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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

It's been a while

It's funny how common these machines have become. The machine on the left is a hip abductor-adductor machine. I use the abductor part, pushing my legs from closed to wide open.  The machine is open in that pic, about as wide as I am able to push it actually. I use it to help my hips, which have arthritis, to strengthen them so that I do not feel as much pain from the joint disintegration.

The first gym I joined was Jack LaLanne's, in Alhambra, California or somewhere near there, in the late sixties, early seventies. It had, along with various machines, one of those belts that were supposed to jiggle the fat off you, and the trainer recommended a high-protein, high-fat diet - was Jack the first to promote that? I tried it and lost weight but felt so weighed down I gave it up. I did not feel healthy, just a little thinner. I've been in and out of gyms since then.  I have been on this current kick since April and am making less frequent posts about it now that I have settled into a routine and not a lot changes.

I have noticed recently that I am having hip pain less often. I used to feel it almost every time I got out of bed in the morning, and definitely every time I walked down the hall after getting dressed. Less so now, and less so throughout the day. That machine up there may in part be a reason. I also do simple "clamshell" exercises every morning and every night, and in our Aqua classes we often do things that require that I open and close my legs similarly. I think it's all adding up.

My knees, not so much. Still stiffen when I sit for a few minutes, still cause pain when I walk more than a short distance. It is hard to see any difference. "Alignment, alignment, alignment," says the physical therapist. And the alignment of my knees is where there is so much damage it is hard for me to imagine that I can make a marked change through exercise alone. But I am trying to do so.

I met with the physical therapist for the first time July 21. He suggested that I come back after two months. So in about three weeks I will see if there have been any measurable changes.

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