A few years ago, I had the pleasure to work with Letty. She had a knee problem and when she talked to me, she was ready to have surgery! She said, “I just want it done and I want a quick recovery!” I explained to her that most of the time those things like surgery and “quick” don’t usually work together.
Surgery is a major step and once our body; muscles, bones and fascia gets cut into it takes time for the tissue to normalize. No one here heals like the Wolverine… Sometimes we deal with stiffness for 6 months to even a year after having surgery, if it was successful in the first place.
Letty was struggling with a prior knee surgery that she had when she was in her 20s, now at 75 she was on a downward spiral, having pain in her back, knees and lower legs. She described to me that her greatest fears were that she would have another surgery and it wouldn’t correct the problem.
She had already lost the ability to travel with her family and she was limited at home to walking less than two blocks. She would get tired AND have pain! She didn’t want to be the excuse for missed family vacations or taking away opportunities for her husband to experience life. Her greatest fear was missing out on her grandchildren’s lives, sporting events and general activities.
We talked about her activity level and it was obvious that she hadn’t been using the problem knee to its full capacity for years and a lot of her issues were from CONSISTENT INACTION.
Letty is just like all of us, if she doesn’t know what to do then she likely won’t do anything and that is a huge problem. “If you don’t use it you lose it!”
She has gotten so weak over the last few years that she is having balance problems as soon as she tries to take a step. She told me,“I’m never sure which knee is going to be ready first so I just wait until one feels ready.”
Her doctor told her that she just needs to have surgery and she will start moving again but for most people in her situation, they are so weak that after the surgery they don’t change their activity level, even though the pain isn’t as significant.
When we first met, it was obvious that she could be helped by targeting an exercise program that would take stress off her knees and transfer it to other parts of the body that aren’t being used because of old injuries, pain and/or bad habits. There was a lot to work on and she was motivated!
In a matter of weeks we had her standing up straight, walking without her cane and going up the stairs!
All that stuff wouldn’t have been possible without her commitment level and the tie that she had wanted to get back to travelling with her family.
The simple things came back first. She told me, “This may sound silly but I was able to do all my grocery shopping without taking a break or icing down afterward. It has been two years since I have done that.”
I’m the last one to think something like that is silly!!
What most people who have never dealt with pain don’t realize is how debilitating it can be and the simple things that we often miss out on. Getting back to the grocery store for Letty is having the ability to be the mother again that she has always been and taking care of the family like she did in the past. She was slowly getting her life back and she deserved every bit of the success she had.
Now, I see her every few months to check in and make sure she continues to stay on the same path, using all the right muscles and not neglecting her body for any length of time. She is happier now than she was in her 50s, all because she ACTED on finding the right direction and stayed consistent to her program so she could continue to make consistent progress.
The reality is that we need rest to a point and we take days off but there is something that never takes a day off and it will catch up to us no matter what.. Gravity.
We are playing a game and the goal is to put as much distance as possible between the effect of gravity on our body and the amount of strength we have to avoid it. The old saying that we can’t escape death and taxes should have the addition of gravity to it because if we aren’t working against gravity and getting stronger then we are letting gravity slowly take us down.
“If You Don’t Use It You Lose It But If You Consistently Use It Then You Won’t Lose It.”
It’s easy to flip that around and realize that we can make progress very quickly on our body if we are working on the “right” areas and continuing to progress ourselves so that we never become complacent.
You are never too old to get started and if you think you might want to wait you are likely putting yourself in a bigger hole than what you’re in currently.
Do yourself a favor, find someone in your area that knows the body and commit to getting your’s stronger in the correct ways. Never focus on your weight or aesthetics in front of your function and comfort/ease of movement.
Get Active and Stay Mobile,