Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Taking a Break from Exercise

The day after Memorial Day, Young PT asked me, “What did you do yesterday?”

I knew he didn’t mean, did you write anything? Or, did you fix any computers?

So, I answered, “You would be proud of me. All I did was I bike to the pool and swim for a quarter mile.”

Young PT has been pressuring me to do LESS exercise.  He says after surgery, the body needs breaks without exercise.  I looked at him dubiously.  But he, too, is post-op. His surgery was on his shoulder.  He had me on a schedule of stretch every day but only do weight-bearing and strenuous exercises every other day.  I wasn’t noticing any difference.  He was accusing me of beating myself up.  I told him I trust him completely, and I would continue to try it.  His expression implied I was cheating somehow.

Prior to Memorial Day weekend, he asked me to take two days off. I had PT on Thursday. He asked me to stretch only on Friday and Saturday. And then on Sunday, to only do the elliptical.
I had been having trouble with the elliptical – my left leg was getting tired and sore after 10 to 12 minutes.  It seemed to me that it needed more work, not less.  But, I tried it his way.

Sunday, I got on the elliptical at the gym and used it for 15 minutes. My left leg wasn’t tired. It wasn’t sore.  I could have gone longer, but I decided that 3 minutes longer than usual was plenty and stopped.  I was stunned. 2 days away from exercise and I was stronger than before.  Young PT was onto something!

Young PT was staring at me as if he was expecting me to tell him I’d done chin-ups and dumbells and other things I usually do, but I hadn’t done them.  I’d stuck with his program. So, I said, “I’m surprised to be telling you this, but Sunday I was able to use the elliptical for 15 minutes without getting tired.”

Again the stare.

“I thought you’d want me to tell you that your idea works.”

He looked at me as if I was daft to have doubted him.

“I already knew it works.” He paused.  “But I’m glad you found out for yourself.”

His face curled into a proud smile.

I laughed.  “You don’t have to be so smug about it.”

Then he handed me some 3 lb weights.  “Strap these onto your ankles.”

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