Hello everyone. In this post I am delighted to welcome back Lynette Benton, the author of the wonderful blog, StylishOleWoman. Lynette writes about exercise and reminds us that building up muscle is essential as we age especially if we have specific problems with knees and other joints. Over to you, Lynette!
Exercise: It All Started With My Knee
If my husband knew I was about to recount this story, he’d stifle a groan because this true tale, in its full-length form, has become an oft-repeated legend in our home. All it takes to launch me into a retelling is hearing the word snowstorm, fire hydrant, or knee.
Since Penny invited me to write about how I work out with a bad knee, today that word has inspired the story. I’ll keep it brief.
In the winter of 1996, the Boston area where I live seemed to have a sizeable snowstorm every single week. One afternoon, walking back home from our local supermarket in six inches of new snow that was falling on another couple of feet of snow banked up against the curbs, I noticed a car barreling down the steep hill towards me. The woman behind the wheel wore a startled look, as if afraid her vehicle was about to go out of control. I leapt out of her path, into what I thought was a pile of soft snow, but the side of my knee slammed against something hard and immovable. I let out a yelp, glad I was wearing my long, puffy, down coat, which absorbed some of the impact. I managed to get myself up the hill to my house, and days later I realised that under the snow bank I’d jumped into was a fire hydrant.
The knee began to throb. I saw a sports injury doctor who, though unsatisfactory in other ways, gave me some good advice: strengthen the muscles around the injured knee. What he didn’t tell me was that I needed to strengthen those muscles a lot. A few weeks of physical therapy didn’t do the trick. After years of pain from that knee that was so bad that a few times that it was touch and go whether or not I’d be able to get out of my car or make it up the stairs to my apartment, I found out on my own that doing various knee exercises—and avoiding others—eliminated the pain altogether.
Since then, I’ve strengthened my muscles so much that that knee doesn’t give me any trouble at all. After I injured my other knee a year ago, I applied my weight bearing routine to it and it’s doing great. And I do upper body weight training, as well.
I take zumba classes. Who can resist boogying to “I’ve Got the Moves Like Jagger?” I’d always been a good dancer, and zumba is a perfect excuse to dance two or three times a week. I’ve also begun taking classes in NIA (Neuromuscular Integrative Action), which is like a slower zumba. Sometimes, because of other non-knee chronic pain, I only stay in my zumba or NIA class for 20 minutes, but it’s a strengthening, exhilarating 20 minutes.
All it takes to reduce some of our joint and muscle aches, and improve our energy and strength so that everyday tasks are easier, is starting small and then being consistent with our exercising.
Do you have any fitness routines that have made your life easier?
P.S. And the Frugalfashionshopper says that, of course, if you have health issues you check first with your doctor before exercising but my senior’s fitness class is great, I really enjoy it. The key though, as Lynette says, is consistency.
Thank you Lynette for this encouraging post!