In 1978 Susie Orbach wrote her hugely successful and extremely influential anti-diet book Fat is a Feminist Issue, examining the complex relationship(s) women have with the shape of their bodies and with food, and what those said about women’s relationship with society. These days people usually refer to Obesity rather than Fat-ness, and obesity has become so widespread and affects such a high percentage of people that even though the issues discussed in her book are still relevant, they exist within a much wider spectrum of issues related to body-size. So although one can still say that fat is a feminist issue, it is also a “person-ist” issue, given its ubiquity, and with relevance to SGSC we can also say that it is an age issue.
Dear Josh Glancy,
We have to take issue with you over something you wrote in your article for the Sunday Times Magazine of June 11th. In the article you wrote that “… technology makes physical strength ever more obsolete…” and we have to say that we find that a very dangerous statement.
In February this year there was quite a bit in the press on the subject of a recently published report on some research which proposes the theory that, beyond a certain modest amount, exercise does not use up extra calories. The reporting continued along the lines of "if you exercise primarily to lose weight, tough luck - because it doesn't work!". More of how this theory works later, but the main point that we wish to take issue with is the general tone of the press commentary which went along the usual lines of "Now we can stick two fingers up at those smug types who feel so good about themselves because they go in the gym and torture themselves, or they run for mile upon mile etc etc. Here's some research that shows us it's not worth doing more than an easy walk for a couple of miles since anything more than that doesn't use up any extra calories, so is pointless. Hah!"
Along with many other people, SGSC pushes the idea that as well as being a lot of fun, extreme and adventure sports are good for you. Facing the dangers and the challenges sharpens the mind and achieving something in a difficult and potentially dangerous sport increases confidence, something that can diminish as you get older. Preparation, i.e. getting into good physical condition, is the key to being able to do this, lessening the risk of both failure and injury. And for Silver Grey athletes, that physical training is itself an important benefit, as has been commented on many times on this site. In any case, Silver Grey athletes are doing plenty of exercise either through doing the sport itself, if you are say a triathlete, or because exercise is the key to the physical conditioning your sport requires.
Exercise is powerful medicine. The good it can do you is extensive as is its capacity to change your body. However, from a recent report it seems that this is not the only side of the story.
Managed to get away for a week’s skiing in glorious Val d’Isère. The snow has been fantastic and the weather has been wonderfully and worryingly hot - not that Donald Trump and his acolytes feel they should worry about it!
Aside from the thrill of the sport itself, the feeling that comes from being in the beauty of the mountains is a huge part of what makes skiing special. It therefore comes as a great disappointment to us, this current obsession for skiing wearing a helmet. Apart from the dislocation from the environment, we also feel that it has in fact made the sport more dangerous rather than the opposite. One of the results of people feeling themselves to be more protected is that they often ski with less concern for others.
Tomorrow, the Silver Grey Sports Club is on its way back from a ski-trip to Whistler, Canada. Great skiing and plenty of Silver Greys out and about on the slopes.
But here's the thing, even in the country, Canada, where triathlete Mary Goodacre lives, and which made her very happy when finding that she, in her sixties, was among a far larger number of age-group triathletes than when she races in UK, there is still ageism, alongside attitudes that we can't condone where you expect them least.
And here's how it happened.