Putting your back into getting fit

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They don’t tell you this when you’re young, but getting older really hurts.

A physio who got me back up and running (literally, I got around the Great North Run course three years in a row thanks to him) once told me, “sitting is the new smoking”.

Working in newsrooms and on sports desks for hours on end making newspapers may well be a giggle at times, but in later life, your back will not thank you for spending the last 27 years hunched over a keyboard while peering into a screen.

So apart from taking the dog on a nice long walk every day, about a year ago, yours truly signed up to four exercise classes a week and has been as fit as a flea ever since.

Until last week.

Degenerative spinal conditions are nobody’s idea of a good time and spondylosis, wear and tear of the spinal column where bits break off, float around and get stuck in your facet joints like food in your teeth, is about as much fun as it sounds.

Pilates and spin classes are a massive help, but it turns out high-intensity interval training is not, especially where weights are concerned when you’ve got a glass back.

Swinging kettle bells around and bending forward while lifting barbells gets many people wonderfully fit very quickly, last one I did I burned 706 calories in 55 minutes (cheers, Fitbit) and briefly felt like an Olympian.

Although the instructor had a worried look on her face when she asked, “Are you feeling okay?” when everything went a bit grey and woozy after the warmdown.

It’s my own fault.

At the start of every class the instructor always asks if anyone has any injuries or ailments, but if I told them everything that’s wrong with me, they’d never let me join in.

What with that and the boss’ torn meniscus in her left knee that’s taking an age to heal, last week we were hobbling about like a couple of grumpy old pensioners.

On one particularly grim night, we struggled up the stairs together like exhausted mountaineers a few metres from the summit of an exhausting climb.

Now I know why pensioners buy bungalows.