A former runner in his 20s and 30s, he was now 64, forty pounds heavier, taking anti-hypertensive medication. Unfortunately, he was told to find something other than running to lose weight. That recommendation took its toll on his perspective–but the fact remained, he still needed to exercise.
Being a runner myself, I had to try to put on “his shoes.” It would hurt me–if I were unable to do something I’ve always enjoyed. Yet as I have discussed in previous posts, I now know there is more to fitness than just one routine. It really does take a village.
“Do I really need this crap?” (I’m paraphrasing) He asked me this once we completed our walk on the trail, and while I demonstrated variations on plank position. “I can do the dumbbell work. But I don’t see the point in this ‘bear your own weight’ crap.”
The nurse in me doesn’t easily acquiesce to demanding males–primarily because of my experience with physicians (I’ve met my share of demanding female ones too). They don’t walk on H20, and while they may head the team, they are still part of one. However, the trainer in me is a little more understanding–especially because of the clientele with which I work. “Well I guess not.” “Good,” he shot back, and started towards his Jeep. “Unless…” He continued his pace without turning. “you’d like assistance everytime you want to put on your pants. How do you feel about toileting yourself? Cleaning yourself afterwards? Did you want to continue to do these independently, or pay someone to do them for you?” These questions seemed to halt his trek back to his SUV.
Weight bearing, like range of motion exercises, are part of “the essentials” for activities of daily living. Most of us take for granted the ability to sit on a toilet, take care of our needs, then get up. Do you realize how much joint action as well as ROM is required for this? Dressing yourself can be a workout of epic proportion; even if slightly impaired. Ask anyone who has suffered traumatic brain injury, stroke, or living with arthritis. See what they have to say.
We all take independence for granted. As Americans, we believe it is a right. However, most of us realize freedom–as well as independence–isn’t free. Maintaining an independent lifestyle requires due diligence, just like freedom.
So what happened with my client? We sat down for nice long “heart to heart.”
“You really do need this ‘bear your own weight’ crap,” I said. And just like him, I didn’t paraphrase either.
What is the current thought regarding weight-bearing and stretching exercises–even if you are arthritic? Do it–but there are certain types which are better than others. Take a look at http://arthritisconnect.com. Check out yoga for arthritis. As always, check with your medical professional first.
Like your ability to sit, then stand at will? Want to maintain that? Add a few squats (start with 5-10) to your routine. A kitchen chair will do for this: Hold your arms straight out in front of you. Pretend you want to sit; but don’t do it. “Sit” then stand.
Want more of a challenge? Same kitchen chair required. Hold your arms straight out in front of you. Cross one leg over the other; foot on opposite knee, forming a figure “4” with your legs. Squat then raise. How about a little upper body work now?
Your equipment? You guessed it–that same chair. You want to avoid slippery surfaces for this exercise. Face seat of chair. With hands on opposite sides of the seat, assume a plank/push-up position. Start with 5-10 of these.
Need more ideas? Help getting started? Limited mobility? Always check with your physician for recommendations first. Then call me.
Questions? Comments? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org