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Have a heart

Louise was in Dunfermline on Thursday to attend a Red Cross first aid course. She has to renew this every three years as it’s compulsory to have a first aider’s qualification to work as a fitness instructor.

Eh, excuse me. That’s fitness instructor, as in taking classes for people living a ‘healthier lifestyle’. And it’s compulsory to have first aid training? Doesn’t this strike you as a bit odd? Or a bit worrying? Louise does teach Body Combat but I’ve always understood this to be a non-contact sport, so presumably there aren’t piles of injured participants with broken limbs and bloodied noses to deal with. So what is the training for? Perhaps you might drop the weights on your toe or fall off the exercise bike. Or slip on the running machine and sandpaper half your face off (hang on a minute, my brother-in-law, Johnnie, did do that – silly sod). No, none of these. It’s in case you have a heart attack.

Hang on a minute. Attending an exercise class is supposed to be good for you, isn’t it? New Years resolution: a healthier lifestyle. Cut down on the binge drinking, give up the fags, join a health club. All the instructors are fully qualified to resuscitate you when you peg-out, mid-class. But it won’t happen to you, it’s very rare. It only happens to a handful of people with strange, undetected heart conditions, doesn’t it? Well, ask yourself this. Why would they make CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) training compulsory if it’s so rarely needed? Is this some sort of protection racket run by the Red Cross to extort money from fitness instructors?

I’m a firm believer in the cardio theory handed down to me by my father, and by his father before him. It’s a straight engineering theory. You are born with a heart which will only beat a certain number of times, maximum. Sure, just like an engine, if you don’t look after it, you won’t get anywhere near the maximum number of beats, it’ll break much earlier. But using the beats up faster by pointless jumping about won’t get you any more, you’ll just run out sooner.

And if they run out at one of my wife’s classes, she’ll be performing mouth-to-mouth. Think about it.

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