Why do boomers do it?

Fairy tales can  come true, it can happen to you, if you’re young at heart, sang the late great Frank Sinatra.  But sometimes being  young  at heart isn’t always the fairy tale  you want, or need.  At a certain age you forget the boomer body you’ve inherited over the years. You  flip back multiple decades to those never-ending summers of youth, when anything  was possible.  It’s then that the less cautious resort to daredevilry, attempt things the boomer body would never allow except that… the teen brain has briefly taken charge. 

Before long  you’re seeing your GP – again – along with the physio down the hall.  You see others about your  age emerge from clinics, mostly men, always damaged and in self-protective mode, limping back to the reality of their age.

But why do boomers, who should know better, engage in this mass masochism?  It’s not as if we don’t know what could happen – we’ve spent the better part of our lives telling our children to be careful.  Then, when they’ve long gone, we  act like children – though our flab and follicular challenges should give us  away.

Is it because boomers, the Peter Pans of the 20th century are still trying to live out this fairy tale when we know deep down, that X-rays, bone scans and blood pressure readings will tell the real story. As do the stats. Radio New Zealand news reported in February:

‘Last year 52,964 claims were made to ACC for gym-related injuries, including 783 for fractures or dislocations, 177 for dental injuries and 13 for hernia.The number of claims has risen steeply over the past seven years’ said the broadcaster.  It added that there were just over 51,000 claims made in 2016, rising from only 17,694 in 2011.

In the same month a The Press chipped in with an editorial  on the subject saying:

‘Exactly why the gym has become a more dangerous place is not exactly clear, although people’s willingness to attempt high-intensity or boot-camp style training may be a factor. Many injuries seem to be sustained by older men who are now not as capable as they once were.’

So there. They’ve nailed it. Macho instincts  at work – and time to lower our expectations.

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Paul Smith

Paul is a veteran journalist, non-fiction author and writing mentor. He has also served on boards ranging from TVNZ to UNESCO.