Originally Posted by BenRias
As a chef, do you feel your overall health is hindered or assisted by the chef lifestyle? Is the constant motion enough to be a good workout for the day? Do you need to take extra steps to workout to stay fit? Have any of you felt a premature decline in your mobility...like shoulder or wrist pains?
I know this seems an odd question, but I have never heard this discussed. I am sure everyone's experiences vary, but I can't help but think the constant motion actually helps overall health.
I'm 67 years old. My first paying job cooking was 51 years ago. For many years, I was the lead chef in my late wife's very successful catering operation. This was in addition to my own profession, which required minimal physical activity. I have had carpal tunnel surgery and two C5, C6, C7 discectomy/laminectomy spinal surgeries. The neurosurgeon attributes all the problems to repetitive motion, concrete floors, working under fatigue and duress, and the slicing/dicing posture that requires the head being bent forward and down to clearly view the work. I've dealt with L4, L5 herniated discs and sacroiliac dysfunction, all related to hours spent endlessly on concrete kitchen floors. And, I'm still considered by my peers to be a jock. Other than recuperative times, recovering from surgery, I've always spent significant time in the gym every day. I've used the best personal trainers and physical therapists for decades. I know how to exercise and rehab. The fact is, cooking professionally is hard physical labor, usually in an environment that is overheated, noisy, and laden with stress. I don't think anyone anyone who spends 12 hours on a concrete floor, performing repetitive motions, including plenty of heavy lifting, is going to escape numerous physical problems.
Like Chef Ed, for whom I have sincere respect, I got bored and lately began farming myself out to a couple of caterers. I enjoy being active again, but it's a rare morning when I don't arise feeling stiff and sore at every joint. Of course, age is a factor, but the environment and activity of the kitchen, I'm quite certain, is far more a causal factor. It's a trade-off. I accept the pain so I can enjoy the horsepower of the kitchen.
And, to answer the initial question, do you do have to take extra steps, besides what goes on in the kitchen, to stay in shape? Yes, absolutely, unequivocally.
I also think it's absolutely imperative to establish a healthy personal eating regimen. How many of us have taken the majority of our caloric intake by literally eating kitchen scraps?