Are you a weekend warrior? Or a daily doer? Do you believe in the ‘no-pain, no-gain’ mantra? Well, I have answered yes, to all of these questions in the past but now it’s confession time. If we listen to all of the opinion and advice, the exhortations and pleadings that are offered to us by the medical profession, the media and our political classes, then like good citizens we take our exercise and we believe it’s doing us good. Some of us even grow to enjoy this pastime and indulge in multiple manifestations of the exercise thing.
I hate to be a disappointment to all you good readers who have taken to turning to my blog in pursuit of truth, controversy, idle amusement or learned opinion but, sadly, I’m going to be out of action for some weeks. This has come as something of a shock.
Over the years I have lifted weights, run, played squash, rowed, cycled, swum and hiked. Whilst never in danger of actually winning anything other than self-satisfaction, I have derived great pleasure from all of these pursuits. However, what they don’t tell us is that if we do all of this healthy stuff, then bits wear out; probably before they otherwise would have done. First, I had to give up running due to recurrent problems with shin splints and ankle damage. Then I had problems with my knees from cycling using the first generation of ‘Look’ pedals (no lateral movement). Now I have learnt that my right shoulder has a rotator cuff tear and it also requires subacromial decompression. I’m not sure what has caused this damage but I doubt that it was tapping away at the keyboard.
Having always been an early riser I have, as a consequence, enjoyed some extraordinary sights. Sculling on a deserted Thames atHenley one late autumn morning the river was covered in a dense, low mist that just permitted my head and shoulders to break through into brilliant sunshine. Completely lost in the magic of the moment and my exertions, I was brought back to reality by a shatteringly loud eruption behind me; glancing over my shoulder I found that I had sculled into a large flock ofCanada geese that were now rising into flight accompanied by a cacophony of beating wings and raucous honking. Living now in the Yorkshire Dales, I have spent years cycling and hiking in this inspiring countryside.
During my business travels I have run in many parts of the world. It’s so easy to pack your running gear and get out in the mornings and see something of the city or the countryside and sweat off the toxins from the inevitable prior night of overindulgence. It was always fascinating to see the reactions of the locals at a time when running was not the mass pursuit it is today. By far the most animated reaction I ever received was the whistling, gesturing and ribald comments from the morning commuters inRome.
High in the mountains above Nikko in Japan, a colleague and I collapsed into a small tea shop and pachinko arcade in search of refreshment after our exertions. Sipping quietly on a wonderful cup of green tea and enjoying the surroundings, our tranquillity was interrupted by a group of young men bursting in, creating what seemed an amazingly authentic impersonation of Marlon Brando in The Wild One. Catching sight of us strange gaijin, their noisy behaviour abruptly ceased, turning into furtive whispering amongst themselves with glances in our direction. Then, abruptly, the whispering ceased, they stood tall and strutted towards us with expressions as menacing as any I have seen. With what appeared to be serious trouble looming, the real problem was not just that they heavily outnumbered us but that they had fanned out blocking the only exit. I almost died with relief when the leader produced a large orange which he held out to me uttering in heavily accented English “Welcome Japan, please to enjoy our country. Small gift for you”
Not only has exercise given me the space and timefor some of my best thinking but it has provided me with a store of energy that has exceeded that of almost anyone I have ever worked with, enabling me to keep focussed and relaxed when times got rough. So, would I have changed my lifetime of exercise, if I had known that bits might wear out? I don’t think so! For me, nothing compares with the high from hard physical exercise (well, all right, maybe one exception).
However, I now have to put myself in the care of our medical profession and face the prospect of 6 weeks with my right arm in a very sturdy sling. Regretfully, it seems that I’m not going to be able to tap away at the keyboard, producing my views of business life for all you faithful readers. If you’re new to my blog, do have a browse in the archive and share your reactions. If you’ve been following me for a while, why not leave a comment or two and start a lively thread?
Play nicely whilst I’m away!