Stay in the game!

Former Olympian Michael Klim tells of the healing powers of exercise.

The science you will read about in the Exercise Prescription is what athletes have instinctively known their whole lives. Exercise is not only good for us, it’s life-changing. 

Sometimes injuries from competing get you out of the game. But it’s only exercise (through rehab) that will get you back in the game!

A few years after the Sydney Olympics in 2000, chronic back and shoulder injuries meant I could no longer compete and I retired from competitive swimming in 2007. 

But I never gave up exercise. Exercise helped me through major surgery and it definitely helped my mood.

Group exercise also gives us a sense of community, as we see from the amazing and inspirational cancer swimmers and disability coaches in The Exercise Prescription. In my own life, my swim squad often drove my social world.

On the other hand, exercise can also be used to enjoy the healing power of solitude. I have most of my good ideas in the pool. It’s my place of mindfulness, the go-to place where I know I won’t be bothered. Somewhere I can hone a skill I have known my entire life.

If I have one piece of advice about exercise, it’s mix it up. Your body has its own cognitive learning process. Your muscles remember and adapt. I swim, lift weights, surf, run around with the kids. The more varied the better. Just do it. Because the only bad workout is the one you never did!


Dr Jonathan Herald is a University of Sydney and internationally trained orthopaedic surgeon who has treated some of Australia’s best-known athletes. Before he received his three degrees, including a Master of Sports Medicine, he was a state runner.

Dr Dinesh Choudary is an orthopaedic surgeon based in Chennai, India, who firmly believes in The 3% Solution. “Exercise is just 3% of your day but can add years to your lifetime,” says Dinesh, an avid cricketer and gym addict. 


Dr John Jorgensen specialises in weight loss and is the Director of Bariatric Surgical Services at St George Private Hospital in Sydney, Australia’s highest volume bariatric hospital.

Professor Ian Hickie is an internationally renowned researcher in clinical psychiatry and a leading voice on mental health issues. He was an inaugural commissioner on Australia’s National Mental Health Commission (2012-18) and advocates exercise for brain Neuroplasticity.

Dr Mary Ling is a specialist breast surgeon based on the Central Coast in NSW. “More and more evidence now shows that exercise can reduce the risk of breast cancer and the risk of recurrence, as well as improve quality of life during and after cancer treatment,” she says.


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