Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Hula Hooping With my New Hip

The last time I went to Hula Hoop Class was before my hip replacement surgery. Foolishly I stayed for the whole hour, hobbled home, and soaked in the bathtub.  I was sore the whole next day. Hula hooping is fun. It creates endorphins.  When the endorphins wear off, a worn out hip exacts its revenge.

Since the surgery, my PT has been talking me out of hula hooping week after week.  When he says NO, I don’t want to disappoint him. He is the expert on getting me healthy and strong again. So long as I’m in pain, he’s the way out. 

He thinks I’m working hard enough on my rehab exercises, and my biking around town and my use of the elliptical at the gym.  But I want to hula hoop. So last week I didn’t mention it to him *again*.   He can’t say No if I don’t ask, and I don’t need to mention it to him, afterwards so he can’t make his worried face at me.

This young PT is a wizard.  In less than 10 weeks since surgery, that’s about 6 weeks of rehab, he’s got me riding my bike for 6 miles, walking 2 miles, and going 14 minutes on the elliptical with very little pain.  And best of all, he’s got me getting up from sitting or lying down and able to walk with only level 3 or 4 pain for the first few steps, and after that, it’s actually comfortable – it feels like ME walking.  He thinks this is dangerous.  If I’m not in pain, I’m more likely to try new things.  

He specifically told me not to go parachute jumping, or do yoga poses that violate my surgeon’s rules – like eagle or child’s pose.  He was not joking – he knows I love anything active.

So, even if he is cautious, I felt strong enough to try hula hooping.  I promised myself that I’d leave if I felt pain.  It’s my body – not the PT’s. I hoped I wouldn’t pay for it with a day of pain, like last time.

The class started out with stretches.  The hard part was putting the hoop on the floor and picking it up again. I’m not allowed to get my chest near my thighs. (That’s why I can’t do child’s pose in yoga.)  So, I bent my right leg (the one that didn’t get surgery) and stuck my left leg out behind me, every time I put the hoop on the floor or pick it up.

Good thing there were only two of us in the class, and the other woman had a broken toe, so she was not speedy either.

After about 10 minutes of stretches, we started hooping.  First to the left – which is my usual direction.  Walking while keeping the hoop spinning.  Pivoting in a circle while keeping the hoop spinning. It only fell a few times, so I only had to do my pseudo-duck dive a few times to pick it back up.

Then we spun to the right.  Crash. Clatter. Clickety-Clack.  I got to the point where I could stand still and keep it spinning.  I could turn around and keep it spinning most of the time.  Walking while keeping it spinning – maybe next time. And with all that duck-diving, I started to hurt.  I almost made it for half of the hour-long class.  I placed the hoop back against the wall, and went downstairs where the gym owner gave me a bag of ice to put on my hip and thigh. I spent about as long with the ice as I did with the hoop.  But I did it.  And here I am writing this the next day. I’m not in pain. I’ve already ridden my bike, worked the elliptical, and done chin-ups on the assisted chin-up machine.

And I’m not telling my PT.  I’m going to tell him that I can now go up stairs without the banister, one foot per step.  I can go downstairs with the banister, one foot per step. I can do my exercises with 5 lb weights on my ankles.  And I’m in less pain than I was a week ago.

No, I don’t think the hula hoop had anything to do with it. 


  1. You are amazing and doing way more than a PT could even imagine. I think this is a success story and a tribute to the great shape of the rest of your body.

  2. Sharyn, My PT is not the average schnook who puts your problem into a database, prints out exercises, hands you the sheet and walks away while you do them. This guy knows how the human mind and body work. I show him what I want to do and he gives me exercises to help me do it. He does what other PTs and even doctors say is impossible. And he helps me do the same. I can't say enough in praise of this man's talent as a PT.

  3. What great progress! Happy the hoop keeps you happy.

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