Monthly Archives: February 2014

Map My Walk

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I’ve found an app that I have downloaded to my phone called ‘Map My Walk’. It takes your details first of all to personalise it then works out the route you are walking from sat nav., the distance, speed and calories burned. All while, if you wish, playing your iPod to keep you going! Afterwards it asks how your walk was, which gives you just a little opportunity to write a mini journal about where, when, who with – then saves it all.

Accuracy may be a bit off, I’m not sure about that yet, and it’s probably not for the super fit, but for those of us post surgery with arthritis, hip and knee replacements, a bit of weight to lose – and who just want to get a bit fitter, it maps progress so we can see our good and not so good days and offers the opportunity to say why too.

My son has decided to be a changed person. He came for a walk with me 2 days ago and, to be perfectly honest, I thought he was going to be so bored walking at my pace and distance that he would never do it again. He really wants to be out doing things suddenly and team sports are a bit beyond him, but he has certainly taken on what his father said about walking!

Yesterday it rained about walking time. I was rather pleased as I’d decided to try to reduce my pain relief again. Clearly this is not a good plan. With only 3 lots of Tramadol and Paracetamol a day I feel ill – I can barely move, my joints and muscles ache and it feels like a nasty dose of flu. I worry that this means I am dependent, but I can’t focus on anything but the pain. With 4 doses a day I am still in pain, but at least I can move and focus and feel less ill.

I wasn’t sure I would manage today, but I needed to take letters to the post post. I called up to my son and found he already had his boots on ready for a walk! So we put on coats and set the Map My Walk tracker, and off we went. We walked all around the football pitch off the next road to us – somewhere we had never been before. I did make some use of the single bench about half way through for a couple of minutes. While I felt fine setting off again I tired very quickly and it was a trial getting home. I did need my son’t arm. However, we managed 1.56 km in 1/2 hour, according to Map My Walk, we had a long chat about exercise and what things suited different people to do, got some fresh air and saw narcissi, snowdrops, crocuses and irises coming into bloom.

It isn’t much, but judging by my heavy breathing and ‘blooming’ it is quite an effort for me 🙂

Half an hour rest and he’ll be back down for our daily drawing session. Zentangles – but that’s for another day. 

 

The Blue Goddess continued!

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I’ve had 3 sessions now with a private physiotherapist – or physio ‘terrorist’, depending on your point of view. She’s a hard task mistress, but she did accept last Thursday that I might be getting stronger. I hope she’s right because, even though I try to push myself a bit harder every couple of days, I still feel as weak as a kitten most of the time. However, the awful ache I had in my upper back a couple of weeks ago when I started her regime is not now so bad. 

Most of the exercises are familiar and I simply add to them a yoga/Pilates stretch to warm up and similar to cool down…. and I really need to cool down afterwards! 

The routine:

Mountain pose to straighten everything.

Stretch up and bend slowly to either side then with arms raised stretch back and arch.

Roll down with straight legs, step back into downward facing dog then onto knees for pose of a child.

Lie flat on front and start the really hard bit!

Cobra – not an issue when I thought I could rise from hips but was actually rising from legs. When she re taught me holding me down I managed 3. I can now do 10 but only in 2 x 5. This is to try to bend my apparently poker tight lower back, and it really doesn’t want to be bent.

Arms behind and raise upper body pulling shoulders back and hold. I started with 5 and no hold but can now do 20 holding for 10 seconds each – just!

Swim – again this used to be fairly easy until she re taught me. I could do 100 then. However, held down with no roll of the pelvis and lifting slowly I have graduated from 5 (!!) to 50 slowly and with slightly higher raised straight legs than I originally managed. 

On front with toes curled under and keeping hips on the floor (hips in contact with the floor seems to be the key for the majority of these exercises) brace knees back as far as possible and hold for 10 seconds. Again I could do 5 and now I can do 25.

Clams – gradually getting better all the time. Again I was pulling too far and twisting my pelvis. I thought I had to get everything as high as possible – but not at the expense of not doing the exercise properly. As someone said to me down the line, it is fine doing hip replacements and not following up with physiotherapy on elderly ladies who just want to get out of their chair once in a while to make a cup of tea, but on those of us increasingly young who need to get fit again, leaving us to our own devices just makes things worse because we are trying to do exercise with no instruction on doing it correctly. Anyway, without any twist I could do 10 each side and now I can do 50 – and a little higher than they were.

Straight leg raise on side – I couldn’t do these at all but were recently added – I can do 25 (ouch! by 20).

Bridge – again I thought I had to lift high to stretch but she held me down so I was not lifting from my shoulders, only from my lower body. Tighten core and buttocks, lift pelvis keeping upper body on the floor,  lift and hold for 10 seconds. Actually I started with 5 seconds and advanced. I started with 3 and can still only do 10. Perhaps if I return to only holding for 5 seconds I might manage the 20 requested on my exercise sheet.

Straight leg raise on back. Again this was only added last week. I was rather alarmed to find I couldn’t raise my left leg at all. I can now do 10 straight leg raises and 10 bent leg raises with my right leg. With my left leg I can just manage 10 low straight leg raises followed by only 5 bent leg and these hurt enormously.

Lie on floor legs up on bed (or gym ball). Tighten core and lift hips. Hold for 10 seconds. I could do 10 and can now do 25.

There are some standing exercises which are the same as those taught in hospital, but fortunately most of the floor exercises now cover these muscle groups – and a bit more, because standing to exercise is still an issue for my left knee – and increasingly my right knee!

So I end with 5 cat stretches, 5 hip twists to each side (for some reason I recall this being called monkey, but that seems wrong), then a repeat back up – pose of a child, downward facing dog, straight leg bend, upward roll, back stretch arms raised (sun salutation) and collapse!

This all takes me 45 – 60 minutes followed by a hot shower to loosen everything up. It’s just as well I can find time just now because doing these slowly and not feeling rushed is certainly important. Until I’ve done these each morning I am stiff and bent and can barely move.

However, as my physio said last time, it is all very well managing more repeats, but that is no good if you don’t use it. She, and I, would really like me to swim, but the local pool is in town through loads of roadworks and I have only just started driving very short distances again – and it is sore to do so. The roadworks would make it all a major operation, and the pool is cold, busy with school children and generally awful, so there is little incentive to go. I would like to go back to the pool at the private gym around the corner, but there is no pool only package and the fees are astronomical.

So on the very few days when the weather has been any good I have been out for a walk. This is where it gets really hilarious. The first walks with my husband a few weeks ago were 1.4km and then 1.05km. Yesterday with my son we managed 1.284km to the stables down the road and back. It took me half an hour so that is an average speed of 1 1/2 miles per hour. I was exhausted. I think it may be some time before I do any marathons!