So apparently the NHS have this idea that if they give everyone between 40 and 60 a health check then it will scare a few of the unhealthier amongst us to get their act together and sort out their diet and exercise habits, therefore alieviating the strain on the NHS in the long run.
Its definitely an option that I wanted to take advantage of so I signed up, as did my Sister and my Brother. Louisa and Matt had their MOTs last week and were pretty happy with the results, no sign of the dreaded diabetes, low cholestoral, normal bood pressure and average BMI.
Of course, they are both healthy eaters who exercise regularly and keep an eye on their weight.
I had mine yesterday...
Well, first of all, I had to fill in a form. It was a box ticking type effort!
Do you cycle more or less than 3 hours a week? How many hours a week do you spend doing housework, less than 10? Is it more than 5 hours that you spend gardening per week? How active is your job? Very active ie: bin man, not very active ie: office worker?
Are you thinking what I was thinking...How relevant is this to my life exactly? I am not a bin man, I don't own a bike and housework is not my strong point!
Anyway, after filling in the form, the nurse arrived to collect me. So at that point I should have realised what a joke this was. The nurse would have made Aretha Franklin look like a waif! A tiny lady, as round as she was tall, who I had to wait for at the top of the stairs as she puffed and panted and waddled to what must have seemed the peak of Everest to her.
Was she really the best the surgery could drag up to convince people that their health was a priority?
After practically falling into her extra wide chair and perusing my form the nurse peered at me through her sallow complexion and stringy hair and announced that I was moderately active!
Mrs dance/dynamic yoga teacher who teaches over 20 classes a week, 5 of them lolloping around like a loony persuading 6 year olds that skips need pointed feet, 3 of them sweating my bollocks off in a hot studio and the rest jumping in and out of flows and postures in between moving bodies into good alignment, plus my own personal practice.
"Yes Ms Free, but you see, you ticked the boxes saying you don't cycle anywhere and you don't do any housework, so that puts you on the lower end of the active scale"
After several minutes explaining that even though I didn't work on the bins, my job was incredibly active and hearing her tell me that she was svery surprised when she had the same result in her own test (shocker!) despite the fact that she walked up and down stairs daily, I gave up. She did however concede to doctor the results as a favour!!!!!!!
Ok so then there was weighing (I almost had to threaten to confiscate the nurse's bacon buttie if she told me what I weighed. I spent nearly ten years as a dancer being weighed weekly and it stressed me out so much that I vowed as soon as I didnt have a weigh-in clause written into my contract I would never weigh again!) and height. She measured me at not quite 5'5""! Another bit of comedy as when I got home I got the tape measure out and I was 5'7" again!
So once all the figures were plugged into the terribly crude and un-sophisticated NHS software (CentraStage you should be planning your NHS attack!) it turns out that I have a 1.4% chance of having a heart attack in the next ten years.
I know I have been a little harsh on the good old NHS but in theory, I do think these health check ups are a good idea.
We should all be taking responsibility for our own health and not eating ourselves into a hospital bed or even a coffin prematurely.
If you are in the UK and over 40 then go and get a general check up. You may be surprised at the results (or at the very least, surprised at the amount of fat nurses) and it could give you a chance either to chill a little bit knowing you are in good shape after all, or it may just give you that kick up the bum that you need to get yourself fighting fit again. And let me just say that doesn't mean a six pack and killer biceps, it means you get up and move about to get your heart racing a couple of times a week; it means you have a healthy and balanced diet with more fresh produce and less processed food, it means taking time to analyse your lifestyle and find time for you once in a while rather than the billion other things you do for everyone else!
Think about it Freedom Lovers.