Wednesday, May 15, 2013

A Trophy for Atrophy?

Every morning when I wake up, I can feel the reminder of the previous day's physical therapy exercises, my entire lower body feels like it has been through a war, and it makes me feel like I need some rest.  Since my knee has been feeling so much better, and my time off is starting to lessen, I am having a hard time reigning myself in from trying to tackle the world.  So each morning before I get the kids on the bus, I plan out what I think my body can handle.  I was going to take a day of rest yesterday, but the beautiful weather had me out walking for more than an hour.  That walk made my hip and heel hurt tremendously, and I still had to go to work, where I was standing 100% of my 2 hour shift.  Despite taking 2 ibuprofen before work, I was in pain when I got home.  I did my physical therapy and added a couple stretches for my foot.  This morning, the foot felt a little better, but my whole lower body was sore, so once again, I decided that I really should rest a little.  Then I changed my mind, thinking that a bit of time in the pool would probably be therapeutic for my hip.  To be honest, other than during physical therapy exercises, my knee feels so good that I don't even think about it anymore.  That is so amazing!  So I was in the pool a little less than a half hour when the pool began to fill up with people, and I realized a class was about to start.  I thought to myself, what the heck!  I was wondering about this class anyway, I might as well try it out.  I figured it would be a half hour class, and that would be a perfect amount of time in the pool for one day.  All of the elderly, chatty ladies introduced themselves and made a big deal that there was a "new student".  My how formal, I thought.  This was starting to feel like some kind of club that I had sneaked into by mistake.  The first twenty minutes of class consisted of stretches and pool walking, which I had just done by myself before the class began.  Then we moved into using empty bleach containers to simultaneously keep us afloat and act as weights (OK, confession, it was kind of hard to push the empty bottle under the water with one hand and not let it pop back up.) This was followed by a bunch of squirrely moves likes swinging your legs about and doing water jumping jacks and such.  The instructor was a funny thing, she insisted that people face front while in her "class", yet she would yell out the next thing we were supposed to do, then begin talking to someone instead of doing it herself.  Minutes would go by, and I was moving twice as fast as most of the class, who seemed to have stopped to chat with one another as well, and then the instructor would realize she was talking for 5 minutes and change to the next absurd move.  The most insulting thing about being in this class is that there were people watching from both the sauna and the weight room, young, fit people, and one girl was laughing at us.  It was more than a little humiliating.  40 minutes in and I wanted to get out of the water like nobody's business, but I knew it would cause a big scene and possibly insult the instructor.  My fingers  were severely wrinkled, one of the things I tolerate THE LEAST in this world, making shivers run throughout my entire body.  After an hour, we "cooled down" with some stretches and breathing exercises.  By the time I got out of the locker room, I felt like a wrinkled, chlorine sachet.  I had just enough time to get home to shower, eat and leave for my physical therapy appointment.
Today was my last appointment for physical therapy, a graduation of sorts.  To be fair, I could have been done last week, the way my knee is doing so well, but I really like my physical therapist, and she has given me a lot of extra tips and tricks on strengthening my hips and legs so I don't have such a high risk of re-injury or other injuries down the road.  Today she had me do stationary lunges and a move called egg crushers, where you stand on a step with one leg over the side, and keep your body and leg straight, bending only the knee on the step to lower the other leg to the point where it is low enough to crush an egg).  I was amazed at how weak my leg muscles are!  And because she told me I have weak hips (and that an overwhelming majority of people do, which leads to a lot of knee issues if not corrected) I have been extra aware of them, especially when doing things like lunges, if the knee has a tendency to turn in when you are doing a lunge, it is a sign of weak hip or quad muscles.  Back when I used to do lunges, I know one leg had a tendency to turn or fold in, and that is the one where my hip is weak and hurting.  Funny enough, it isn't the leg I had the knee issue with.  But I know I will have knee problems if I don't strengthen that hip, so that will be a goal of mine.
She gave me the OK to get back into the gym and do leg presses, but with the way my current PT exercises make my lower body feel, I think it might be a while before I need to train my legs at the gym.  How quickly the muscle atrophies when it's not being used!  One good thing I am finding out is that a lot of the issues I am having with my hips and heels are correctable by simple stretching and strengthening exercises.  I've just incorporated them right into my PT so that I make sure to keep up with them.
Food is on track, scale dropped a little, but not more than a pound, weather is beautiful and I am feeling so good!
Hope you are having a great week!

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