Friday, September 12, 2014

Back on My Own, Post PT

Today was my final day of my latest round of physical therapy. Weird as it may seem, I will miss it. PT  ensured me a well-planned round of purposeful exercise three times a week, as opposed to my daily but far less organized physical activity.

This latest round was a refresher for my stenotic spine, and I must say my graduation report was glowing. After taking some measurements, my PT said I had increased both my strength and flexibility by at least 50 percent. He had me, while standing, stretch as far as I could toward touching my toes, and he was amazed when I could easily touch them. He showed me how tight hamstrings prevented him from doing the same.

Once again, I will miss the camaraderie of a therapy clinic or gym. I have been a patient at a half-dozen PT facilities in the past 10 years, and in each one, we had a jolly good time -- lots of banter, joking, laughter. Humor is without a doubt therapeutic, even if unplanned.

Now I must figure out an exercise routine on my own. The expression "use it or lose it" keeps running through my mind. If I don't practice what I was taught, I could lose my gains in mobility and strength.

Of course, there will be the walks aided by a sturdy walking stick with good ol' Sadie dog. Crisp autumn air has to be not too far off now, right? That season is prime time for long, refreshing walks. However, I know now that I need more. At least every other day, I should mix in some weight training. The machines at PT were superb;  I could feel the stretch in my back as though the narrowed spinal canal was opening up just enough to ease the pain of being upright for extended periods of time.


My best best is probably a "Y" that has not only cardio and weights but also a pool for doing laps or other aqua exercise. I should not be shy about asking their workout-room people to show me how to use the machines.

Ideally, I could set up a cross-training rotation of cardio/weights/aqua. It is probably too much to expect laughs to come along with the routine, though. But one can hope.

                             © Robert Gray Holland  2014

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