Search This Blog

Monday, December 12, 2011

Isokinetic exercise

i·so·ki·net·ic exercise  (s-k-ntk, -k-)
Exercise performed with a specialized apparatus that provides variable resistance to a movement, so that no matter how much effort is exerted, the movement takes place at a constant speed. Such exercise is used to test and improve muscular strength and endurance, especially after injury.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

I first heard the word "isokinetic" at the physical therapist's office where I worked on my left knee. Paul, the therapist, was testing an intern, asking her what it meant. She did not know. I guessed from the name something close to what it means.  In essence, however hard you work, the machine or exercise responds with an equal resistance.

In my present therapist's office is an isokinetic machine hooked up to a seat with a removable leg holder. My leg goes into the holder, is strapped in with a soft padded brace and velcro, and the machine is set. Right now I do eight sets of ten leg lifts using this apparatus. The harder I work the harder it works.  But never beyond what I can handle.

When I am on the stepper - a step machine in which I sit and step in a recumbent position - the machine is also set to "isokinetic". The harder I work the harder it works. So far, from my looks at the gauge, I don't work it particularly hard. But what I seem to get most from that machine is a stretch. I stretch each leg each time I push the step.

Swimming is a type of isokinetic exercise. If you move your arms slowly through the water you encounter a minimum resistance. The faster you move, though, the greater the resistance of the water. This may be one (of many) reasons swimming is such a good all-around exercise for just about everybody. I do wish I liked it more!

Today's therapy went well. I felt better, moved better, and Chuck noticed I was walking better too. Over this past weekend I have felt like I turned a corner. I still have a lot of pain walking much of the time, but I am noticing that more and more often the pain is not centered as much in my knee as in other body parts. My foot. My hip. Perhaps this is because they are adjusting to this new alignment. I still have pain in my knee, particularly in one place, and I just have to ride that out.

No comments: