From our patient letter  "Pain Free News"

Last updated on January 27, 2021

I love this photo of Ernest Hemingway and his first wife Hadley Richardson with their son Jack. It was taken in 1925 before he wrote his first novel and became well known.

A time when they were, to quote the man himself  "...very poor and very happy".

That winter they had moved out of Paris to stay in search of cheap warm accommodation. They ended up in the small Austrian town of Shruns. They both loved skiing, and there were slopes close by.

In those days there were no lifts in Shruns. So to ski, you had to climb up the mountain first. Skiers would spend all day trekking on foot to Alpine huts. Then they would ski down the following morning.

It was gruelling. You had to climb a mountain carrying your skis, and a heavy rucksack with all your food and other supplies.

But according to Hemingway, there was one advantage.

The strength in your legs from all the climbing protected you. They went through the whole winter with no injuries. Despite skiing in a wilderness with no prepared pistes or marked runs, they stayed safe.

As Hemingway put it " Anything you ran down from, you had to climb up. That gave you legs that were fit to run down with."

It's simple logic, but it makes sense. Strong muscles will protect you from all sorts of adversity.

Philip Hambly