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Rehab: Week 1

For the first fifteen minutes, I had to hold back tears. No way I could stand in the gym where once I loved to balance on my forearms while lifting my legs to a ninety-degree angle or stretch out for an inverted sit up or smoothly move the hip abductor machine and not realize the dramatic decline in my health. Thanks to my crappy hips, for two years I’ve been unable to do significant leg exercises, or even arm exercises—the resulting imbalance in my pelvis quickly led to lower back pain. Yes, I’d biked and swum laps, and I really enjoyed that. But the gym . . . .

Those of you following this blog know my hips have slowly and inexorably gone downhill. This hasn’t much impacted my weight or body shape, which has allowed me to lie to myself about my muscle health. This week, all lies were exposed.

I'm about the same size I've ever been
I’m about the same size I’ve ever been but I’m weak as a kitten









I’m using a trainer who has extensive experience with joint patients; he previously worked at a rehab hospital. He began our relationship with an assessment—no working out the first session—and some type of body scan that measured the atrophication of my muscle. Yep, it’s now a scientific fact: I’m a marshmallow. Not surprisingly, my greatest muscle loss exists around my hips, but nothing was at 100% where it’s supposed to be. That, in the parlance of society’s ever-present pressure to remain positive, means I’ve got a lot of really good goals.

The trainer is having me do exercises I’ve never done before, and I worked with a trainer who came to my house for almost five years. It’s a whole new ballgame that feels like a Never-Never Land between physical therapy and working out. Rehab, I guess. The exercises are deceptively simple with deceptively light weights and resistance. So far, we have not repeated a single exercise. My favorite one is the Farmer’s Walk. You walk carrying weights. That’s it. And it is—am I repeating myself here?—deceptively hard.

This afternoon I completed my first week. That was three one-hour sessions. After the first session I came home and went sound asleep. The second session, stretching out but no sleep. This session, I’m typing up this post. That’s progress.

The trainer says it will take 90 days for me to see any result from our efforts. That’s okay. I have the world’s most popular motivator for getting in shape: we have a family wedding in almost exactly 90 days. Tomorrow when I do my walking session, I’ll carry tiny weights and shift them from hand to hand. He says that will accelerate the strengthening of all my muscles.

I can hardly weight. 🙂


exercising after hip replacement, Farmer's Walk, working out after hip replacement

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