It is now quite common for those who are health-conscious to go to gyms to exercise on a regular basis. Many can attest to the benefits of keeping to such a regime. But now some medical experts are coming out with contrary opinion. A leading British surgeon is saying intensive gym use is creating a crippled generation in need of hip replacements in middle age. Dr. Robert Marston, an orthopedics consultant of Hospital of St. John and St. Elizabeth in London says the number of men and women in their early forties who have worn out their joints as a result of running on machines and doing step aerobics is increasing. He is of the opinion that obsession with such high-impact forms of exercise is to blame. Mr Marston has treated at least five times more patients in their 40s and 50s than he did ten or 15 years ago.
According to statistics from the National Health Services information centre the number of hip replacements has been increasing steadily since 2002. Last year alone 89,000 cases were carried out.
He says they are treating a lot of people in early middle age with significant arthritis and worn-out joints and he feels in many cases it is down to the gym craze. He feels it is particularly problematic for overweight people who go to the gym.
Mr Marston is a pioneer in hip replacement technique. This allows younger patients to walk hours after surgery. He has issued an additional warning – that binge-drinking can take its toll. He says a sudden intake of alcohol can lead to a condition called avascular necrosis. Large amounts of alcohol can cause blockages in the blood vessels that supply the joints and the joints die.
Like everything else, if there is an opinion there is always a counter-opinion. Gary O’Donovan, an exercise physiologist at Exeter University, said it was a ‘myth’ that exercise is bad for the joints. He is of the opinion that the fitter we are, the better it is and that we have evolved to be active.
May we all have the wisdom to choose the right course of action for ourselves.
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