Health not Just Fitness
Opinion

Health Not Just Fitness

Fitness is very important, but it should never be used to bypass or dismiss conversations about overall health and other life and health issues.

It’s not something you forget easily. I know I won’t be forgetting it anytime soon. Watching a player receive CPR live on the football pitch isn’t something you often see or want to see ever. At the time, the broadcasters kept showing these harrowing images while people around the world watching were sending well wishes and prayers on social media.

Thankfully, Christian Eriksen has made a full recovery and is back at his football club. Now the question is if he will ever be able to play football again. I’ve waited to put this down in writing as it didn’t seem right to bring up a conversation that I think is extremely important, but could’ve seemed unsympathetic at the time.

It was one of the first games of Euro 2020 and many around Europe and even around the world had tuned in to watch. Denmark were playing Finland and all was going well. It wasn’t the most exciting or interesting games. Both teams were giving it a go and were hoping to start a winning campaign. What was a pretty average game quickly turned into a dreadful picture around the 43rd minute mark when Eriksen, only 29 years old, suddenly collapsed right there on the pitch.

There were no players anywhere near him, so it obviously wasn’t a knock or a tackle. Something was very clearly wrong. As they showed the collapse again, you can see him stumble as he moved forward to retrieve the ball from a throw in and then collapse. Immediately the game was stopped and medical staff and a few of the players ran over to take care of him. The doctor performed CPR and managed to resuscitate him thankfully with the defibrillator and stabilize him before straight away taking him to the hospital. The doctors confirmed afterwards that he had suffered a cardiac arrest. It’s not the first time it’s happened, but it’s the first time I’ve seen it and live on TV.

For me there is an important conversation that needs to be had. We talk a lot about fitness, exercise and nutrition. We hear things like just exercises and eat well and you’ll be healthy and okay. While this is primarily and usually the case, it’s important to state that it’s not the be all of health. There is more to ones health than just exercising and eating well. Yes, these are the things we can control and will keep the majority of people healthy, but our overall health has many factors which need to be discussed without just shutting the conversation down by pointing it all to fitness and nutrition.

Here we have a young man in the prime of his good career in what would seem to himself and everybody watching in optimum health and fitness. To play at that level these days, high levels of fitness is a basic requirement. Football clubs spend a lot of time and money on research, medical assessments, personnel, nutrition and fitness work among other things to ensure their players are at the top of their game and at their most competitive. But there are things that can’t be accounted for within these confines and things we can’t predict. Of course, something like this may never have been picked up at all by a doctor, as sometimes we only find out these problems once they have already happened.

Therefore, it’s important to go for those regular medical check-ups and not just dismiss pains, cuts, or lumps we have. Essentially, we have to discuss these topics and not just bypass everything by simply saying go exercise and you’ll be okay. This is a fitness platform that offers professional programs, but it’s about life and it’s important that we consider our lives as a whole and not just one dimensionally focused on certain activities.

In the spirit of honesty, I was just as dismissive about these things myself in the past. There was one time were I had a bug bite near my ear that got infected. I figured as someone who is mostly healthy with a strong immune system and regular exercising, I would be okay. The infection kept growing and I wasn’t having any of it from people telling me to go get it checked out. Eventually a sibling together with a friend of mine dragged me to the hospital. The doctors took care of it easily and gave me antibiotics. It wasn’t a big deal they said, but it was good that I got it checked as the infection was on my head and close to very essential organs such as the brain.

What I remember the most is what I was told by those who dragged me to the hospital that I think I’m all that and all good because I train every day. There is more to health, they were telling me, and that I was being an idiot for refusing to get it checked out. You can’t just ignore it and suck it up basically. Well I’m glad I got it taken care of in the end, but their words were what stood with me most.

Of course, this comes nowhere close to what happened to Christian Eriksen. However, it reminded me of those harsh words and that there is a conversation about overall health that often gets dismissed in the general conversation about fitness.

Founding partner at LIFE ON FITNESS. I'm a fitness enthusiast (not a fitness 'professional'). Being massively obese, I started my fitness journey at around the age of 14. It wasn't the cool thing to do yet, and didn't even know what my life was missing. It only got better as I researched, tried, studied, and tested evermore fitness elements and knowledge. I write my thoughts with the hopes of inspiring even one person to achieve their life goals as well as their fitness goals. But most importantly enjoy and get the best out of life.

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