What do you do for exercise?
Living close to my office, I can bike to work, which I do several days a week. We’re also fortunate to have a [Bodyscapes] fitness center on our Harvard Medical School campus. I do circuit training there at least three times a week.
Can you elaborate?
I do a combination of upper and lower [body] strengthening exercises, 10 reps twice. I prefer machines to free weights, because I think they’re safer. I can’t tell you how many injuries I’ve seen in people who aren’t accustomed to using free weights.
When do you normally work out?
Usually first thing in the morning. Or, if I finish an operating session early, I might pop over to the gym then. I also walk my dog a lot. Exercise is extremely important, particularly as you grow older.
Have you always tried to stay fit?
Yes. Back in college, where I also played football, I was introduced to rugby. I played my first rugby game when I was 18 and my last when I was 60. For those intervening years, I had a definite incentive to stay in shape.
Any injuries requiring rehab?
Oh yeah. A few from football and rugby. I also took a nice header on my bike a couple of years ago. Split my helmet and broke two ribs. No head trauma, though.
As an orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine expert, what trends are you seeing in youth sports and fitness these days?
What I’m seeing now is a trend toward more organized youth sports, and sometimes more specialization. No question, in many communities the exercise kids are getting is mostly through organized sports. Free play and general exercise are very important too. But if we’re going to influence kids’ health through organized sports, then we also have to focus on overall fitness and injury prevention. Coaches need to understand that, not just teach football or basketball.
JOSEPH P. KAHN