Michael van Straten
Michael van Straten

Carl Lewis - One Of The All Time Great Athletes

In 1999 I met Olympic athlete Carl Lewis in his home town, Houston. Then just 38, this supremely fit delightful young man has borne the pain of arthritis for years. With London 2012 on all our minds this seems as good a time as any to think about the huge sacrifices that all elite athletes have to make.

Perhaps the bus and train drivers should consider these super heroes before striking for more dosh! How much harder can it be to drive a full bus or train than an empty one? How much extra blood, sweat and tears will these people expend to do the jobs they are paid for? Then I guess that we live in a society where exploitation is normal. In the immortal title of the best film Peter Sellers ever made, ”I’m all right Jack.”

Carl’s story is a common history for many serious competitors so as you sit in the arena or your armchair and enjoy the spectacle of the games, spare a thought for the efforts of each and every man and woman; able and handicapped who will be entertaining and amazing us during this Olympian feast of sport.

Here’s what Carl had to say:-
’When you’re young you don’t think about your health in the future; you don’t think training will damage your body. No-one warns you of the risks.

’By 16 I’d already damaged one knee hurling my body into the long-jump pit, but there’s not much you can do except having plenty of soft sand. Every competition meant a hundred practice jumps, so it’s not surprising I’ve had operations on both knees and my spine is now like that of a 60 year old.

’Once I got to college it wasn’t long before sprinting and jumping caused problems in the other knee. Constant jarring put my joints under more pressure by my 20s than most people experience in a lifetime. I only kept going with painkillers and ten years ago the doctors told me to stop exercising completely because of arthritis in my spine.

’I don’t like taking medicines, but had to use them for the arthritis – they caused dreadful side effects. The worst were constant upset stomachs and lethargy. I was getting help from my massage therapist, who told me about the new natural arthritis remedy, Zinaxin, made from ginger.

’I took it and in days the pain was less, I was more mobile – and, best of all, no side effects. The relief is now continuous; I can work out, run six miles and swim most days. I’ve been virtually vegetarian for years, eating lots of tofu, fruit, vegetables, salads and lentils and I making juice every morning.

’I’m happy that there’s more interest in natural ways of improving health. Things are really going in that direction. I hope it continues – maybe we’ll see an end to illegal drugs and anabolic steroids in sport.’

Carl was doing everything right, exercising to maintain strong muscles, eating healthily and avoiding meat, coffee and alcohol which can aggravate arthritis. NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatories) which he was taking have side effects, especially on the stomach. These put 12,000 people a year in hospital, cause 1,200 deaths and cost the NHS over £250m a year.

One of the most effective of all the natural anti-inflammatory medicines is the African plant, Devil’s Claw. Available as the registered herbal medicine, FlexiHerb. It is a traditional product for the relief of backache, rheumatic pain and general joint and muscle aches and pains. Suitable for over 18s, but not if you are pregnant or have problems with stomach ulcers.

For more info, go to www.flexiherb.co.uk


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