Learning to Listen to My Body

Since I wrote the post about going to spinning class to get around my right knee which is aggravated by arthritis, I have had a new development: the left knee is gone too! By gone, I mean it is severely hindered by osteoarthritis. I found knees are just like headlights, when one blows, the other is close behind.

I am still learning to work around this inconvenience. Admittedly bullheaded, I am not going to give up and I plan to keep exercising even if I have to go in a wheelchair. Over the weekend, on Saturday, I did my usual workout, which included walking 30 minutes on the track and on Sunday, I did a walking tour of the Atlanta History Center, plus I made a trip to Costco, which is huge, and last night I did 4 hours worth of housework. This doesn’t sound like too much to me, but today my leg was feeling it and didn’t want to be pushed much further after the activity this weekend.

I took a spinning class last week as you may have read, and loved it! It rather wiped me out but in a good way. The worst obstacle about the spinning class is that I wasn’t wearing bicycle shorts designed to protect those vulnerable private areas. Right now, because the circumstances have changed, so I don’t know how far I can push my body. Already I can tell, that I have to be a lot more alert to my body when I go in to workout from here on out. Moving a little bit slower and more cautiously, I had an easy time of the machines and free weights. My floor exercises though, were a little bit more touchy; it’s harder to be on all floors with your knees into the mat while doing donkey kicks. Sorry for the visual. =)

Bicycle Simulator

Today I made 5 or 6 laps around the track, walking more slowly that normal. Awareness to my body let me know that my right knee was not up to doing the track today. The bicycles for the spinning class are off limits unless there is an instructor in there; so I tried a relatively new piece of equipment: an Expresso Bicycle Simulator.

This may prove even better than spinning class for me. It is less abrasive and bicycle shorts aren’t needed. You can choose your course, level of difficulty and scenery, it even has music, but I have my own. The glass cockpit display even has people riding along with you on the course. Today I pedaled on something that looked like a race track and did 2 miles, then I pedaled along the coast on a course which had a slight climbing gradient for the first 1/3 of it. I like the simulator because it tells you your speed, your heart rate, how many calories you’ve burned, how much further you have to go and all kinds of things.

Before too long my heart rate was up and I was huffing and puffing and working up a sweat. I didn’t complete the second ride, I stopped 1.5 miles out of completion because my knee had had enough.  I did 4 miles altogether for a total of 27 minutes; which isn’t bad for someone who walks as carefully as an 85 year old woman. Again, I am listening to my body to see what I can do; I guess in the same way you perk your ears up when you are driving an old car, hoping that it doesn’t break down on you.

I am truly trying to learn how to deal with the obstacle of arthritis, because I am young at heart although I know I’m not a marathoner, nor do I want to be; I don’t like the idea that I can’t do a 1 mile “Fun Run” or play tennis except gently and maybe on rare occasions. Every time I do something, I have to consider how much I may have left in my knee; kind of like planning a trip with your gas tank. “How far can I go on what I have?” Listening to your body can help preserve it while still allowing you to exercise. It seems like a lot more effort than taking exercise for granted. At least I am not competing with anybody, for I happily let those other bike riders on the simulator just pass me by.

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About Northside Class of '74

Northside Highschool Class of 74: https://www.facebook.com/groups/682629645087315/ and we are also on www.classmates.com
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