We are born with three things: a mind, a body and a lifetime. How you treat the first two determines the last one.
At what point do we stop thinking about working out as something you do because it is good for you and switch to thinking it is something you do because you still want to function? For me it was the first time I had to go to physical therapy.
About 5 years ago I tore my meniscus when I took a wrong step. It wasn't bad enough to require surgery, but it did need 3 months of physical therapy to get back to “normal”. It was the first time in my life I had ever been on crutches. I was so happy I had spent time in the gym working on my muscles and core because I needed all that strength to get around on one leg. Then when I was doing the PT I truly believe I was able to get back to my regular routine quickly because I was already familiar with how to move my body. After that I did ok until I twisted my ankle badly and ended up back in physical therapy. I was a motivated patient and stuck to the exercises she had me doing so I could recover and be pain free. Lastly, I ended up back in PT when I had so much pain in my hip that every step was enough to take my breath away. Still don't know why, but I suspect it had to do with the limping I was doing when I hurt my ankle. Again, having an exercise routine already established made the physical therapy easier because I was used to working out.
All of these injuries were a piece of cake compared to the ordeal I went through when I had a bunion removed from my right foot. The procedure involved having my big toe “broken” so the doctor could reshape the bone. The first two weeks I could not put any weight on my foot at all. Back to the crutches! Have you ever practiced getting off a sofa with only one leg? Going up and down stairs? Getting dressed? All of a sudden every bit of time I spent in the gym was working to my advantage. I had the core strength to sit up without relying on my legs. I could use my arms to push my body around and to handle the crutches. I was able to balance on one foot while I made coffee or brushed my teeth. Without all the hours I had spent working out I would have been in a lot more pain, I would have been a lot less mobile and I would have had to rely on my husband for a lot more than I did.
On the flip side, working out also helps me avoid injury. I am an absolute clutz. I always say if there were piece of hair in my path I would figure out way to trip over it. Being strong helps me catch myself, regain my balance, and avoid falling. It also allows me to walk, run, stand, bike and in general, do whatever I want (within reason). I am able to pick up grocery bags, carry my basket at the market, keep up with my nieces at the mall, and explore while on vacation. I trust that my body will respond when I need it to, maybe not as quickly as it did 25 years ago, but it will work! Once again, if you are not planning on being healthy as you age, what are you planning?
I will not be posting a recipe this week as I am helping in the care of a family member who has recently had major surgery. Might give you a hint as to how I chose my topic this week! Next week I will be on vacation so I hope to be back with a new, yummy recipe in two weeks!