Yesterdays Irish Independent ran a sort piece about Irish rugby superstar Ronan O‘Gara is working alongside the Irish Asthma Society, he is an asthma sufferer. This initially came as a slight surprise as you wouldn’t associate elite athletes with this debilitating illness, but then I got to thinking and reminiscing of a couple of people in my own past.
As a school boy there were two lads in my class, both of whom had asthma. One cried off every PE class or Games session, citing his asthma as his excuse, the other became a star member of the schools rowing squad assisting the crew in becoming one of the top crews in the country (ranked 12th if I remember rightly)
Rowing is an incredibly physical endeavour requiring iron lungs with physical and mental strength to match. The rower with the asthma hardly ever missed a day of school and was never seen to use his inhaler. The other guy, well he became an accountant.
Then I remembered another story from my past. As a young Karate-ka, I remember a younger club member who was always struggling with his breathing, he had quite severe asthma although It never stopped him attending class. Our instructor, Jack Parker, decided to introduce breathing exercises at the end of the sessions as we sat in seiza. To us this was just another of jacks’ foibles, we thought it would pass. He would have us breathe in while he counted to 5, hold for the count of 5 then exhale for 10. Some days he would change the numbers (4,4,8 or 7,7,14). The young lad with the asthma struggled with this but persevered. One day Jack and the lads father were in conversation. Jack came over me afterwards that the boy had shocked his GP when at his last check-up because of the vast improvement in the lads lung capacity, something like a 30% increase. It turned out jack made us all do the drill for the sake of the one lad, he had realised the benefit and spent a half hour a day practicing his breathing.
The result, he conquered his asthma
Why am I telling you all this?
Well like many illnesses that are abound today, most are quite easily controlled if you apply a bit of will power. The lungs, like every other system in the body will adapt and improve if it is asked. Asthma, obesity, osteoporosis, high blood pressure, these are, in the vast majority of cases avoidable. All one has to do is take some exercise and avoid junk food and the excesses of modern life.
If you don’t know how, ask your granny (or someone’s granny)
At Wild Geese we take self defence one step further, keeping oneself safe from harm includes keeping preventable and controllable illnesses at bay, we treat them the same as we would a mugger. Avoid if possible, attack relentlessly if not.
There are no excuses. You are responsible for your own health and safety. Ronan O’Gara chose not to bow to his condition, why should you?
every cause but our own
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