Saturday, June 26, 2010

All Hail The Warrior Queen

It's been two days since I've been back on my feet post broken leg, but today was the first day I did standing exercises in physical therapy. I'm proud to say that it went really, really well.

I explained to them that I wanted to be challenged and they didn't disappoint. My session ended up lasting more than two hours!

I'm really glad that I've been doing some standing exercises on my own for the past couple of days, so I wasn't too nervous when they asked me to get out of the wheelchair. However, I was a little hesitant when the therapists asked me to do my workout barefoot, explaining that I wouldn't be able to move as well with the AirCast. It really wasn't bad, though. I feared that without the brace, my ankle would be twisting all over the place and I'd break it again, but my leg felt surprisingly stable. Then again, I have plates and screws in it, so I have some extra support there.

Thanks to all of the practice I've had lifting myself in and out of chairs and cars and beds, etc., I was able to pull myself up out of my chair without help -- and the therapists were impressed. They then had me do 50 semi-squats, 50 shifts of weight from one foot to another and 60 marches in place. Those were the most difficult because whenever my good leg came up, all of my weight was on my bad leg. I had to take a couple of breaks during this exercise, but I managed to do 10 extra than they'd asked for.

One of the therapists, Dave, also had me do a bunch of resistance band exercises, which I really liked. He initially had me using a band that had the resistance of 1-2 pounds (the resistance comes from the thickness of the material; it's more "bendy" when the resistance is lower), but it was too easy for me and he gave me the next level up, 3-4 pounds. That was actually kind of easy for me, too, so I'm going to try the next level during my session on Tuesday. But he was pleased to see that I was doing so well and wasn't in too much pain -- and then called me a "warrior," which was cool. I think he appreciated having a patient who was willing to work hard and was enthusiastic about the process. I think it's the A-student in me; a teacher gives me an assignment and I want to do well.

It was frustrating how out of breath I was getting, though, even from just a few minutes of exercises. I don't know if it's because of my weight or because my leg is still so weak and I have to concentrate so hard to move it still. But I pushed through and got everything done. I'll continue to do the same workouts using that railing in our hallway (with Jon spotting me for safety).

One thing I like about these therapists is that they're encouraging, but not pushy to the point that you want to kill them. I never went for the whole drill sergeant thing with teachers or conductors or coaches. I'm just too thin-skinned. But these guys gave me a lot of positive reinforcement and kicked my ass in the process.

All of this is making me wonder if I should work with a personal trainer in the future. My big concern with a trainer is that many don't know how to deal with obese clients. From the few times I've dealt with them and from what I've heard of other overweight people who've worked with them, they tend to underestimate or overestimate their clients' abilities. Back in my beloved gym, I tried out a trainer, but he was too scared to challenge me; I think he was afraid I'd get a heart attack while using the elliptical or something, so I got bored and ended up working out on my own. However, I've also heard many stories of trainers telling obese people to run or do things that can hurt their knees and backs. I'm all for being pushed, but there are safety concerns that come with obesity. I can't even watch The Biggest Loser because my knees hurt just watching these seriously overweight people run on treadmills with the trainers barking at them. Some people go for that, I guess, but I wish we'd see a show where they demonstrated realistic exercises for obese people to do. Maybe I can come up with such a show in the future when I'm in shape.

Anyway, I digress, but it feels good to be back on a regular exercise program, even if my movements are limited for now. It was nice to be told that I'm doing a great job with something physical. After months of being unable to do a lot of stuff, this was just what I needed.

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