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Age Well on Your Own Terms

"Who is your fitness trainer?"

I love it when doctors or physiotherapists ask this question to one of my gym members because it means that they are impressed with my students’ physical condition. Typically growing older is marked by a sharp decline in joint mobility, muscle flexibility and strength. I am so happy that my students are redefining the experience of aging. I thought you might like to read about Susan’s success in an email that she wrote to me last Saturday. I met Susan (73 years young) in 2020 via Zoom and she continues to attend my virtual classes daily that include Essentrics, Yoga and Weight training. Enjoy!

"First the good - several months ago I went to the doc with shoulder pain that wouldn't go away. She took x-rays and told me it was my neck, not my shoulder and that I had advanced arthritis in my neck. She said she was amazed at the range of motion I still had in my neck. (Thank you, Beth.)

Last month I had to go for my 6-month injection of Prolia for my osteoporosis. That doc asked me to try to stand on one leg so she could check my balance. I hopped into a high tree and she was shocked. She's a 30-something who said she couldn't do that to save her life. (Thank you again, Beth.)

Yesterday I went to the hip doctor. (BTW - I'm on a first-name basis with all the attendants at the practice by now.) Sooo they took x-rays of my left hip and the x-ray tech was amazed when she asked me to open my legs and turn my toes as close together as I could. Not sure what was so amazing that I could do that, but she said it was. Then I had to bend my leg and turn my knee to the side. Again, amazed that I could put my knee flat on the bed. Another 30-something who's only exercise is pushing the button on the elevator every day. I'm a stair person myself. (Thanks again, Beth.)

So the really good news is all about you - if it weren't for your tremendous skill as a teacher and your dedication to keeping the classes going through the pandemic I would not have a fraction of the movement I have. Apparently at my advanced age (just turned 73- prime of life!) and the shape of my bones I should be hunched and walking with a cane. I know I probably would be if I didn't get up every morning looking forward to your ever-changing programs that keep us all on or toes (literally!). For the record I've also regained all of the flexion in my right knee and my strength in all of the arm and leg tests yesterday was a 5 out of 5. Pretty good for an old poop...

Finally I see the doc and tell him about the bizarre assortment of pain in my glute, hip and thigh all on the left side. I had already diagnosed the problem as bursitis or at least was hoping that's what it was but I was worried that I might need a hip replacement since NSAIDS hadn't worked. My hubby is having his second hip replaced on June 7 and I have two dogs with cancer and hubby to care for - no time for hip surgery. Anyway, He pokes a few places on my rear and asks me if I can move my leg - duh!! Then he told me based on the x-rays that he's surprised I can walk at all with the arthritis in my spine. That's when I started to worry. Spine stuff is scary.

Turns out he diagnosed me with something called piriformis syndrome that means small fractures in my spine (spondylosis) are causing tendinitis in my glute, bursitis in my hip and sciatic irritation in my leg. Apparently, he's only diagnosed this a few times in his years of practice. He laughed when I expressed my immediate fear that I would have to limit exercise and said that the only thing keeping me going was exercise and to keep it up. And yes, this is a plea that you never, ever retire. I know you must get bored and tired of listening to the various complaints that I'm sure you get, but please if you ever think of quitting remind yourself that whether we know it or not, you are in many ways a life saver for all of us old coots. I'll be having PT (physio) three times a week for the next few months and hopefully that will deal with the pain, but in the meantime, I will continue with classes to the extent that I can. Trees on the right side only for a while but hopefully the immediate irritation will resolve and I'll get back to normal with your help.

Have a great weekend and I'll see you on Monday! Hugs, Sue"

This email is a keeper and for the record, I have no plans to retire anytime soon and my zoom classes will continue as long as there are interested students. Reach out if you would like to try a free class.


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Janet Ankcorn
Janet Ankcorn
16 may 2023

I love this - I feel she is describing my arthritic body! Yes, we have to keep moving!

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