Friday, May 20, 2011

Cross it off!

A couple years ago, I developed arthritis in my left knee and for the last 15 months have been using a knee brace that I call the “Forrest Gump” model. (Or as my loving children say to me, "Run, Mom, run!") While the brace was being fitted, I foolishly asked the orthopedic technician if there was anything else I could do to forestall surgery. Yes, he replied, lose weight (yeah, well…) and strengthen your knee muscles (what – exercise?!). Not the kind of thing a couch potato like me wants to hear.

But after nine months of false promises and self-delusion, I finally bought an elliptical, or cross-trainer, in December. I’ve been using it religiously ever since.

I started slowly adding 3-5 minutes every two weeks. I’m now up to 35 minutes a day. At the end of each workout, I check my heart rate. I hit a milestone a few days ago when my results went from “very poor” to just “poor.” This has happened only twice, but I’ll take what I can get! And although after five months I haven’t lost an ounce of weight (this gut is going nowhere), my overall stamina is a little better. I also know I’m making progress because I sweat like a pig. Just recently when my daughter saw me after a workout, she exclaimed, “Mom, you’re all wet! ... Is that sweat? Ewwwww! Stay away from me!”

Most amazingly, however, after years of turning up my nose at even the thought of jogging or a gym, I’ve found myself almost enjoying it! It happens when I hit my stride – that smooth, easy rhythm that makes you feel like you could go all day. Too bad it takes 25 minutes of huffing and puffing to reach those magical ten. Ahhh, endorphins!

But even better, I’ve found my mind settling. I do my best thinking on the toilet, in the shower, and now, on the cross-trainer. I won’t go so far as to say it gives me peace of mind, but, shall we say, equilibrium?

How long will I be able to keep this up? I don’t know. But this momentary balance of head and heart is not half bad.


  1. Keep at it! It is SO well worth it. You will eventually see a difference. Sometimes the BEST changes are internal -- every time I walk I think to my self, "my heart thanks me." I knew I had to make changes after having a stroke four years ago, but it took that "before" picture to get me truly motivated. It's great connecting again after all these years.
    Leslie (Schramek) Crabtree

  2. So sorry to hear about your stroke!


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