By : Elias Forero Illera
Internista reumatólogo. Rheumatologist internist. Internista reumatologista

21 January, 2022

"Four years later, 10 kilos lighter and without the aide of pills to control the aches and pains of the golden years, I am certain that I made the right decision: to exercise."

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Elías Forero MD

Worried about the fast appearance of the natural afflictions derived from the “calendar effect”, I decided to look for the elusive source that Ponce De León never found. The truth is that this purpose was explored in other opportunities, but for one reason or another, my sporting habit never prospered.

This time the situation was different, sports were necessary to avoid greater evils. So, my wife and I went shopping; her presence served as a stimulus and also as a handbrake to avoid unnecessary expenses.

The first investment (a euphemism invented by bankers to name unnecessary expenses) consisted of acquiring sportswear that suited my needs. A fan of Junior FC since birth, I wanted to explore the possibility of practicing sports with the jersey of the team that I love. It turns out that the original jerseys that meet all the quality standards of famous teams, including Junior of course, cost about $100. My handbrake argued that we work to satisfy our taste and preferences, so the complete kit of jersey and shorts was covered without any issues.

The next step was to purchase good athletic shoes. As a rheumatologist I have all the bibliographic support for not making any savings on this (1,2). An unsuitable shoe can mean a lot of pain later on, so my wife’s company merely gave the go-ahead regarding the style. The shoes were purchased without regard to "minor" considerations such as cost.

Investing in an exercise machine, to my budget's good fortune, was not even considered. It turns out that a few years ago in another fitness spurt I bought a treadmill. Like any new toy, it was widely used during the first week. The initial enthusiasm wore off to such an extent that the treadmill ended up becoming a large, expensive coat rack. Years later, the treadmill was given as a gift to one of our building's employees, who was in a fitness trance at the time. He would be responsible for repairing the damage that disuse inflicted on the machine and then put it to its primary use in order to reduce his excess weight. Unfortunately, I believe that he has not been able to repair it, since there is no noticeable decrease in his weight, so I guess the treadmill must continue in service as a rack.

I also did not consider joining a gym. That method of exercising was also explored in the past with discouraging results. What I paid for gym memberships, which I was never able to attend, would have been enough to set up a home gym.

So, I decided to explore what is the most recommended sport for a person with my ailments and health expectations. As usual the PUBMED search engine answered my questions. A paper published in 2017 by a multidisciplinary group from Finland and the UK showed that racquet sports, swimming and some aerobics are the best way to decrease the risk of all-cause mortality (3).

Racquet sports were finally chosen to resume my physical and sporting activity. We booked time at the racquet park and hired a teacher recommended for his patience with late beginners like me. The appropriate racquet for my tennis experience was acquired without delay, I had to make up for the lost time.

The investment in sportswear, racquets, balls, and logistics was not the only expense required to start my healthy workouts. Another investment, more expensive than the previous ones, was missing. Monitoring heart rate and rhythm, number of calories burned, oxygen saturation and other data prompted the purchase of a suitable watch to record these measurements (4). The goal, to ensure a level of exercise in accordance with my cardiovascular situation.

The journey to get back in tune with my physical condition was exhausting for us and our budget. However, today, four years after that journey, 10 kilos lighter and without pills to control the aches and pains of the golden years, I am certain that I made the right decision. No doubt about it: exercise is the source of eternal youth.


  1. Buldt, A. K., & Menz, H. B. (2018). Incorrectly fitted footwear, foot pain and foot disorders: a systematic search and narrative review of the literature. Journal of foot and ankle research, 11, 43.


  1. Kong, L., Zhou, X., Huang, Q., Zhu, Q., Zheng, Y., Tang, C., Li, J. X., & Fang, M. (2020). The effects of shoes and insoles for low back pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Research in sports medicine (Print), 28(4), 572–587.


  1. Oja, P., Kelly, P., Pedisic, Z., Titze, S., Bauman, A., Foster, C., Hamer, M., Hillsdon, M., & Stamatakis, E. (2017). Associations of specific types of sports and exercise with all-cause and cardiovascular-disease mortality: a cohort study of 80306 British adults. British journal of sports medicine, 51(10), 812–817.


  1. Isakadze, N., & Martin, S. S. (2020). How useful is the smartwatch ECG?. Trends in cardiovascular medicine, 30(7), 442–448.
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