Liz Wager: It’ll only take 5 minutes …

Liz WagerI’ve reached an age where various bits of my body don’t seeem to work as well as they used to (you’ll be able to find out which ones if you read on). I am also an avid believer that prevention is better than cure, and I actually believe some of the health advice I receive and try to follow it now and then.

But I’m starting to resent the amount of time I’m expected to devote to all these prevention and health-giving activities. The crunch came when I downloaded some pelvic floor exercises from a helpful website. Apparently I am expected to contract said muscles for five minutes “at least three times and preferably 6-10 times a day.” So that’s 50 minutes for a start. But, arduous as these exercises are, I can’t fool myself into believing they constitute the 30 minutes of sweaty, aerobic exercise I’m also supposed to be doing.

Actually, I enjoy running, and manage a gentle trot every other day. But then I started getting problems with my foot. Ah, said the podiatrist after prescribing costly orthotics, your calf muscles and Achilles tendon are tight, you need to do more stretching after you run. Just repeat these exercises every day, they’ll only take about 10 minutes.

Then the dental hygienist started to lecture me about the importance of flossing, and of course brushing, my teeth. My electric toothbrush ensures I don’t shirk on my two minutes morning and night, but my ageing gnashers apparently need an extra minute with the small toothbrush head, so that’s another 6 minutes a day, no, 8 if you include the flossing.

Being a busy, multi-tasking woman, I have tried to devise a way in which I can stretch my Achilles tendon and flex my nether regions while brushing my teeth at the same time but the mental effort is considerable. So if anybody tells me “it’ll only take 5 minutes” (and I happen not to have a toothbrush in my mouth at the time) I may have to tell them I simply don’t have time.