Listen to Your Body

Dan Heine
Dan Heine
As “maturing athletes,” we sometimes do physical things that we would avoid if only we had “listened to our body.” Just ask tennis friend Dan Heine.

I had first heard/read that philosophy when I was an avid runner (4-5 miles a day) and I believe it was in a book by Dr. George Sheehan. The major point was: Do not listen to your MIND and go out to run when you THINK you should; but listen to your body and if it tells you not to go, do not go.

Dan’s Story

Dan Heine is an excellent player who is now retired from his career as a bank President and living mostly in Naples. At the end of the Florida “season” when the weather was getting hotter and more humid, he was really feeling extreme exhaustion – and in fact, quit playing a doubles match one week and a singles match with me after only one set.

A couple of us suggested to Dan that it was more than dehydration and he should have his heart checked out by a doctor. He did and they found that two of three of his main heart arteries had 90+% blockage!

Dan said, “I was feeling extremely fatigued shortly after the first set each time I played and thought it was lack of conditioning or hydration. The more I played the more my legs and tennis game was affected; I just knew something was wrong. Fortunately, I went to see my Doctor where I passed all his tests and an EKG, but flunked a Stress EKG, which indicated “multiple blockages”, according to the Cardiologist. I was a “walking time bomb” he tells me and checked me in to the NCH Heart Institute where I could not have received better care and the beginning of playing tennis again with my wonderful friends.

They were able to avoid open-heart, bypass surgery and have implanted one stent and are going back in another month to implant the second one.

Dan said, “It is really gratifying to receive the outpouring of good wishes from my tennis playing buddies. It shows what a great sense of community we have.

I told him: It is really great for you to be around to RECEIVE that outpouring of good wishes!”

So, do you Listen to Your Body?

If you are not on my “new posting alert email list” and want to be (I promise, no other uses of your email address!), just drop me a note at

My Book: and if you’d like to get a copy of “Senior Tennis”, just click on the link on the upper right of this web page.

6 thoughts on “Listen to Your Body

  1. George. As I reside in my senior years (70), I now have different goals for my tennis than I had in the 45’s, 50’s, 55’s etc. My main goal now basically is to simply keep playing! And, it doesn’t get any easier, that’s for sure.
    When you say, “listen to your body”, it is so true. Our bodies are now like old cars. As
    long as you drive the old car the same way everyday, it will keep going. But, take it
    on a long, grueling trip and it probably will break down.
    The same with our bodies. As soon as we push it past our comfort zone (usually by
    playing in a tournament where the “will to win” takes over), we are almost asking
    for trouble. Playing 2 days in a row, then resting a day works for me. And (I never
    thought I’d say it), I can now see why doubles is the choice of senior players.
    Again, always getting back to my main goal. KEEP PLAYING!

    Joe – and like with the old car, you have to listen for the small signs of breakdown! thanks. george

  2. George another excellent topic and very close to home for me. In 2004 on vacation in Wilmington N.C. playing singles with Swanny I came off the court and felt a little tired but in a different way than normal. Judy worked for a cardiologist and scheduled me for a stress test. Same thing as Dan I did not pass the test. I went to the cath lab the same day and had a stent inserted into the LAD which was 95% blocked. This off course saved my life as that is the artery called the widow maker. Listen to your body by all means!!

    Phil – and i for one am very glad that you did! coming to NE? george

  3. HI George, fantastic post! This is an important message that I wanted to be sure and share with my tennis friends. I cut and posted the URL but I am hoping one day you might add a “like” button so I can share on Facebook and or Twitter. You might find someone on Fivver that could add for you? Any how LOVE LOVE the great blog you have! Christine

    Christine – tks for the + feedback (it help make the time spent worthwhile). fyi, i am on FaceBook and you can LIKE there; but your idea is a good one. thanks, george

  4. I also have a similar story to tell. I felt a tightness in my chest in a singles match in May of 2004 and ignored the warning. I passed it off to allergies just REAL DUMB huh? I found out later that was called angina.
    If that wasn’t stupid enough 2 weeks later I was playing singles and couldn’t finish . I went home and was in real distress for an hour or so. Once again I marked it off to allergies BEYOND DUMB!
    A week later I went in to a new doctor and she did an EKG and knew something was wrong.I was sent to the hospital and the next morning had 2 stints put in my body. I was teaching 25-30 hours a week and the cardiologist said if I hadn’t been in such good shape for a guy in such bad shape I most certainly would have died. I will always listen to my body from here on out!!!

    PS My doctor always uses me as the example as dumbest patient

    Ron – thanks for your story and congrats on being around to tell it! george

  5. George, Good advice. Probably best to have a “standard stress test” BEFORE getting too involved in competitive sports ESPECIALLY AT OUR AGES!

Comments are closed.