Fittest Executive Checkup with Joan Collins

Thirty top-level professionals are competing in the first annual Fittest Executive Challenge, presented by In Business magazine. Who will earn the healthiest marks? Find out at the In Business Expo & Conference on Oct. 17.

This week, IB checks in with Joan Collins, president of Joan Collins Publicity.

Category: Fittest Executive – Women Over 50

Guess what? We fitness nuts aren’t indestructible.

I have always prided myself on being injury free. Even playing intense singles tennis several times a week for many years, I have never had tennis elbow, shoulder problems, or knees that hurt. No serious accidents on or off the court. Indestructible and proud of it.

One tennis opponent many years younger than I dubbed me “The Energizer Bunny Gone Wild.” I loved this compliment. My motto has always been “a body in motion stays in motion.”

Then it happened. A Big, Bad, Bicycle Accident in February. Black and blue, swollen, from shoulder to fingertips, hip, leg and more. The worst was a broken elbow that required surgery and being put back together with a 5-inch nail. Yes, I was wearing a bike helmet (otherwise I might not be writing this right now).

Here’s what I learned, the hard way (yes, the surface I landed on was concrete).

1. Think you are indestructible? Get over it. I convinced myself that this could not be happening to me. I waited three days to go to urgent care. Big, huge mistake. By then the swelling and damage intensified. Do yourself a big favor and go immediately.

2. Read your health insurance policy and know exactly what is covered and what isn’t. If you are out of your provider area (which I was) and need to have surgery, understand the out-of-pocket costs.

3. Do the physical therapy religiously, even when you don’t feel you are making one bit of progress. The final outcome is so much better. It takes patience and persistence.

4. Don’t get too freaked out and give up the sport that caused the accident. Getting back on my bicycle three months later was not easy, but I knew I wasn’t about to give up commuting by bike.

Besides a broken elbow and other complications, I also tarnished my ego. But I have learned to be much more considerate of others with injuries. I always thought icing after playing a sport was for sissies and “just play through the pain” was the solution.

The Big, Bad Bicycle Accident convinced me even more how important it is to get back in the game and ride on. Being active and energized is the best way to live.

Meet all of the competitors here, then vote for your favorite to win the “Readers’ Choice” awards on Twitter @ibmadison #FittestExec.

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