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Thursday, April 8, 2010

Help with exercise

For years I have resisted going back to a gym, because my experience with the trainers is that they know nothing about arthritis. I would love to do some strength training that will actually help me with my knees, hip, and shoulder, but I don't know what's good and what will simply damage those areas. This may change, though.

A week or so ago I took advantage of an offer a friend had gotten in the mail. We both went to an arthritis seminar at a health club in Arroyo Grande (not far from here). The seminar was led by two physicians from a local hospital, who talked about treatments for knee, hip, and shoulder arthritis. They were surprisingly open about the options, not pushing any particular treatment. Because I had recently read a booklet and watched a video from the Foundation for Informed Medical Decision Making in Boston (a non-profit that gets no funds from any medical industry), I knew that there is no optimal time to have surgery, for example, and that many people do well without it, that treatment is as individual as we are. They even used the term "evidence-based medicine", which is what we all should be using all the time.

One comment got me thinking: one doctor mentioned that the health club has specialized trainers who work with physical therapists to help with pre- and post-operative therapy for patients. My ears perked up. These trainers probably know something about arthritis!

A few days later I got a phone call from the health club, Kennedy Fitness, offering me a four-day pass free. Naturally the reason they sponsored the seminar is that it gave them an opportunity to recruit new members. I said sure, I'd go for it, and the next day I went down to the club nearest me (they have four) to pick up my pass and talk to one of the people there. I asked for a tour and I asked about these specialized trainers. He didn't know much about them but said he'd have the head trainer call me to discuss options.

She didn't call that day or the next but soon I was talking to Clara. She said sure, she could probably help me out. I have an appointment with her today at noon. She will show me exercises that might help with my joints. I will ask her, too, once she sees how I am, what classes I might be able to take as well. I am hopeful, still!

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