Walking in the park before voting

Primary Election Day in New York!  We went for a short walk today on a really lovely spring morning before heading off to the polls.  With the Fitbit app tracking our siblings’ activities, there is an incentive to sneak in a few active minutes where ever we can.

I thought some simple advice about taking care of our knees would be nice.  Here is an article I found by Paul R. on the Healthversations site.

4 Incredibly Important Things You Need to Be Doing for Better Knees

Scientists and doctors agree that there are several key areas to focus on for better joints no matter what your age, and these four can be done all by yourself from the comforts of home.

  • Take a load off. What you may not know and will be shocked to find out is that every extra pound of body weight you carry is equivalent to around 4 pounds of excess pressure on your knees and other joints. That means if you’re just 10 pounds overweight, that’s an extra 40 pounds of unnecessary pressure placed on your joints. Take a load off with regular diet and exercise.
  • Use it or lose it. Although you may limit movement to keep your stiffness and discomfort from flaring up, long periods of inactivity can weaken muscles, which means your joints are doing all the work when you do move. Research suggests that low-impact aerobic exercise can actually help reduce joint tenderness.
  • Don’t forget to stretch! AFTA Certified Personal Trainer, Lisa Amburgey, believes a few minutes of stretching every day will help prevent stiffness or injuries. She recommends the knee extension, performed while sitting on a chair with your back supported and the balls of your feet and toes touching the ground. Slowly extend your right leg in front of you until it is parallel to the floor and your leg is straight out. Flex your foot, hold about 3 seconds, and then slowly return it to the floor. Repeat on your left leg, then alternate legs for 8-12 sets.
  • Supplement for success. What about that sore, aching feeling in your knees and other hot spots that you can’t seem to extinguish no matter what you try? A high-quality joint formula like Instaflex can deliver powerful ingredients and benefits you won’t get elsewhere.

 

Physical therapy for my torn meniscus

I’m back to physical therapy for my knee.  There’s been a lot of progress.  Today’s routine was very similar to what i had to do when dealing with my other knee’s Patella Femoral Syndrome and included:

  • On the Pilates Reformer machine:
    • basic one leg pushing exercises
    • bridges
    • leg extensions
  • Using the resistance band:
    • walking side squats
      • How to Do It:Squat-Walk
        Step 1: Attach a resistance band to each ankle.

        Step 2: Stand with your feet a little more than shoulder-width apart. You may need to shorten the band in order to get the right resistance.

        Step 3: Get into a squat position, knees at roughly a 45-degree angle, and walk sideways. Take 5 to 10 steps to the left, then right, keeping your knees bent and maintaining resistance on the band throughout. Repeat. Try keeping your arms outstretched in front of you, which will provide balance as you do the exercise. “Slower and better quality is more important than attempting to do this fast with poor quality,”

    • clam shell exercises
    • side leg raise
      • How to Do It:side legLie on your right side and lift your left leg to 45 degrees in a controlled manner, then lower it back down to the starting position. Make sure your pelvis remains in a neutral position. A more advanced version includes a loop of rubber tubing around your ankles for added resistance. Perform 20-30 reps.
  • back leg lifts, lying down
    • How to Do It:back leg lift
    • Lie face down, head rest­ing on the backs of your hands, elbows out at your sides
    • Gently pull in your lower abs, then squeeze your but­tock muscle tightly on one leg and lift that leg off the ground
    • As you lift, take care not to tip your body over to the other side, as that’s cheat­ing
      Hold your leg briefly in the air, then lower.
    • Now do the same with the other leg.

The knee is getting stronger and the only sharp pains occurred during the walking side squats.  I think it was because my feet were not always in the correct position.

The therapist said the mild burning discomfort in my knee while walking on the beach was normal and caused by the uneven surface.  As long as I don’t overdo it, the knee should improve fairly quickly.  Yes!  Hopefully, I can get to a point where I can do some of the resistance band exercises I had previously tried.

Fitbit Blaze

I just received a Fitbit Blaze as a present from my husband!  It’s great fun so far although I don’t rack up nearly as many steps as he does.

Fitbit Blaze Smart Fitness Watch, Black, Silver, Large

I decided that i didn’t need the GPS capability built into the watch.  Someday, I will read through the instructions and figure out how to pair it to the GPS in my phone.  There are only rare occasions when I venture out without the phone anyway.

What I needed was:

  • a large screen that was easy to read
  • an accurate heart rate monitor without the need for chest strap, and,
  • something that automatically tracks steps and sleep,

It’s nice that the Fitbit Blaze does all of that without having to remember to manually set something up or change watches or put on a chest strap.

Also nice is the ability to link the calorie and activity tracking from the SparkPeople Mobile App to the Fitbit App.   So I have a constant and visual reminder of how many calories I’ve used and how many I have taken in.  Cool right?  Also having the connection with the Sparkpeople site means that I don’t have to re-enter any of the activity information I’ve been tracking all along.

I think the little badges that you earn for walking are cheesy but cute.  It’s fun to add friends to the Fitbit app so that you have a little community of Type A personalities cheering each other on. 🙂  It’s a terrific incentive.

Anyway, this is my first day and the shiny newness is still with me.

Torn Meniscus

I’ve been dealing with a torn meniscus since late November.  My poor knee got a tad banged up: I overextended it when my side kick missed the Century B.O.B. (body opponent bag) ; continued to play tennis; and, finally, twisted it on a Christmas hike.  My MRI showed it was a clean break with a Bakers cyst; some arthritis and a sprain.

I basically didn’t do any exercise for a couple of months and babied myself.  We went on a cruise to the Western Caribbean and visited Mexico, Honduras and Belize – very nice.  After returning, I decided against any immediate surgery and opted for physical therapy and a knee brace with struts.  The brace is only necessary when playing tennis or practicing on B.O.B.  I am only punching at this point as kicking seems to just make my knee burn, brace or not.

I’ve been using an iPhone app called Fight Trainer.  It costs $4.99 and it is not perfect but it seems better than some of the others.  I can use it with my wireless headphones and listen to my music.  You can also speed up or slow down the time between instructions.  It keeps you honest when the sun is beating down on you and it seems like you’ve been working out forever.

Sadly, I have some minor surgery coming up to repair a tendon on my right hand so I doubt I will be punching for a while.  On the up side, we will be visiting Ireland in May so i can keep my mind off my troubles.