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Dr Duncan

HBF Run for a Reason 2012

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Five years ago my then 20 yr old, youngest son rang from Sydney to say that he, and two of his mates were going to cycle from Brisbane to Broome! As a good father I informed him that he “must be crazy - do you know how far that is, and what happens if something goes wrong”? But it’s strange how we can turn on a sixpence, because he then told me that they were doing it to raise funds for a Children’s Hospice in Sydney and he immediately had my full support.

Fundraising to help others is fast becoming a natural part of our modern life and quite rightly so. The government cannot be the unending resource to which all organisations go to for funds for their worthy projects - there’s just not enough money in that pot! That’s why we need philanthropy - where those that have, give to those that “have not”. Unfortunately, there are no Bill Gates or Warren Buffets in Australia - two giants in the US who, along with (or perhaps at the instigation of) their spouses have committed literally billions of dollars to alleviate suffering and ill health around the globe.

Bill and Warren might be blazing a trail, but corporate and individual giving is alive and well too: here are some international figures for the year 2006 ...

USA          $A 217 billion

UK            $A  22.5 billion

Germany  $A  17 Billion

Australia, being a young country is still developing it’s philanthropic culture. According to Philanthropy Australia private Trusts and Funds donate between half a billion and $1 billion each year. And on an individual basis, Giving Australia estimates that in 2004/5,  87% of the adult population donated $7.7 billion to non-tax deductible organisations! Now that’s impressive!

We Australians seem to have an inherent link with the “battlers”, the “under-dogs” and the “strugglers”: we definitely believe in giving a “fair go” to those who are not as lucky as the rest of us, and that’s why giving - of our money, of ourselves and of our time - is so important for the health of our wonderful country.

HBF Run for a Reason has picked up on this theme and in three short years has established itself as one of the “must do” events in the Perth Calendar, raising funds for our four principal charities:

Diabetes WA
Heart Foundation
Lifeline
Cancer Council

The theme of improving your own health and helping to raise funds for those less fortunate is a wonderful concept; in fact it’s investing in the future health of the state of WA. All the charities for which funds will be raised are not just names but represent people just like you and me. All of us will know of someone who has had a heart problem, needs cancer treatment, is living with diabetes or has mood disorders - and if you don’t then I promise you that at some point in your life you will know someone, or it could be you!

I am a great believer in helping not only the less fortunate, but also the one who does the caring - the care-giver: because the care-givers need to look after their own health too. Walking, jogging and the outdoor life not only help in the management of all the conditions I mentioned above, they also help prevent them too. So being fit and healthy needs to become a natural part of our daily lives - especially when we have to care for someone else.

The HBF Run for a Reason is a “decent” distance - it might not be a marathon or even a half marathon - but for those who have never attempted such a distance before, you must take a few precautions before you even start training. Here’s a check list* for those intending to “do” the run and who haven’t exercised for some time. If you tick any of the boxes then you should see your Doctor before you put your track shoes on!

  • You have a known heart problem.
  • You have asthma or lung disease.
  • You have diabetes, or liver or kidney disease.
  • You have arthritis – knees, hip or back.
And even if you haven’t been told you have a health problem, if you have ...

  • Pain or discomfort in your chest, neck, jaw or arms during physical activity
  • Dizziness or loss of consciousness
  • Shortness of breath with mild exertion or at rest, or when lying down or going to bed
  • Ankle swelling, especially at night
  • A rapid or pronounced heartbeat
  • Muscle pain when walking upstairs or up a hill that goes away when you rest
THEN YOU MUST SEE YOUR DOCTOR FIRST

Also, if are one of the following then it’s a good idea to get a check up too

  • You're a man older than age 45 or a woman older than age 55.
  • You have a family history of heart disease before age 55.
  • You smoke or you quit smoking in the past six months.
  • You haven't exercised for three months or more.
  • You're overweight or obese.
  • You have high blood pressure or high cholesterol.
  • You have impaired glucose tolerance.
*check list adapted from the Mayo Clinic.

Article written by Dr. Duncan Jefferson. More articles here. For more information on health care and private health cover, visit HBF Insurance at www.hbf.com.au.

The content of these articles is not tailored for any particular individual's circumstances. The author does not take into account your physical condition, medical history or any medication you may be taking. Any advice or information provided by the author cannot replace the advice of your health care professional. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not represent those of HBF unless clearly indicated.

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