight. The weight loss was necessary so that I couldn't use it as excuse. Even being at a very low weight my running still hasn't returned to a level I am happy with. Studying the shape of my chest and the difficulty I have had recently with regard to running fast yet comfortably I tend to think I have lost a few percentage points of the total amount of air I can now take in. If I have lost say 5% of my chest capacity that equates to around 1 minute over a 5km 20min run. This could well be the reason for my disappointment with regard to my race performance these days. I don't think it is so much age related as at the age of 40 I ran a 31-32min 10km (31.25 on a fast course). Now I can't even manage 6 minute miling? Something is not right.
Even though I have managed to be the first over 60 runner in the local (and hotly contested) Parkrun I am pretty sure I am not running at my proper potential owing to a lack of oxygen intake. If I can't be as good as I should be then I fail to see why I should bother. Being handicapped in such a manner makes it all the harder. I can run without competing obviously but without a goal I tend to lack motivation.
The above is why I'm questioning the amount of exercise you need to carry out to remain in pretty good shape. Apparently short 30s bursts on a static bike can be as much of a benefit as a few miles jog. If this is the case then I will consider either the bike or the treadmill every other day. Just a few fast leg turnover exercises might well do the biz - along with an alkaline diet - should keep me in good stead for the future.
Sounds daft I know but I haven't been back to the doc for a 2nd opinion. I really should ...THE BREAKMY ATTEMPT TO STAND UP STRAIGHT
Notice the gap and the shoulder drop.