Yoga Over 45

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Are you taking any medication? Do you associate getting older with expecting to slow down, become more tired, experience more health problems and taking more medication?

When you visit the doctor do you always expect to walk out with a drug prescription?

Having faced some recent challenges with quite severe pain in my feet I 
taking medicinecan vouch for the fact that, despite my reluctance to take anything unless I have to, when I did go to the doctor, I was in no doubt I needed something to help me cope with the pain. (which, by the way it transpired was the result of  nerve pain emanating from my spine; probably from a couple of injuries some months ago, and not a ligament or tendon injury as first suspected.)

I was struggling to cope even with walking my old lab; and as anyone who has suffered from chronic pain for any length of time will tell you, you are left feeling drained and low.

In such situations, taking medication, even if you hate taking anything, is a sensible and helpful thing to do. When our bodies are in pain, stopping us from normal movement, we need something to allow us to continue to live our lives.

Resting for too long is - as all doctors now agree, a recipe for seizing up further and making the problem ten times worse.

But when we continue to take the painkillers longer term; that can become a problem. Almost all doctors now agree that pain killers only work for a short while - then as time goes on, their effectiveness wears off - and we require more and more, to have the same effect - all the while, risking and experiencing sometimes debilitating side -effects; even having to take other drugs to mitigate those side-effects....till we are rattling from the number of pills we need to take.

Last month Dr Chris Van Tullekan led a documentary  called "The Doctor who Gave up Drugs." You may have seen it. If you haven't - the links are below - I highly recommend watching this fascinating programme.

One thing the programme highlighted was that the amount of drugs we use goes up in middle age.

By the time you reach 50 you might be taking 1000 pills a year and by over 60 you're likely to be on 2 pills a day for blood pressure - not to mention medication for other common ailments such as high cholesterol; depression; diabetes; arthritis and back or other joint problems.

Now, at NO point, did this documentary deny that drugs have their place in helping to support our well-being; in some cases they are an absolute necessity and they save countless lives.

But ALL drugs can do harm - with side-effects in some cases which can prove as challenging and unpleasant as the problem we want treating.

Overworked doctors, with only 10 minutes per patient, describe it as feeling as though they have nothing else to offer us, other than to write a prescription and hope it works.

And we feel short-changed if we walk out of the surgery without a prescription!

We seem to have become a nation who believes that the answer to any and every health issue
is simply to pop a pill.

In "The Doctor who Gave up Drugs", it cited an interesting report which was published last year (2015 by the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges entitled "Exercise - the miracle cure." (Here's a link, if, like me, you'd like to learn more:
Exercise - the miracle cure

However, to  save you some time here's a paragraph from that report which summarises quite nicely, the findings of studying lots of trials/case studies and research:

"Regular exercise can prevent dementia; type 2 diabetes; some cancers; depression; heart disease and other common, serious conditions - REDUCING THE RISK BY AT LEAST 30%.

In the BBC programme, individuals with diabetes, chronic pain, high blood pressure; depression or at risk of stroke were enrolled in some form of exercise programme, including Kung Fu; walking for 30 minutes 5 times a week and cold water swimming. whilst initially their motiv ation was weak, eventually, with the support of a group, they began to keep up their regime - and the results were dramatic.

In many cases, the exercise reduced the need for medication and measrues such as blood pressure, blood sugar levels and weight significantly improved. In addition - the transformmation in terms of how they felt generally was nothing short of remarkable.

Their mood test scores improved. They slept better at night. They enjoyed life more.

Dr. Van Tullekan said: "They felt like they were in charge of their own health and their own bodies. you can't put THAT in a pill."

So - I urge you to take a good hard look in yor medicine cabinet and ask yourself:
"How could I take back some control?"

Want to see the programmes?

Here's the link to programme 1: The Doctor who gave up drugs - episode 1

And programme 2: The Doctor who Gave up Drugs - episode 2

My own problem with the pain in my feet? My phsyiotherapist said to take the pain killers whilst the pain was severe, and see it as a course of treatment - much like taking a course of antibiotics - but meanwhile, to use physiotherapy and whatever I did, NOT to stop my yoga!

My feet are slowly coming back to being pain free and I have now come off the pain  killers. They have helped as a temporary measure - I will let physio and yoga do the rest.

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Shona Garner

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