Monday, August 13, 2018

Motivation to Exercise Sometimes Comes in the Strangest Forms

I fell on my concrete patio yesterday. I had gone out to change the water in the hummingbird feeder and somehow zigged when I should have zagged and fell hard on my right knee.

When you are 66 years old and have already broken a wrist and elbow from falling, that few seconds before you hit the ground is terrifying! I remember sitting there thinking that if my knee was broken, I didn't know how I was going to get back into the house to call 911. Note to self: Carry your cell phone everywhere with you from now on.

Luckily, nothing was broken, and I limped back into the house to survey the damage. I have a bad scrape that is probably going to lead to a bad bruise on my right knee and the side of my leg. I have a smaller scrape on my left knee, and a very thorny plant caught my left arm on the way down, leaving it looking like I had tangled with a bobcat. Note to self: Get rid of plants that hurt you. It's been a long time since I had a scab on my knee, but I definitely will now.

Pain and Fear Are Great Motivators

The worst part of my fall was trying to figure out how to get up. My knees and thighs are very weak, and once I get down, I have to get up on one foot and push myself up with my arms to rise again. A few squats a day and riding the bike that sits here in my living room neglected would fix that, but I've yet to do either.

I've been procrastinating starting my exercise program out of pure laziness. Yesterday was proof positive that I simply MUST start and keep up with daily exercise or one day, I won't be able to get up when I fall. I remember my friend, who was obese and had a hip replacement, falling when her artificial joint popped out of place, and laying in her yard screaming for help for hours before someone heard her. This happened to her twice. I can't imagine being stuck in a situation like that, but if I don't start losing weight and strengthening my muscles, it's a real possibility.

Just 10 Minutes, Three Times a Day

I'm in horrible shape, I admit that. I was watching a documentary the other day about oriental people who use squat toilets and sit on the floor to eat. Some of them also practice something like Tai Chi or Qi Gong every day. They have no problem getting up from the ground. I saw women in their 70s and even 80s lifting themselves easily from a sitting position.

Qi Gong and Tai Chi are both wonderful, gentle exercises for strengthening your body, especially your legs. Studies show that Tai Chi practiced daily reduces fear of falling in elderly adults. I don't really have enough room indoors to practice Tai Chi, but I do to practice Qi Gong, so I'm going to start that today. If you would like to learn Qi Gong, there is a wonderful beginner's video on YouTube HERE.

I'll also work on my core, starting with a 12-minute chair exercise video from Since my arms are also weak, I'll be using 5 lb. weights and bands to work on those. I'll be using this upper body workout, again from Spark People, for my band arm exercises.

Working Out a Routine

I'll be exercising today, but I'll also be working out a weekly routine. I want to exercise every day but Sunday, because that's my rest day. I'll be doing core, arm and aerobic exercises three days a week and Qi Gong the other three days. Once the weather gets cooler, I'll get back to walking and riding my bicycle.

There is nothing like fear of falling to motivate you to get off your butt and actually do something about it. Maybe my fall was the universe's way of telling me that my laziness is endangering my health. I think I'd better listen, because I didn't listen the first time and I didn't listen the second. I don't want to mess up and have my next fall be the ones that disables me for life.

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