Is health insurance something that we buy or something we work for?
Though I am relatively active in sports and have my fair share of accidents before, a recent fall from a very ordinary activity (getting out of a taxi) left me with a terrible back injury and almost a week stuck in bed unable to move without feeling excruciating pain. The thought of something seriously wrong was more agonizing than the pain itself. Thank goodness I recovered.
A couple of months after that, I fell again. This time, the activity was even more ordinary – walking down steps in a narrow passage jammed with tourists. All it took was a little nudge from the crowd to make me tumble, red-faced and all. It was really punishing having a swollen ankle at the start of a holiday when each day involved walking for several hours.
Why am I falling so easily?
Someone told me that our bodies are like elastic bands. If we don’t stretch regularly, we become stiff and brittle and will tend to fall easily with high chances of fractures and other severe injuries.
Stretching as a regular form of exercise helps to de-stress our bodies by relieving muscle tension, improving joint movements, increasing blood circulation which in turn increases energy levels.
There are countless reports on the benefits of exercising regularly and many ideas on getting into an exercise routine at home if you cannot find the time to go to the gym or attend training classes.
I used to be a sceptic of these wellness reports even though I tried out some routines only to quit after sluggishness and procrastination took over. However, the two recent accidents convinced me to take regular exercises more seriously if I want to enjoy an active lifestyle for many more years.
So three months ago I signed up for a beginners’ pilates class which comprises of 10 middle-aged women and one brave man (a grandfather and the husband of one of the participants). The average age must be 55, judging by the clicks and clacks during leg and back stretches. Casual complaints, giggles and stumbles are common during the one-hour session.
Our instructor, J is incredibly patient when it comes to coaching people as old as his parents. J is a 30-something easy-going guy with an unusual way of giving instructions. For example, he’ll ask us to “detach your neck from the rest of the body” when I think he meant to use our tummy muscles to lift up the upper torso instead of straining the neck.
It took me a few lessons to grasp what J is trying to say but once in a while, he’ll say something odd like “remove your legs” when he wanted us to stretch out our legs from a cross-legged sitting position. In spite of J’s weird expressions, I continue with the class as it beats sitting around doing nothing or even worse, sitting around snacking something.
The good news is I have regained strength and developed an exercise habit over the past three months. My favourite workout is a daily stretching routine. This really helps to relieve the annoying aches and sores from over-sitting, over-standing and over-doing anything. Believe me, it works and it’s free. No therapies or medication needed. Just regular, moderate exercises.
Although there is no guarantee that we can completely prevent illnesses, the best chance to reduce health risks and unnecessary mishaps is by keeping fit. For me, daily exercises is the best insurance that I can have today and a small price to pay as an investment for my future health.