I’m a big fan of functional exercises.  Rather than growing big mirror muscles, I want my strength to help me through the day.  Don’t get me wrong, I would love a 6 pack and huge guns.  I would rather be able to get up from the couch without help than need help putting on my jacket because my muscles are two big and limit my movements.

So many people I know use the arms of chairs and the table to get up from a seated position.  Sad – just sad.  Others have limited ability to bend or even get down and up from the floor.  Aging doesn’t help if you allow your age to be your excuse.

When I started exercising – again – at 62, I hired a Personal Trainer.  Actually went through two guys.  The first was an air head – the second knew what he was doing – for the most part.  Once I started with the 2nd guy – things changed.  He started working with me on balance and unilateral exercises.  Tough – yes tough.  I have never had good balance and had aged into having almost no balance.  Things changed.

I started doing those balance exercises in the back room – where few people could see me fall on my ass.  Eventually, I progressed to doing them out front.  Did not need to hide. 

As I progressed to more free weight exercises, I started doing unilateral ones.  No – I don’t mean alternating arm curls.  The most effective are those exercises where you are doing one leg at a time and balance is a big component.  Here are a few:

  • Dumbbell Step ups.
  • Single Leg Hip Raise.
  • Dumbbell Single Leg Dead Lift and Rotational Straight Leg Dead Lift.
  • Squats and Lunges of every nature and variation including the hated Bulgarian Split Squat.
  • One leg Squats – a/k/a Pistol Squats.  I never got beyond doing these in an assisted form.
  • Seated one-legged get ups.  Who’d have thunk it.

It is now 4 1/2 weeks since my Revision Surgery.  During this time, I have only been able to rely on my left leg.  My right leg can bear no weight.  Thank goodness that I included many of the above in my workout.  Getting up from a chair on one leg – a trick – but also a treat.

I also progressed from doing assisted Dips to unassisted Dips with 25 pound weight hanging from my waist.  Walking with a Walker means that when my left leg is in the air, my arms are actually in the raising position of a Dip.  How can anyone who has no upper body strength do that?  They are limited to a wheel chair and just transferring from the wheel chair to a chair to a toilet.  Sad.

Climbing the stairs using the bannister under my left arm and a crutch under my right is a movement I will gladly out grow.  Balance and Dip – along with a prayer.

It is over 7 weeks since I was at the gym.  My hard-earned calluses are disappearing – but new ones – where my hands press on the Walker are there.  The Body adapts.

Hopefully, I will be able to start putting weight on my right leg in another 3 weeks.  Then the fun begins.

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