Thursday, November 3, 2016

Individual Fitness Program

Several muscle groups contribute to my back pain. Each needs to be treated appropriately. Whatever that happens to be. The only way I know is to try working with them to find out, with an instructor watching. 

Last week I started reviewing “do in bed exercises” I learned several years ago. I found some I could still do forever. I found one (a version of planking) that I could hardly get out of, it hurt so bad. I found one that markedly reduced my back pain.

Exercising to replace the normal activities in our lives that residential care is now replacing, needs specific activities that are fun (games and skill building) or that contribute an easily identified feel-good response or training effect. The training effect can take up to 2-4 weeks. 

Normal activities keep us in shape because they demand our muscle groups work for extended periods every day. If these maintain our strength and stability we are safe. Otherwise we need a few exercise periods to help keep in shape.

In residential care we need many more exercise periods. To mimic normal activities, we need to periodically tuck these little exercise periods into our daily routine (use the stairs rather than the elevator, if you have that choice).

Now to design an individual activity or fitness (feel good) program for each person, that to a needed extent, restores their neuro-skeletal-muscular system. It must be something the resident wants to do and can see positive results. It must provide the needed instruction to try something new to replace old normal ways.

Residents have the time to participate, as they no longer need the time for former normal activities. We need to replace housekeeping and working with activities that maintain our strength and health. This can now be done in valid ways (the gym and training) rather than as a token (the original fitness room).

This is a lot easier to write about than to actually do. My first attempt was to use the marching in place exercise in the morning while watching TV to warm up and clear my head (10 minute minimum). Add a few standing on one foot exercises for balance. Fill out a 30 minute period with tai chi and yoga stretching exercises (standing, seated, and lying down).

Each hour at the keyboard needs to include a 5-10 minute of exercises that I have learned to do (if only I could remember them). This is very important for my back and general posture. I have now gone over two hours this morning without stopping or doing the wake up session! My back is telling me it is time to get up and do something I should already have done.

[I ended up going to the gym for 30 minutes. I checked out the heart rate meters on five machines. They are as delicate as the ones at the Columbia ARC. They start with a high false reading and eventually settle down to a reasonable value. My $25 pulse oximeter works as well, but I must remember to bring it!]

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