Exercise Doesn’t Have To Be Dull……

At Sports Medicine Partners we pride ourselves on providing the best evidence-based treatment to anyone, whether you’re an elite athlete or someone who, like me, is not (or again in my case was not) generally a fan of exercise.

However, as much as we try to deny it, we all know that exercise has huge benefits, not only when injured, but to health overall. This video says everything far more eloquently than I ever could and is definitely worth a watch…

Anyway, onto my point. Exercise doesn’t have to dull. Yes, if you enjoy pacing the streets or sweating it out in a gym, that’s great and you’ll feel all the better for it, but if you’re like me and have gone through life avoiding the lycra clad clan, exercise can feel like a chore. That is, it did until I discovered pole fitness!!!

Now this isn’t a plug for anything in particular, but as today is UK Pole Fitness Day my lovely colleagues here at SMP thought that my journey from exercise-phobic to exercise-loving may help to inspire some of our patients and passers by to think outside the box when it comes to keeping healthy. I was pretty sporty as a child and teenager, swimming at a high level and playing netball but fell out of love with exercise in my late teens. I’ve toyed with it on and off since but generally I was more off than on! However, 9 months ago at the grand old age of 30-something I was introduced to pole fitness by a colleague.

Now, despite common misconceptions, pole fitness is not the exotic dancing seen in late night clubs. It’s basically gymnastics and acrobatics on a pole. Think about male gymnasts on the parallel bars or rings and you’re getting there. Let me make one thing clear, prior to starting pole my last venture into gymnastics was age 7 when I got my Coca-Cola badges for being able to do a headstand. I had the upper body strength of a dead nat, and splits were something you bought from the ice cream van! I was not, and still am not a gymnast!

The great thing about pole fitness is that the strength and flexibility you need to be able to do it is worked on from day one and you build it up gradually. I couldn’t move my arms for a week after my first lesson but I loved it so much I couldn’t wait to go back the following week, an extremely unfamiliar feeling between me and exercise! Don’t get me wrong, it’s really hard work every week, I sweat profusely and don’t even get me started on the bruises but the feeling of achievement you get when you nail a move for the first time is worth every second. Plus, for the first time ever, I’ve started going to the gym and enjoying it because I know that it makes a difference to my skill level on the pole.

Health-wise I’ve also seen benefits; I’ve dropped a stone in weight and I have abs and triceps peeking through for the first time in my adult life. More impressively, the episodic back pain I was getting more and more frequently has all but disappeared and an old grumbly shoulder injury has completely gone as my arms and core have become stronger.

As I said earlier in this blog, I’m not here to convert you all to pole fitness, this is just my example of how it’s never too late to start exercising. It’s about finding something that you love. When you find that activity, it doesn’t feel like a big deal or a chore to do and the odd bit of muscle soreness doesn’t matter, it’s fun. The health benefits are an added extra. Your pole could be anything from bog snorkelling to triathlon, the options are endless. Have a look around, find your passion and I guarantee you won’t look back in so many ways.

Cate xxx