This week, Michael Dermansky, senior physiotherapist at MD Health, is joined by a special guest, client Richard James, to discuss the importance of being strong and the difference it can make in your life. 

At 50, after an active lifestyle, Richard was diagnosed with stage four lymphoma. He had to re-examine how to manage his life. After two rounds of chemotherapy, he wasn’t able to do his usual fitness activities such as boxing. After discovering Pilates, he hasn’t looked back; he feels stronger than ever, while also feeling more energised.

In the episode, we explore the important role strength plays in many aspects of life, and why being stronger is one of the most underestimated secret weapons for being able to keep doing the things you love.

Let’s get confident!

CLICK HERE to read the full transcript from episode 23 of The Confident Body Show


Topics discussed in this episode:

  • The role that basic strength plays in sport (and life in general).
  • The most underestimated secret weapon fo being able to do the things that you want to do.
  • The wide-ranging benefits of strength-based exercise: from injury prevention to dealing with surgery to managing cancer.
  • The motivational and emotional benefits of community-based exercise.
  • The benefits of strength-based exercise after 50 – and why people are often stronger than in their 20s.

Key takeaways:

  • Having the strength in his body allows Richard to live the active life that he desires with his wife, more so now in his late 50s than he was in his 30s and 40s. (3:00)
  • It’s not just about just working hard in a workout, but working on the small but important stabilising muscles to build the foundation of strength. (4:30)
  • Strength training has allowed Richard to build the capacity to be able to tolerate going through and managing the treatment of cancer. (8:00)
  • Rest is an active part of the process. Rest allows to you recover and get the most out of the next workout. Without it, you slow your progress, burn out and don’t achieve the results you desire. (18:00)
  • Setbacks are a great time to revisit your program and ensure that you are working on the right things (and get the advice that you need). (23:00)
  • Take advantage of the advice of an exercise professional to get the technique right and work on the important muscles, which will bring you further, faster than going it alone. (31:00)

For practical articles to help you build a confident body, go to mdhealth.com.au/articles.

Do you have any questions?

  • Call us on (03) 9857 0644 or (07) 3505 1494 (Paddington)
  • Email us at admin@mdhealth.com.au
  • Check out our other blog posts here

Our clinical staff would be happy to have chat if you have any questions.

Click on the Dash icon below to see the entire show transcript

Episode 23: Full Transcript

Voiceover (00:02):

Welcome to The Confident Body, where experienced health professionals discuss how to get the most out of your body for the lifestyle you choose. We believe everyone can exercise and get the most out of life regardless of your injuries or health issues. Now here’s your host, senior physiotherapist, Michael Dermansky.

Michael Dermansky (00:23):

Hi everyone and welcome to the show that helps you become more confident in your body so you can keep doing the things that you love. My name’s Michael Dermansky, I’m the senior physiotherapist here at MD Health. And I’ve got a special guest today, it’s one of my clients, Richard James. Welcome to the show, Richard.

Richard James (00:38):

Yeah, Michael. Hi, how are you? Great to be here.

Michael Dermansky (00:40):

Well, I asked you to come along for more of a story about the importance of being strong and the difference it’s made in your life. I know you’ve been a customer here for about three years, but it’s really the ins and outs, what that difference that makes in your life. So just a little bit about yourself. Do you want to tell you the listeners a bit more about who you are and what you do for a job?

Richard James (01:05):

Yeah, I’m in property. I’ve been a long-term property person, I’ve been in real estate for probably 30 years now. So that’s been a job, that’s a pretty consuming job. So like you Michael, we work long hours and I’ve worked big hours over my life, but I’ve always tried to manage to keep fit ’cause I think that’s important in being able to perform at your best. But at age 50, I got diagnosed with lymphoma, I had stage four cancer. So that made a big change for my life. So I really had to then start to look at how I managed work and managed my health and from that period on, from the age of 50, I’m 59 this year, but I’ve really started to focus in on the things that are important and my health’s probably the most important thing to get on top of, to make sure that I can continue to do the things I love.

Michael Dermansky (01:57):

Yeah, okay. Well I guess that’s really the point of this conversation today is doing the things you love, why that health is so important as well. So let’s go back, we first met about three years ago, so August 2020, your wife, Sandy said, “Come and do this.” Why did you seek out help? Why was it important for you come here? You were diagnosed three years-

Richard James (02:22):

Okay. So in my earlier years, used to play footy and I played footy up until I was about 30. Prior to that, I used to keep fit by boxing before I would do a pre-season. So I did that for a long time. From the ages of 30 to 40, after I finished footy, I couldn’t really find an exercise that I enjoyed because football was such a compelling sort of sport, competitive sport. I did a bit of gym work, I used to run a bit, but slowly as I got older I sort of found that I needed to balance up a bit.


I went back to boxing at probably 39. I’ve been boxing in a boxing gym for that period. But after doing the same sort of exercise for such a long time, my wife Sandy has come here for probably five years, said, “Look, you really need to mix up your routine.” I got very accustomed to doing one sort of type of fitness and over that period of time, I just found my body started to break down a bit and when I hit 50 and then I started having treatment, I’ve had two pretty serious regimes for chemotherapy. I just found that I needed to mix it up. And three years ago, or two and a half years ago, I came to Pilates, which I didn’t know much about. But really that has transformed how I feel now and I feel much better now than what I was five years ago, because my body was at that stage starting to wear out.


And with the treatments I had, I had a lot of fatigue. I had a lot of postural issues and coming back to starting to reconnect with parts of my body that were either I think a bit worn out, or the other parts of my body that I need to rebuild to take my body back to being its best has now been sort of a three-year journey. And really the Pilates I do now is probably the most important physical work I do during the week. It’s made me much stronger. I feel refreshed, my body feels refreshed. And if I am a bit sore, your people are amazingly good at identifying your soreness or the areas that they need to work on. We drill down on that maybe for one or two sessions and then I don’t have any problems. So it sort of enabled me to have maintenance and keep optimally strong.


So I’m much stronger than I probably was five or six years ago. And my body’s in much better shape. It’s not feeling as burned out and as tired through probably 20 years of footy and 20 years of boxing. So I feel refreshed and I know now that’s largely because of the drilling down on those smaller muscles that I used to take for granted that we really weren’t activating well. Your glutes, your core, my shoulders were a bit worn out. Those sort of things now feel fantastic because we’ve really drilled in on those areas that needed some work.

Michael Dermansky (05:09):

See, it’s amazing because the story you’re describing as well, I hear on a daily basis where people like yourself who are professionals, play sport, you do the things that you love, the football, the boxing and so forth. And then two things happen. Number one, serious life events happen. You get busy at work, you’re thrown a curve ball out of nowhere, and at age 50 you’re told you’ve got lymphoma. These are all real life stories that I hear on a daily basis. And the two biggest things about that too is number one, as you said, those small muscle groups that are super important. So if you want to be a good footballer, you to want to be a good runner, you want to go be a good whatever, boxer, you actually need that basic strength first.


And so it’s one of the most underestimated secret weapons in being stronger and being able to do the things that you want to do. And unfortunately the story we usually see is that it takes a while for people to realize, oh wait, I should have gone back and done that in the first place. And it’s easy, oh I can pick up a football, I can just kick have a kick. I can just go put my shoes on and have a run. And that lack of base of strength is the thing really holding people back and stopping them getting the outcome they should. And so I know I’ve heard another podcast and heard other people speak. If you want to be a good runner, you need a good base of strength first. And you need that happening in parallel to the sport that you love as well.


The other interesting thing that you said as well, about the lymphoma, now we see unfortunately a hell of a lot of people have got some form of cancer. And are here on an unfortunately in a daily basis, it’s so common and we’ve read more and more reports that the importance of strength training with the management of any kind of cancer and that being the prevention of the reduced recurrence of the management of surgery, of any surgery you ever have, the management of any chemotherapy, radiotherapy, immunotherapy, all of them. Now I’m losing my voice. The management of those is significantly changed and not even by a little bit, whether people do regular strength and exercise base work around that too.


And especially in the three big ones are breast cancer, bowel cancer and prostate cancer as well. Huge ones that directly affect other people do exercise or not as well.

Richard James (07:36):

My experience has been that not only that too, what I’ve found is by having a connection to exercise and being part of a, I suppose a community. So here, my wife and I feel that we’re part of a great community and the trainers are fantastic. And by having that it’s actually a big part of your journey through cancer is to be mentally in good shape too.

Michael Dermansky (08:00):


Richard James (08:00):

And I think being part of a training, to come into a gym and train, the benefit also is the connection you have with trainers and people. And that actually helps in mental health because I’ve had two pretty serious loads of chemo. I’m about to, I’ve relapsed 18 months ago and my physician told me I’d probably get 18 months out of remission before I need treatment. I need treatment now. But over that 18 months I made the decision, and this is part of the process around the doing Pilates, that I wanted to get in the best possible shape I could before I go into a third lot of treatment. So I’m sort of, as silly as it might sound, I’ve got confidence in my body to go through treatment.


I know that treatment has a lot of side effects and you can be quite ill with it, but I’m the best shape I can be. And now I’ve got probably 12 months of treatment ahead of me and not that I’m looking forward to it, but I’m not actually concerned about it because I actually know I’ve done a lot of work and if I am feeling a bit fatigued then coming into the gym helps me keep mentally strong and physically strong and it’s the actual fatigue that makes you not feel so great.


And then that has sort of roll on effects to bad posture, and during the chemos, I used to get really bad headaches. It was only because I had bad posture and I didn’t have the strength to keep the posture in the right spot. So I was getting headaches and different things and I’d medicate, you’d take medication but the medication didn’t fix it. And one of the other stories I could share with other people is through doing a lot of boxing, my shoulders, I often got bursitis. I’d get my rotator cuffs and things, I get really sore shoulders. And I had one stage where I had probably 12 months with a bad shoulder I couldn’t get rid of the shoulder and I told Michael and his team and I’d had a cortisone shot and it didn’t really do anything. But what your team did was really drill down on how to stabilize my shoulders and strengthen them and I wasn’t taking any medication.


And I reckon after let’s say three or four months-

Michael Dermansky (10:03):

It’s about the time frame-

Richard James (10:05):

My shoulders now feel fantastic. I didn’t have to take any medication, I haven’t got any soreness. I’m a bit more careful about how much I use them. But it was really the strength training that and the focusing on the muscles around your shoulder to stabilize it to fix them, not medication, not just stop training. And I noticed that’s a massive difference between where physiotherapy and sports science is now to when I was in my twenties. I had a knee reconstruction and had a lot of footy and physiotherapy then was more about manipulation, not so much about rebuilding the muscles that you need to get back, but now it’s totally changed. And I just think that’s such a massive difference in the profession from what I’ve observed over my life.

Michael Dermansky (10:50):

I think it’s been a super positive change in the profession over the last 15, probably 20 years now where we rediscovered that we can exercise people again. The original professionals, I think it started as the treatment for polio. So physical therapists, physiotherapists, what they were called then, would be the part that would help people with polio. And exercise was a massive part of what we did. We didn’t have all the tools of manipulation, all things like that, and that came into it more in probably the sixties and seventies. And they’re really good additions to what we do, but in the end of the day we needed to make people stronger and we’re really seeing that the importance of loading and making people stronger was huge. And clinical Pilates, that came about and that was a great addition, that allowed us to start doing our jobs of making people stronger again. There’s nothing I can physically manipulate, mobilize, massage, stretch that will make your muscles stronger unless I make you do this stuff and load you up correctly to make you stronger to do it too.


And I think that’s been a really great direction that we’ve been able to do. And one of the things that I saw 20 years ago was that we would tell people to work on their strength, their core, their shoulders, all that stuff too, after they hurt themselves. We know you need to work on these things. Why are we waiting for you to hurt yourself before we do it?

Richard James (12:21):

Yeah, true.

Michael Dermansky (12:22):

This is crazy.

Richard James (12:23):

I think prevention, strength is the key. Being physically fit and understanding your body a bit too, I think it’s important. I know since I’m getting older, rest is really important. I enjoy to train but I want to feel when I come into the gym that I want to train and instead of being a bit burnt out, coming to think, oh I’ve got to come to the gym. You actually want to walk through the door thinking, I’m ready to smash it. I want to get Liam or one of your team to really sort of push you along a bit and have some fun and walk out thinking, that was a fantastic session and you feel challenged, but you are actually ready to train.


So I now try to give my body some rest over the weekend and I try and over the weekend, I give it the weekend off but during the week, I sort of do a block of training, different stuff. But Pilates now has become probably the thing I miss the most if I don’t do it because I know when I walk out, there’s a benefit in that day and the next day with actually walking out feeling like you’ve had some rehab too. It’s quite rehabilitative if that’s a word. The actual exercise itself, I find that you lengthen and stretch muscles that you work hard, the tighten up is part of the process and that lengthening and stretching helps you recover quicker and you feel much better and much stronger.


So I can do stuff now that I couldn’t do in my thirties because I played a lot of footy and back in those days, we never stretched much. But now, you said to me when I first joined I said “Look, I’m really tight here, really tight in the calves and those muscles” and you laughed and said, “Richard, give us a while and they will come back, they’ll stretch”, and now I can start doing lunges and stuff that I could not do, I never wanted to do ’cause I was no good at them, didn’t have the strength. But now I can start doing stuff and I’m amazed really that at nearly 60, I feel fantastic and look how strong my wife is too. And she did a lot of calisthenics, but Sandy can be a beast in the gym in terms of doing squats and just her overall strength now compared to what she would’ve been I’d say five or 10 years ago, is demonstratively stronger. It’s just quite amazing. I watch her do her work I think, God, you’re strong.

Michael Dermansky (14:33):

Yeah, she is.

Richard James (14:35):

She’s not big but she’s really strong. So sort of think age sort of doesn’t appear to be something in Pilates. And I get inspired by watching people in the gym that are in their seventies and maybe eighties that come in, are still working at, and nineties, trying to do stuff to enhance their lives so they can go out and they can keep active, they can shop and go and see people and they’re physically strong and enthusiastic. And the enthusiasm levels are still fantastic in people in their seventies and eighties and nineties, which is inspiring.

Michael Dermansky (15:07):

It’s amazing that you say these things ’cause they’re super important now. There’s two very important aspects that you said as well. Number one, you said you can do more now in your late fifties than you could, that you would struggle to do in your thirties as well. And I have seen this story again and again and again. It’s amazing. There seems to be a amazing switch that turns on and I wish it turned up in people in their twenties but it doesn’t, it switches on in the mid-forties and fifties, that you know what, I’m not just going to go and do this sport without doing all the work around it. I’m going to do this smart thing, slowly progress my strength and give myself a good base.


And I see time and time again, I see people in their fifties and sixties are stronger and are more capable than people in their thirties and forties and twenties because they do all the stuff around it. They’re don’t just think, oh I’m going to work hard and do this workout, but there’s no purpose to it, so it gets nowhere because you’re not actually trying to achieve anything, where if you’ve got a purposeful program that’s structured, it means the difference between actually having the life that you want or just doing stuff.

Richard James (16:10):

I think controlled exercise too is the difference for me. It’s very easy to just join a gym and get a program and go and do the program. But what I learned was in coming here is that I was doing bench press the wrong way and my shoulders were already a bit sensitive to load and it was Nick that said, “Look Richard, you’re pushing this weight the wrong way. Try this, do that, arch your back more, grip the bar a bit harder, change the angle of your grip on the bar.” And we dropped the weight back down. I got to a point where I just got sore, I got to a weight where I maxed out but I was just using shoulders. So Nick basically stripped me right back, said “Right, we’re going to change what you’re doing. Do this, do that, do that.” We dropped the weight right back.


Now I’m getting back to where I was but I’ve got no pain.

Michael Dermansky (16:58):

Yeah. Makes a big difference.

Richard James (17:00):

And it makes a huge difference. So I think for a lot of people that go to gyms and they might do treadmill or weight programs, the key thing is having someone observe what you’re doing to make sure that you’re not doing it the wrong way because if you are doing it the wrong way, ultimately it ends up that you probably stiffen up in the wrong spots, your exercise form’s not right and it actually probably is starting to work against you after a while instead of enhancing you, how you are. You actually start feeling sore, stiffer, tired as opposed to having someone oversee your program, measure it. A big one, measurability. They come and they measure what you’ve done last time, where you’re at, how you feel and you slowly progress to be better.


And sometimes you might have to go back to progress but there’s someone always there watching what you do and making sure that you feel okay before you train. Standard question your guys always ask how you feel and some days I feel better than others and if I’m feeling a bit sore, we change the program to make sure that you get the maximum benefit out of it.

Michael Dermansky (18:06):

Yeah, I think the thing you said as well, I’m going to go back to the setback in a second too, but a super important thing which we talked about in the last podcast with Hannah is the importance of rest and recovery as well. And so it’s underestimated, this is not a nice to have thing to have, that rest required after that program as well allows your body to grow and enhance. And as you said, the purpose of the rest is that you can actually push more the next time. If you don’t have enough break to be able to eat properly, to be able to rest properly as well, between sessions as well, we can’t push you and get the best benefit the next time you come in, which is exactly what you said about five minutes ago.


If I have had a proper rest after my program, I come in ready to go next time and we can push you further. If it’s just everyday exercise, I always do it every day, that is a guaranteed recipe for not getting anywhere because the body hasn’t had time to adapt. The whole purpose of rest when you train is to allow the body to recover, rebuild, go a little bit further than it was before so we can then take you to the next level and make you stronger and really enhance your performance. Eating properly, really making sure your nutrition’s right and the fueling is right, is the difference between having the stuff that you need to be stronger, or not having the stuff so you don’t enhance and also affects your cortisol levels.


So the higher training is a stress load, your cortisol levels are meant to rise as a result of that too. But that then has to minimize that cortisol spike. You need to rest properly, you need to eat properly. If you don’t have those two, well that makes it elevated and so it goes backwards from what you’re trying to achieve. Cortisol is a catabolic steroid, it’s your natural one too, but it breaks things down and brings in the bloodstream. So it’s the opposite, the anabolic effect you’re trying to have by doing exercise. So it is one of the most underestimated things that people do is that rest and recovery. And one of the tough conversations I have with people, like I said generally in their thirties and twenties is that you need the time between sessions. And they’re like oh no, if I exercise every day, I’ll get faster results. No you won’t. You will slow your progress down.

Richard James (20:19):

Yeah. And having been at those ages where you didn’t know much. Well, back when I was training in my thirties and forties, you didn’t have a high degree of coaching around what you did. So you go and train, you wouldn’t stretch down, warm down properly. All you’re doing is building more tightness, building muscle groups, which has an impact on your ability to train. And without rest, you get to a time when you burn out. Now, I love now training, I love having rest and coming in thinking actually I feel good about training, I want to come and train because your mind actually is really important in the exercise you’re going to do. ‘Cause if you’re not feeling like you want to train, then generally you don’t train that well. But if you want to come in, you feel fresh, you feel like you’re ready to challenge yourself, then that mindset helps you do your best.

Michael Dermansky (21:08):

And that’s really important. You have to be physically and mentally ready to train too. Because if you’re physically ready, but you’ve this high stress load in your life as well because this has happened, that’s happened and that’s real life. It’s another aspect that’s allowed you to not get the best out of the training program. So being physically and mentally ready to train and get the best load on that day is super important. It does affect performance. It’s not just a nice to have, it’s a active part of what you need to do.

Richard James (21:37):

And I love training here ’cause it’s 30 minutes and I think for most people that are busy, most people do most of the urgent things and don’t do the important things. So for me, when we leave the gym, we block in our next training session.


So we’re always making sure that, what I say, put the big rocks in first. Now you put the big rocks in first for a week, then you know that over the journey of your week, you’re going to have the best week you can. ‘Cause you actually do the things, you make sure you prioritize things that are most important. And most of us, when we’re under work stress, we go back to what’s easiest or you’re most used to and that’s the hard wiring of going back to work. But really what you need to do is ensure that you’ve got those couple of blocks in of your strength work, get that done and then it’s money in the bank really for you. Because ultimately you’re a happier, stronger, better version of yourself if you do incorporate exercise.

Michael Dermansky (22:35):

So it’s interesting you said that, you do those, and you said half an hour, it’s in and out. It doesn’t need to be more than that. It doesn’t need to be all day every day. They are small chunks, but it makes a massive difference. So small, concentrated, good loaded exercises and then stop.

Richard James (22:54):

Yeah, agree. We love the 30 minutes. We come out 30 minutes, we hop in the car, we both look at each other, we often look at each other. Gee, that was a really good session, really challenging. And then we recover over the day and look forward to the next one. But I wouldn’t want to do an hour. An hour to me would be too much. 30 minutes is fantastic, particularly in the muscle groups that we select. We’re specializing in certain muscle groups. So 30 minutes on one muscle. You walk out, you know you’ve done the work.

Michael Dermansky (23:20):

And then stop. Enjoy your day. That’s the whole point. So you said things about setbacks as well. Any particular setbacks you’ve had over exercise, not just here, elsewhere and how you handle them as well?

Richard James (23:32):

Well I’ve played a lot of sport. Playing football, I’ve had knee reconstructions. I’ve had two or three operations on the one knee. One’s a reconstruction, a couple of cartilage operations. But I was told that probably at my age now, I needed knee replacement. So what I did do is make sure that as I got older, I got off the roads, I stopped running. I got into gyms on soft services. Now my knee’s still fantastic, and when it is a bit sore, it’s probably because I haven’t got strength around it in the key areas, and we work on it. So having worked through those sort of injuries, shoulders, I broke a vertebrae in my neck when I was younger, playing footy too. The neck’s a bit sore but I know where my sore parts are and we really focus on doing strength work around those to ensure that you’re nice and strong there and then your joints are fine.


So as I’ve got older, I’ve really understood the importance of building muscles around the key joints that you need to support for longevity. So knees, shoulders, neck, back. I used to have, before I started Pilates, my back was a bit sore. I couldn’t lay flat to the ground. I used to have soreness and it was because the small muscles in my core weren’t activating properly. I have no back soreness now. None. And my back’s as strong, it’s probably stronger than probably it was when I was younger. And again, it’s about understanding where you’ve got some wear and tear and building some good muscle around that and looking after it and stretching it and doing the right exercises and telling your physician, your trainers, so that they know where your sore spots are and through the programs that you do in the gym, you can actually fix those without having to medicate.


Instead of taking a Voltaron, or whatever you need to do, take away information, you build a bit of muscle around it and before you know it, you’re in much better shape. That’s what I notice.

Michael Dermansky (25:26):

Voltaron, all those things are, they help manage the pain aspect but they don’t build load capacity. And then what you’re doing out there when you’re training is building capacities that get loaded. And so the more load your body’s able to practice to do, then it goes out in the real world and says, I can do this, I can lift this up, I can do this, I can handle my everyday life, ’cause I’ve got the physical capacity to do that too.

Richard James (25:48):

And I still want to be fit. My dream is, now I often say to Sandy, in my seventies, I want to still be able to go into the boxing gym and train hard, and I still want to be coming here and be strong and so that we can go and do things. We can go on walks. We can go walk, we can shop, can travel, do the things that you’ve worked so hard to get to a point where you then need to go enjoy yourself. If your body’s not right, you’re not going to be able to do it. And you’ve worked so hard to get to a point where you want to enjoy and enjoy it in a quality way. You’ve got to put the work in. You have to. If you don’t, then you can’t do those things that you love.


And when you start doing them, you don’t enjoy them because it’s not actually an enjoyable task because your body’s not supporting you, or your mind. So that’s why I train.

Michael Dermansky (26:32):

Well, it’s huge. Strength training is probably the thing that’s been shown to have the best effect of on reducing the risk of cognitive decline. Out of all the things, like the magic pills we have, that’s one of the ones there is evidence that shows that strength training does have a positive effect of mental health as well and reducing the risk of cognitive decline. But that’s the whole point, that’s the whole point of why you train. It’s not to show that you can lift a certain weight, who cares? It’s a number. It’s the enjoyable life that you have. And building confidence in your body means that, which is how we named the show in the first place, is that we went through a whole process of thinking, what do we call this show? What do we call it? And when we started listening to the stories, I want confidence in my body because I want enjoy my life. And bingo, that’s what we came up with it too, because you want to do this stuff, to enjoy the life that you have.


You didn’t work all this time to be able to then retire and stop. You want to do all the things that you want to be able to do.

Richard James (27:36):

And for people watching, I remember coming to the gym one day and I can’t remember which trainer it was, but there was a lovely lady and she probably was in her eighties and I think she was starting, she was quite mobile. But I remember the trainer, one of your sports physiologists saying to the lady, “What do you want to get out of your training? Why are you here? What’s the purpose of training?” And she said, “Well for me, I want to feel that I can sit in a chair and get out of a chair without feeling like it’s a major difficulty.” And it was as simple as that. And that was her goal, to be able to know that she could sit down, get up, walk, move, sit down, get up, walk, move.


And I thought, well, as you get older it’s the simple things that can leave you unless you build some strength around it and know what you want to achieve. And this lady, it was such a simple thing, I thought, well how fantastic. So I imagine now she’s getting in and out of her chair really well. But just those simple things, you can identify with what you want to do. And for Sandy and I, we want to be able to keep walking. We love to walk, so we enjoy walking, but if you’re not strong, you don’t walk as well. And we notice now that after doing Pilates for several years, we feel that we move across the ground a lot better. You feel like, I wouldn’t say you’re floating across the ground, but you feel that you’ve got strength in your movement as you’re walking.


You’re not walking hard into your body. You’re not feeling like you’re walking into your hips or your spine’s compacting when you’re walking, or your knees are sore because you’ve got more strength. You feel like you’re able to walk along, you finish walking and you feel like you’ve walked properly and you don’t wake up the next day and shuffle around the house because you can’t move. And I think that’s part of that conditioning process.

Michael Dermansky (29:19):

And as you said, with that lady you saw, when you do a program for someone, it’s not about what we think is important, about oh you need these muscle groups to be strong. It’s about what goals do you want to achieve out of it. And then we went backwards to work out, okay, what do we need to do to get you to what you want to do with your life?


And that’s the point of any exercise program. If you go to any gym, the whole point of it is not to be at the gym. It’s to be able to do the things you want to be able to do. Finally, just any last words, Richard you want to tell the listeners?

Richard James (29:49):

Not really, other than there’s no doubt in my mind through my life where I’m at now, that exercise for me is a really non-negotiable. You can’t really do the things you want to do unless you commit to tuning your body so you can do it. And I think as I’m aging, what I’m letting go of is some of the exercise I used to do, but embracing new things, they’re going to help me exercise for longer. So now I sort of look at my body differently. I used to enjoy, I use the word flogging, but I used to enjoy training too hard and I used to think that was great.


Now I look at my body differently and say, well, I’ve got this body for a certain period of time, I want to make sure it’s able to sustain what I really want to do. And now I look after it a lot more and I look after my mental health a lot more and I know that I’ve got some treatment challenges ahead and the cancer I have is incurable. But what I do know, that provided I keep fit and provided modern science keeps tricking it and putting it back in remission, I could get to a hundred. And that’s for me the way I think now. So I really make sure that exercise is a key part of what you do. But what I would say to people is there’s no exercise better than having exercises that’s measured and tailored towards how you are. So I think irrespective of where you go, what gym you go to, I think what you’ve got to make sure is that you’re doing it for the purpose that you want out of it.


That you’re getting it monitored, measured, and you’re having professionals that actually not only invest in you, but understand your body. And if they don’t do that, then again you’re just going to break down. You’re not actually going to get what you want out of it and it’s going to defeat the whole purpose of doing it. So they’re the sort of things that I’d like to pass on.

Michael Dermansky (31:34):

That’s fantastic. Well thank you very much for your time, Richard as well.

Richard James (31:37):

My pleasure.

Michael Dermansky (31:38):

We’ve got an interesting podcast coming up next about the difference between rehab and performance and that’s the next time round. But thanks, everyone for joining and we’ll talk to you next time. Thank you.

Voiceover (31:49):

Thank you for listening to The Confident Body. For practical articles to help you build a confident body, go to mdhealth.com.au/articles.


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