Ruud Klein­paste

Ruud Klein­paste pre­scribes ex­er­cise through pest con­trol.

NZ Gardener - - Contents -

Our Bug­man pre­scribes ex­er­cise through pest con­trol.

many, many years ago, I trav­elled New Zealand and parts of the world film­ing items for Mag­gie’s

Gar­den Show. It truly was great fun and an hon­our to visit peo­ple’s gar­dens and meet inspirational folk who were like-minded and, gen­er­ally speak­ing, na­ture nerds.

One seg­ment I clearly re­mem­ber dealt with ex­er­cises for gar­den­ers, stuff such as warm­ing up, stretch­ing mus­cles, cor­rect pos­ture, how to lift heavy bags of pot­ting mix, reach­ing for high branches when prun­ing, be­ing sure-footed and stable.

It wasn’t re­ally my gig. I was young and bul­let­proof; had played tennis three, four times per week since I was a stu­dent; did long tramps and weird climbs up hills and moun­tains to find birds and col­lect in­sect spec­i­mens; I swam a lot, did a bit of body surf­ing and a bit of moun­tain bik­ing. I was rea­son­ably fit, re­ally – still am!

But as most gar­den­ers at some stage find out, with grow­ing age come grow­ing prob­lems. Those bumps and bruises catch up with you. A brush with rheuma­toid arthri­tis caused me more than a few has­sles. It spon­ta­neously went away, but is slowly com­ing back again.

Lately, the arthro­scopies on both my knees in the early 1990s are start­ing to prove they were a bad idea at the time! All that tennis, foot­ball, climb­ing and fall­ing as well as play­ing with kids and grand­kids wear out your joints.

So, I signed up for os­teoarthri­tis classes at my lo­cal med­i­cal cen­tre in Hal­swell. It has changed my life and gave me a whole new hori­zon for ac­tiv­i­ties and espe­cially gar­den­ing. And here’s the so-called “el­e­va­tor pitch”: These classes are all about early in­ter­ven­tion, learn­ing to live with arthri­tis (the throb­bing pain) and it cer­tainly pro­vides a strat­egy to de­lay knee or hip re­place­ments.

At the same time, it pre­pares you for these sur­gi­cal pro­ce­dures and helps with a speedy re­cov­ery.

Our se­ries of classes spanned 10 weeks and in­cor­po­rated a heap of in­for­ma­tion from guest speak­ers: diet ad­just­ment, weight and pain man­age­ment, po­di­a­try and med­i­ca­tion. A sur­geon mag­i­cally ap­pears and tells about the pro­ce­dure, what to ex­pect, how to pre­pare your­self and what the op­tions are. Fas­ci­nat­ing stuff!

Med­i­cal science is ex­tra­or­di­nary: read­ing la­bels of drugs and foods, the myths and leg­ends and un­sub­stan­ti­ated “ben­e­fits” of var­i­ous ex­pen­sive com­pounds. It’s truly amaz­ing to learn how you can make wild claims and get away with it. I reckon the pes­ti­cides in­dus­try is bet­ter reg­u­lated when it comes to ef­fi­cacy data!

The phys­io­ther­a­pists and course lead­ers spend a con­sid­er­able amount of time tak­ing you through some pretty good ex­er­cises, espe­cially re­sis­tance work­outs that strengthen your mus­cles around knees, glutes and other ar­eas that will make you look good in Speedos.

In amongst all the info and fun in our classes, you quickly learn that the most im­por­tant el­e­ments of man­ag­ing os­teoarthri­tis are ex­er­cise, strength ( built up by do­ing re­sis­tance train­ing) and weight loss.

Up and down the coun­try, there are other such arthri­tis classes, of­ten based on hy­dro-ther­apy with wa­ter based ex­er­cises (im­mer­sion classes). Arthri­tis New Zealand (Kaipon­apona Aotearoa)

How about mix­ing these green pre­scrip­tions with adopt­ing a Preda­tor-Free New Zealand trapline.

has some of those on their web­site too (arthri­ ex­er­cise-classes/).

Their fo­cus and gen­eral mes­sage is – un­sur­pris­ingly – the same as that from the ex­perts at my os­teoarthri­tis classes: early in­ter­ven­tion is im­por­tant and not just for gar­den­ers, but in fact, ev­ery­body!

Arthri­tis, in all its forms, has a yearly cost to our coun­try of some $12 bil­lion dol­lars.

Two of the “fun facts” I learned re­cently is that 50 per cent of peo­ple with arthri­tis are of work­ing age and by far the largest cost is loss of well­be­ing.

Sud­denly not so fun any­more, is it?

But judg­ing from the re­sults of my os­teo-classes, ex­er­cises and move­ment can do a mar­vel­lous job to keep me gar­den­ing with­out much dis­com­fort. “Use it or lose it” is the mantra and gar­den­ers will have no prob­lem do­ing ex­actly that.

Green Pre­scrip­tions (0800 AC­TIVE) have a range of cus­tomised ac­tiv­ity plans too, so make sure to check them out.

But I just got an­other idea for core strength and healthy move­ment in the com­pany of a small group of like-minded peo­ple: How about mix­ing these green pre­scrip­tions with adopt­ing a Preda­tor-Free New Zealand trapline!

You’re out in na­ture, check­ing and re-set­ting ro­dent, stoat and pos­sum traps, in your own tempo, of course, while en­joy­ing the re­turn­ing birds and other bio­di­ver­sity.

What do you mean, “loss of well­be­ing”?

Os­teoarthri­tis on X-ray.

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