Since the operation and the time I spent off my feet beforehand, I’ve lost muscle mass and considerable strength in my leg. I compensated, to be able to move around, by over-using my other leg so now my body is a little lop-sided. One marvelously muscular leg and one shrivelled sack of meat being dragged around. Ok so thats a bit exaggerated but I definitely have a difference in capability (and appearance)
I’ve had an assessment and the nice physiotherapist lady at the hospital gave me some exercises to do. There is nothing really complicated about it; tense this, hold that position, balance on one leg. Except one exercise for working the VMO muscle. Its on the inside of the knee at the bottom of the quads and is bloody difficult to tense on command!
Aside from the exercises the interesting thing I’ve noticed is that the first week I was given the exercises to do I barely did them at all. Call it laziness or not taking the rehab seriously I found reasons not to do the exercises. This meant, unsurprisingly, I didn’t get the results I wanted and at my next appointment I felt a bit sheepish about admitting how little work I’d done. I realised that she’s only telling me what to do for my own benefit and it was only I who would suffer if I didn’t do it, wouldn’t matter to her a jot. Sounds fairly obvious but my embarrassment to admit my failure was the interesting and useful part.
I decided to reverse-psycho-influence myself into doing more work. On the back of the sheet the exercises were written on I drew up a truth sheet. This way I could record what reps and positions I had done, and I would know subconsciously that next time I was at the physio session I would have to get this sheet out and everyone would see how much I had (or not) done.
Throughout this week, part of me was thinking “sod it, I cant be arsed” and the other part “they will see the laziness”. On a few occasions there was literally no good reason I hadn’t done the exercises and I found myself in bed laying awake. I guess it was down to guilt and annoyance that my self imposed psychological trick had worked, but I got up and did it in the end.
I still didn’t manage to do a full week of exercises but at least this time is wasn’t laziness. I only had a night off when I had been swimming or on a long walk that weekend.
I also made the decision to go to the gym… The actual gym… Like, where fit people hang out looking fit, and flabby people go in pursuit of fitness and fit people.
I’ve always been allergic to the gym. Its not the working out or the exercise but the atmosphere of sweaty people pursuing an athletic body when actually their life requires no more than a walk to the bus stop each day. I think its just a waste of time to work out for the sake of working out, surely it should be for a purpose?
For example, if you are overweight and your general health could be improved by losing a few pounds then good job, get gym-ing. If your diabetic and exercise is tantamount to a prescription drug to keep you healthy then, rightly so, the gym is all yours. But if your already slim, healthy and strong enough to cycle to and from the shops 10 times in a day, always uphill… Then you need to go out and get a life and enjoy your fitness, not just flounce around looking to lose the next micro-ounce of fat.
I’m attending the gym merely as a tool to get my knee in working enough order that I don’t have to attend the gym because my other active hobbies are now possible. I enjoy climbing and cycling and both of these are very leg intensive, in fact is there a sport that does not require legs? Kayaking? I used to do a bit, but my feet are too big, my legs too long and I throw up in any kind of boat.
I hope all this effort will bring back the usefulness of my legs or soon there will be a post on here claiming that chess is my new active sport…