Thursday, July 30, 2009

Keeping fit

Many have complimented me on my fitness. Some who see me after a lapse of years say they see me the same except for the hair which has more grey than black when they last saw me. I really have not worked very hard for this fitness and actually loathe physical exercise for the sake of exercise, though I dish out copious advice on the benefits of physical exercise to my poor [not in the economic sense] patients. It is the same with diet. Though I am not a big eater, I eat everything that is edible provided it is cooked well and is tasty. I also enjoy an occasional mug of beer after my golf.

Then how is that my weight has remained around 65 kgs for so many years?

The answer is the game of Badminton. I started playing this game 50 years ago and more or less have done it all along these past 50 years [though not with any distinction]. Next to Squash, Badminton provides the most exercise in the shortest span of time. The shuttle keeps coming back at you before you have had time to recover. Not only are your muscles in action but also your reflexes. As the game involves lots of stretching and reaching, the muscles of the body don’t get big unlike in doing weights but they remain strong. As one would imagine the game is hard on joints especially knees and ankles. Through the years I have been fortunate in having excellent playing partners who have shared my joy of playing this game and like me love to play and not merely to win. Lately however Golf is taking precedence over Badminton and I have reduced my badminton outings to two times a week. This has not been well received by my playing partner [opponent] Suresh James. Both of us love singles play which is far more strenuous than doubles [more popular] play and when I am not available he finds it difficult to get another opponent who plays like I do [not for win but for the pleasure] and constantly reminds me that I have deserted my first love Badminton for my second love Golf. As a matter of fact he reminded me the other day, after reading my writings on golf that by not writing on the game [Badminton] which has kept me fit, I am being unfair to the game, a point well taken.

Racquet sports have their own attraction. They are not like Cricket, Hockey, Base ball or Soccer where more than four players are involved. In racquet games it either one to one or as in doubles it is two against two. Thus there is some privacy and class that is missing in group games. These are also games which can be played at your leisure time [early morning or evening/night] and thus will not disturb your professional life. Another advantage is that one can play these games till one is pretty old [I am the example]. One must also be lucky in not suffering injuries that will put you out of the game as I have found it has done to many of my friends. I have been lucky in not suffering any major injuries and having indulgent friends like Suresh who don’t mind playing with and occasionally losing to an old man.

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