Friday, April 30, 2010
Later in the night I had a similar cramp, but much less painful, in my left ankle. It eased on its own.
This morning I did my usual little workout, at the usual levels. I limped into the building and left a little less stiff and in pain, so it did some good. It didn't feel wonderful, especially the bike. I wonder if I should be doing more sets rather than heavier weights. I really need to call Clara and set up an appointment.
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Sunday, April 25, 2010
I am still stiff and often in pain, and I have been taking acetaminophen pm tablets every night on this trip. I think it is the right decision at this time. Too much pain and discomfort just causes too much sleep interruption.
I had hoped to get in some other activities, like a hike or an aqua class, but it is not to be. I leave tomorrow morning. Perhaps I should hit the multigen before I leave. Yes.
Friday, April 23, 2010
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Monday, April 19, 2010
Today I did my second aqua class. Much larger class this time, different teacher, named Karey. Somewhere between a dozen and 20 people, which at times meant I ran into others. We have two long lanes but we can’t spread the whole length because of the differences in depth and because we then would not hear the teacher.
Karey led us through a different set of aerobic exercises and I liked them better than last Friday’s. I felt they were really getting something done and I was having less pain. When we were done I knew I’d done something, yet...I wasn’t as tired as I was last time, or even as tired as I was yesterday.
I took a shower, changed, and knew I was feeling good! Not all better, no pain or anything, but wooo! So much better. I felt stronger and stretched out and in less pain. It seems like a turning point.
I met a couple of fellow passengers this time, both in the locker room and in the pool. I asked about a class a couple of them also take, called “Active”, and they said you do what you can in there, whatever shape you are in. So I figure I am going to give that one a try too.
I woke achey and in pain. My right hip - thigh was hurting, my left calf was feeling that weird arthritis tension and translates into discomfort when standing or walking, my left arm, upper, hurt no matter what I did. I was also not feeling terrifically energetic. I didn't feel much like doing anything.
Nevertheless, I did go do my little workout. I want to be sure this workout stays relatively small or I will start skipping it, is what I suspect. I did the same as Friday, 10 minutes at level 3 on the bike, 50# on the row, 50# on the lat pulldowns, 120# on the leg press. I think I can increase the lat pulldowns next time. Just a wee bit. I am still using my right hand to bring it down to where I can grasp it with my left without pain.
I left the gym not really any more energetic than before. I did some errands, including going to the farmers' market that takes place in the parking lot right there at the gym, and came home to vegetate. As the day wore on I got up a few times to do this or that and felt better toward the end of the day than I had at the beginning. But I felt sleepy and went to bed early. This isn't such a wonderful idea in general - I woke several times, read, went back to sleep. I am sure I got enough sleep but I think it would be better if I kept myself up longer to begin with.
Today I will be doing the aqua workout for the second time. I got myself some water shoes and sunscreen so will be better prepared. I don't feel like I have the energy for it, but I will just do it.
Friday, April 16, 2010
Today I went back to the gym to do my regular little workout. Ten minutes at level 3 on the bike, and the others the same as last time. This time I headed for the steam room afterwards. I had been feeling not all that energetic and quite stiff, and I thought the steam might be helpful. It did feel good, the hot white cloud obliterating all vision, a bit frightening actually.
After completing a few errands I came home and lay around, feeling stiff, tired, and achey. I took a bit of a nap in the middle of the day.
I am now still stiff, achey, tired. I may just turn in soon. Tomorrow I will not go to the gym.
It has been just over a week now.
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Last night I had something similar to cramps in my right calf, actually close to the ankle. A tight, painful feeling that intensified when I stood on that foot. I managed to limp my way into the bathroom and turn on the shower. I stayed in there a while, with hot water on the leg, until it finally eased up. After that no further issues.
This morning I am feeling some back pain. Lower back. I am stiffer than usual today. I am chalking it up to the exercises, minor though they may be, and will be paying attention as time goes on to whether I adjust or not.
Monday, April 12, 2010
Sunday, April 11, 2010
Last night I had leg cramps. First my right inner thigh, then my left foot, then my left inner thigh. Excruciating. It felt like forever before they eased and I worried that after I got settled in bed it would happen again (this has happened in the past) but it didn't. It seems that the best I can do for such cramps is to get into a hot shower but it is too difficult even to step one foot on the floor when I am in that pain. Sometimes when it is easing off a little I can limp into the shower and take it from there.
I suspect the bike but it could have been something else that was worked yesterday, like the leg press. I expect these cramps did indeed come from my little workout, and I expect that my muscles will adjust and I won't have this kind of pain after a while.
Saturday, April 10, 2010
I started with the recumbent bike. I set it at the same seat distance as last time but realized immediately that my left leg as a lot stiffer than it was last Thursday. Yesterday I did a very small hike but it was probably enough to set off that joint.
After about three minutes that knee seized up suddenly. It didn't actually "seize" but it went into a sudden sharp pain. I had to stop immediately. I pushed the seat back farther and tried again. That took care of the problem and felt good enough that I continued until I had done ten minutes on it, and I kept it at level 2. My workout calls for five minutes but of course ten is better if I can handle it.
Next was the rowing machine. I wasn't sure I chose the right machine but I think so. I did the fifteen reps slowly, cleaned it off and headed for the next. Next, lateral pulldowns. I pulled them down with my right hand to the level where I could grab with my left without pain. I noticed that I tended to use one arm or the other to do all the work sometimes. I think I need to be careful about using both evenly.
The last machine as the leg press. I had to push the seat all the way back to get my legs up there. I wasn't remembering exactly how to do it at first, but then it came back. I took it slowly and I think it went well too.
After the machines there was the window and wall, the arm stretches and the calf stretches. I found that 30 seconds was as much as I wanted to handle on all of those. Each of those, I should say.
I wasn't particularly sweaty but I took a shower and changed so I'd be presentable at Trader Joe's, where I wanted to pick up some groceries. The gym is very close to TJ's so it makes sense to schedule them together when I need to shop.
I feel good now. I think this is the right thing to be doing.
Thursday, April 8, 2010
While she was asking me about the pain she jotted notes about what exercises she thought would be good and she drew conclusions about what was going on with me in different areas. As we walked up the stairs she went behind me so she could see how I walk. She noticed my severe pronation, of course, and the fact that I am not standing or walking straight. Understandable, of course, because I am trying to adjust to the pain and difficulties of the arthritis. But she had ideas for how to strengthen what I need to compensate for the arthritis damage.
I tried a recumbent bike, then a standard one, and I noticed that I had less pain with the recumbent, so I'll go with that. Then I tried various exercises using Nautilus machines, and last she showed me a couple of things I can do at home with a window sill and a wall. My routine at this time:
Recumbent bike: 5 minutes, level 1 - 3
Row: 25#, 1 X 15 reps
Lat pulldown: 50#, 1 X 15 reps
Leg press: 120# with band around knees, 1 X 20 reps
Walk with band around knees, keep from slipping
Doorway or window: chest stretch - 30-60 sec, 1 - 2X/day each side
Calf stretch against a wall - 30 - 60 sec, 1 - 2X/day each side
She suggested I start out doing this twice a week and work up. She is going to call me Monday to see how I am doing, and we go from there. If I join - and at this point I am sure that I will join - I will get two more sessions free, then will have to pay for individual training from time to time.
When we were done she said she had to revise her plan as we went, because her assumptions were not necessarily correct, and that this may actually be easier than she thought at first. I am really hopeful.
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Exercising with Arthritis: Aquatic Therapy
This is a guest post by Genevieve Lawrence, representative from http://www.Hydroworx.com.
If you are suffering from arthritis, you may enjoy a love/hate relationship with exercise. No doubt you have been told that exercise will help improve your situation in some of the following ways:
* Exercise will help keep you at a healthy weight and reduce pressure from your joints.
* Moderate exercise will help keep the muscles and surrounding tissues strong to improve support for your bones.
* Keeping moving helps reduce painful inflammation and protect your joints from further damage.
But when exercise is agonizing and it may take some time to see the results, it can be difficult to embark on a fitness program. Even though the potential benefits over the short and long term may be huge, the effort is difficult and painful as stiff joints slow you down. One way to make exercise a more enjoyable and effective experience is to start a water-based exercise program. Simply the pressure of the water alone can help decrease swelling and increase circulation!
Aquatic therapy provides many benefits that traditional exercises may not to an arthritic individual. Because of the low-impact environment that water creates, it is an ideal and safe place to gently exercise joints and muscles. The water supports joints, encourages free movement and also acts as a gentle resistance to help improve muscle strength. By being shoulder-high in water, you will have reduced the percentage of your body weight that is acting on your joints down to 10%!
There are many different methods for water exercise, from water aerobics to more condition-specific treatments that use a specialized rehab pool or swim spa. These exercises include range of motion exercises and a gentle cardiovascular exercise. A therapeutic swim spa or pool can be used to warm and massage stiff and aching joints and decrease swelling. You may find one of these at a gym, rehabilitation center, or may be purchased for in home use. There is even a water treadmill for those who like the motion of walking but want to drastically reduce the impact on joints.
There are some precautions and items to consider before embarking on any aquatic exercise program:
* You may need help getting in and out of a spa or pool. Take that into consideration when looking into both public and private pools for aquatic exercise. There are pools and pool equipment specifically design to make access easier. Look for these when considering where you want to exercise.
* Always consult a doctor before starting a new exercise program. If you have any other health conditions that may make an aquatic exercise program less than ideal for you, they will be able to let you know in advance.
* Check the temperature of the pool. Ideal conditions for comfortable exercise are between 83 and 88˚ F according to the Arthritis Foundation. Water that is too cold may not impart the same benefits and too hot water may cause dizziness or nausea.
Finding the right water exercises for you can also be fun! Check with your local health facilities and see what programs they offer. They may not only have the facilities, but also may have groups and classes where you can work out with others, making exercising a fun social activity. Once you find a suitable location, you will find that aquatic therapy is a relaxing and enjoyable way to relieve the pain and stress associated with arthritis.