In this week of Olympian effort, I want to differentiate between physical activity and sport. I love sport. I have always loved sport. I played football and rugby at school; I took up martial arts and boxing as a teenager and competed whilst I was at university and I have ridden a bicycle for as long as I can remember. My favourite sport is cycling (Bradley Wiggins and Team GB Cycling, chapeau to you!). I love to ride my bike and the best holidays I’ve ever had have been on my bike. I am one of the lucky ones.
There are many, many people, especially women, who do not feel as I do. A lot of the women I see in clinic have an almost pathological dislike of team sports and recall embarrassing and, for them, shameful memories of having to play games they disliked and were no good at whilst wearing skimpy kit. Worse than playing, was waiting to be picked to play on a team and being left until last. These women, and some men, hate sport, and I mean hate.
From memory I recall it was usually the non-sporty individuals who were made to play in the unpopular positions where no one passed them the ball. On the rare occasion the ball flew towards these hapless individuals, they had nodded off through inaction or were so numb with cold they couldn’t wield the hockey stick or catch the rugby ball and were then screamed at for being useless by the sporty jocks seeking sporting glory. I feel ashamed now to think that I was probably one of these.
Healthier Weight patients and regular readers of this blog will know by now that I’m a really keen advocate of physical activity rather than sport. Physical activity can be incorporated into everyday life through the simple act of walking, climbing stairs at home and avoiding lifts in public buildings. Take a look at my blog on 12th January 2011 for more ideas on how to increase the amount of physical activity you do in a day. Sometimes, once people have lost weight with a gastric band or gastric bypass they discover a new passion for sport so whilst the Olympians of yesteryear are growing flabby and paunchy in middle age, Healthier Weight patients are becoming fitter and leaner as the years go by.
Dr David Ashton MD PhD
8th August 2012