Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Made to Move...
My left knee tweaked last week for the first time in about 8 weeks or so, and Angie fixed it quickly and easily right there in the gym. When the pain got too high on the pain scale she asks me to use to communicate with her about my knees, she shut down the cardio, had me finish the strength training part of the workout, and then took me into the locker room and adjusted my unstable knee. Is she an amazing physical therapist or what?!?! I didn't even have to go to her office! After I left the gym, I took anti-inflammatory meds and iced on and off for the rest of the night as I elevated and rested the knee. I have been anticipating and mentally preparing myself for a set back since that tweak...one that hasn't yet come.
In the past...96 pounds ago...this kind of tweak would have set me back several weeks in my exercise regimen. In fact, only about 30 pounds ago, it had that effect, too. I lost a lot of time this past summer in training for my 5K because my left knee did this. Angie fixed it then, too, but it took so much longer for the knee to be ready for me to work it hard again. I had weeks and weeks of low intensity workouts instead of being able to kick it into high gear because the swelling and pain just wouldn't go away. But now, the same shift in the joint, the exact same kind of tweak, has been manageable. Why?
Several reasons, I think. First of all, I weigh a LOT less. That puts tremendously less stress on the joints with every step I take every day. We've talked about it many times - there's about 4 pounds of stress/pressure on your knee for every pound you weigh. Losing 96 pounds has released 384 pounds of stress off my knee joints with every step I take every day. That's a tremendous reason for less pain and less swelling.
Another reason, I think, is that I've learned much about my knee, its tendons and ligaments, and how it functions. Knowledge is power, I believe. I know how patellar tendonitis, pes anserine bursitis, osteoarthritis, and baker cysts feel and what symptoms are present in each of these conditions. I have frequent flare ups of these things, and knowing the difference in how they feel is important because then I know what to tell Angie about where and how it hurts and she can target the intervention better. I listen to her when she teaches me how my knees work...or don't...and what I can do to maximize my ability to move. I know where my IT bands are and how to strengthen them with exercise. I understand that strengthening my quads and hamstrings is essential for me...not optional...because they will do a lot of the work in moving and stabilizing my body that my knees just can't. I am acutely aware of the power of ice and anti-inflammatory meds and make use of them frequently.
But I think the biggest reason that this tweak in my left knee hasn't set me back yet, and at this point, likely won't, is the thought I had on that treadmill. Our bodies are made to move. By their very design, the joints we have that were so carefully crafted by our Maker, we were made to be mobile. NOT moving is an unnatural state for us. The placement of our muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints...it's all designed so that we can move freely.
When I think of how much I hampered my ability to move, how close I came to finding myself confined to a chair that would move for me instead of being able to independently walk where I want to go, I cringe inside. It terrifies me, in fact. Even now...96 pounds removed from facing that possibility...I am horrifyingly aware of how near I was to that becoming a reality for me. Choosing to be sedentary and becoming obese challenged and taxed the natural design that God gave my body. I caused the additional stress on my knees that has resulted in them becoming bone-on-bone arthritic. I caused the pain I used to feel with every step as my pes anserine felt like a knife stabbing me on the inside of my knees. Me. My choices.
But it's also my choices that are now liberating me from these consequences. Because I'm eating sensibly and am working out in the gym 5 days a week, I'm mobile. And my body IS moving...really moving! The way it was designed to do. The more weight I lose, the more freely I do what I was made to do...MOVE! And can I tell you...it feels incredible! It feels natural. It feels like I was made to walk and run.
Because I was.
Thank you, Jesus, for the motivation and strength I needed to start this journey to the ME you made me to be, and for continuing to keep me on it for 20 months now.
Thank you, Angie, for so many things...but mostly for supporting this journey by educating me and fixing me when I need it, and also for believing I COULD move freely again, when I didn't quite believe that myself.
And thank YOU for being here with me...sharing my successes...and my failures...holding me accountable...being my cheerleaders...celebrating victories with me. I'm not sure you understand how much I value that, but I do. You make me able to walk every step of this journey and I'm honored to be walking it with you.