You might also like

Friday, January 26, 2018

Strength and balance; strength and balance


I belong to a Lifestyles Gym, which is part of the great octopus system of Cleveland Clinic. Since they have added close to adequate handicapped parking, I like it much more. Long ago I wondered why youngsters who came to run miles on an indoor track parked in the front row and let the rest of us struggle from a half mile out.

In addition to belonging to the gym, I use a trainer. Dedicated folks show up and work out. Without a trainer, I wouldn’t do it. No interest, except my clinical one of mentally stepping back and observing “Oh, look, I can do that now!” Walk without falling, for example.

Kristen was my trainer for a year before the skull fracture and a year after. We worked on strength and balance. I cannot put together a description of loss of balance. Slip, don’t fall. That’s balance. 

I remember a favorite therapist telling me that walking is butt out, stomach in, shoulders back, chin up, eyes ahead, shift weight from side to side. And her with that three inch belt around me to keep me up. Or the first time I got up on a rocker board and nearly ripped off the therapist’s shirt, in spite of the belt.

And last, synapses. Connecting to the brain I can describe. Years ago my oldest daughter struggled with that beautiful run in Beethoven’s Für Elise. “Practice, practice, practice. Over and over and over. Your fingers and brain become one.” Regaining balance is regaining strength, and the connection to the brain.

Over our two years, Kristen earned her graduate degree in cardiopulmonary rehab, and moved on to a Lifestyles specialist unit. I have a new trainer, Greg. Kris and I were a little lazy toward the end. I don’t have Greg trained yet. And, he’s young enough to be a grandchild. But, I’ll make it.

One side
Kris was equipment oriented. Greg is prone to calisthenics. He reminds me of calisthenics classes in college, and I could hang from the top bar more than long enough for the instructor to demonstrate keeping arms at right angles, legs parallel to the floor and count down from one hundred, ninety nine, ninety eight…..

Two thirds the way to the other side
Both of them walk a lot. It’s a big gym. Kris liked the equipment style on one side and the pull down station a thousand feet away. Back and forth. I teased her she was getting in her steps. Greg likes the half wall on the same side and the pull down station on the other. It’s all the same. Walk, walk, walk. Work, work, work.

Friday is gym day. It was toward the end, and Greg had me doing planks. They’re what they sound like. Hands on something about knee high (I hope never again in my life to do this from the floor!), walk backward until tip toes only between life and death, lean on bent arms and become a plank, as in board.

One minute, walk back up, rest, repeat. Sets of three. On the third one Greg said “Just go until you burn out.” I was so startled I nearly lost it, and did stand up. “Burn out means until you can’t do it anymore.”


21 comments:

  1. I would have to have a trainer, someone to be responsible to, to be able to go through that!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hari OM
    I used to be a gymnast; quite a serious floor dancer and barre tumbler. That was some fifty years ago. I left it there.

    I admire your continuing even with a trainer Joanne!!! YAM xx

    ReplyDelete
  3. He didn't specify about whether you were shooting for mental or physical burnout. I'm sure he'll be more specific next time. It is almost like he thinks he's training YOU! Ha!

    ReplyDelete
  4. The trainers sound wonderful. You’ll have the new one trained soon, Joanne.

    ReplyDelete
  5. wow, what a great place to get in shape; good for you; wish we could afford to go to a gym, maybe start our own calisthenics, after months indoors we are definitely out of shape and definitely feeling the effects and it's not good.

    ReplyDelete
  6. You're dedicated and disciplined, ha ha. With the trainer making you move forward. You are doing better than I am with the work outs :-)

    ReplyDelete
  7. But if you wait until you can't do it anymore, how do you get back up?!

    You are a smart lady. Self-discipline doesn't get me moving the way it should, either, but I don't set anything else up to motivate me. Too Scrooge-y to pay!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I's still assimilating this fitness talk.

      Delete
  8. Your "practise, practise, practise" comment made me think of that old ditty they taught us in school a million years ago -- "Good, better, best / Never let it rest / Until your good is better / And your better is best." Somehow I doubt that they still teach that in school.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I remember that. And I doubt it's in the current curriculum.

      Delete
  9. The whole thing sounds absolutlty ghastly...dark memories of the horse and the wall bars when at school resurface.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I loved the wall bars, but never went near the jumping, tumbling, horse stuff. I could tell the difference between fun and breaking a bone.

      Delete
  10. I've wanted to join a gym for a long time, then the one time i went in and asked how much, the girl told me everything about the gym and workout machines, plus diet advice, but nothing about the cost of joining in spite of me butting in several times to ask. Finally got to the cost which was $xxx to join, then an extra $xx monthly fee. What?? says I. No thanks, far too expensive.
    All the walking between the sides would have been as good for you as the machine workouts. I was never good at callisthenics, nor anything else for that matter, so to me, you're doing remarkably well. I have a coffee table about knee high, maybe I'll try a plank later.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's not inexpensive. I had to make some choices.

      Delete
  11. My fall prevention class is likely mild compared to your regime, but I think it is doing some good. The group component is very helpful. I can't imagine putting myself through this routine on my own.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Another New Year, and I have once again successfully resisted joining the local gym. I know I would never get there, trainer or no trainer. I do pliés every morning, tree pose in the elevator on my way to and from the basement, and occasionally prance around to the score from West Side Story for cardio. Of course it's not nearly enough. Inspired by your plank, I just tried a push up and nearly broke my nose.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Pliés resemble one routine Greg has. Step over one foot with the other, bring the foot behind past heel and to normal footing. Three sets. Then do it opposite, step behind and bring other foot over. Not easy. Requires balance.

      Delete
  13. This sounds like something I need to do but probably won't. You are one strong woman.

    ReplyDelete