How To Fit Exercise Into Your New Year’s Resolution

Hi everyone. The New Year is here and many resolutions involve getting in better shape. I regularly hear how there is no time to exercise. Here are some tried-and-true tips on how to fit exercise into your New Year’s resolution:

Isometrics
These maneuvers involve simply tightening your muscles. Tighten one muscle, like your butt, and hold for a few seconds. Release tension and relax. Repeat with other muscle groups.

Isometrics are particularly helpful when recuperating from a tkr – total knee replacement. Tighten your thigh muscles (quadriceps) to rebuild strength lost by incisions made.

Planks
These dandies give you an all-body workout. Start out by doing only one minute and gradually build up your time and endurance.

Get onto the floor with your arms and legs extended. It’s the position used when doing a push-up. Place your body weight onto your hands and feet. Straighten your elbows. Hold in your stomach (core) muscles. Breathe normally as you hold this position for one minute – or less – to start.

When done correctly you will feel your arms, stomach, shoulders, back, and leg muscles all working in sync.

Stretches
For an excellent back, neck, and leg stretch, stand and gently bend over to touch your toes. Let your head hang freely. Stretch as far as possible. Hold this position for as long as comfortable.

For an easy leg stretch, sit with your legs stretched (extended) in front of you. Keep your heels on the surface, toes pointed toward the ceiling. Gently move your upper body forward until you feel a stretch in your hamstrings (backside of your knee/leg). Hold this position for 10 seconds.

Gently and slowly return to your starting position. Repeat as needed.

Walking
Walking provides a cardiovascular and musculoskeletal workout. Do it at your own pace. Remember to wear comfortable, well-fitted shoes and socks.

Motto of story: Never let lack of time be an excuse for not exercising. The benefits far outweigh the drawbacks. There is always a way. Just find what works for you. The above-mentioned tips on how to fit exercise into your New Year’s resolution are still working for health-conscious individuals.

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AUTHOR NOTE: Booktoots’ Healing helps total knee replacement patients find support throughout recuperation and beyond. Its mission is for patients to understand they are not alone in their ordeal with either a tkr or other physical-related concerns.

This site is owned and operated by Marie Buckner, a published author and tkr patient who has been living with various physicalities for over 40+ years. She enjoys sharing her experiences to help others going through the same thing.







TKR Dead Weight: Is This You?

Hi everyone! I have received quite a few comments lately about the worries of having a very stiff tkr leg for a time after the surgery. This is no news to us who found out the hard way that this is a common event. Here’s some more insight…

My entire leg was a complete dead weight. None of my muscles worked. My tkr knee needed gentle stretching exercises to increase the bend along the front part of my new knee. I needed to work on stretching out my hamstrings, along the backside of my knee, to straighten my leg. My leg would not lay flat on any surface.

Even though I was up and walking on a walker the day after my tkr, my muscles were still not developed enough to support my body weight. I remember sitting in a chair and not being able to slide my foot at all. I am certain everyone goes through this. This is when those assisted exercises come into play.

It has been eight years since my tkr and my leg still gets stiff and painful after prolonged periods of walking or standing. I just rest, elevate, and ice. It’s no big deal.

Hope it helps others going through the same thing. Remember, you are not alone in this endeavor. Take a look around this site for more insight from myself and readers.

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AUTHOR NOTE: Booktoots’ Healing helps total knee replacement patients find support throughout recuperation and beyond. Its mission is for patients to understand they are not alone in their ordeal with either a tkr or other physicality concerns. The site is owned and operated by Marie Buckner, a published author and tkr patient who has been living with various physicalities for over 30+ years. She enjoys sharing her experiences to help others going through the same thing.






Can Hamstrings Hurt after a Total Knee Replacement?

Hi everyone!I recently had someone ask me that, and the answer is a definite, resounding “YES!!” I originally wrote about this topic in 2008, and because I have received numerous requests for this article, it seemed logical to bring it to the front of my home page again. So, that is why you will notice comments dating back to that year. FYI..

The back of the knee is where the hamstring muscles are. In fact, four months after my surgery, I still needed to elevate my leg on a pillow while laying down. Without doing that, it can be very painful. Even seven years post-tkr, the back of my knee hurts sometimes.  It is getting better, however.

If someone does not have painful hamstrings after a total knee replacement, I say they are very lucky.  I’m envious….

BTW: I Just found out about a great exercise for strengthening hamstrings…sit in a chair with feet flat on the floor, pull your heels back toward the chair.  Or, sit in a chair that has wheels (like an office chair) and pull yourself around the room with your weak leg.

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Icing a new knee….OUCH!

Hi my favorite readers! After receiving numerous requests for this information, it seems appropriate to provide this reprint of a previous post to help those new to a tkr:

Part of my total knee replacement recuperation process involves, of course, physical therapy.  After I complete my exercises, I am offered icing.  At first it was “yeah!”.  Now, it’s…”OUCH!”.  See, instead of just lying on my back and relaxing (like I used to do while being iced), they have started a new torture device…er, technique.

My hamstrings need to be stretched out after 30 years of not using them properly.  My leg is not straight like it needs to be. So, to help this process along:  I lay on my stomach,  place my knee on an ice bag, and another ice bag contraption is placed on the back of my knee.  Then, a 2-pound weight is put on my ankle.

This entire process occurs after an exercise involving my knee hanging over the side of the table.

That timer can’t move fast enough.

Hope this helps others going through the same thing.

Find interesting? Kindly share…Thanks!

AUTHOR NOTE: Booktoots’ Healing helps total knee replacement patients find support throughout recuperation and beyond. Its mission is for patients to understand they are not alone in their ordeal with either a tkr or other physicality concerns. The site is owned and operated by Marie Buckner, a published author and tkr patient who has been living with various physicalities for over 30+ years. She enjoys sharing her experiences to help others going through the same thing.






Leg Extension Machines & A TKR

Hi my favorite readers! Recently, some of you have posted comments and concerns about using a leg extension fitness machine after a total knee replacement. Instead of replying to each comment individually, I thought it would be appropriate to comment here. Here is my story. It may be similar to yours…

I have seen these machines in fitness gyms and other public health venues. I wouldn’t touch them with a ten foot pole. The configurations look different than that found in the PT machine I used during my recuperation process.

During PT, the machine made it possible for me to use my tkr leg. My leg was not positioned in an unnatural manner. In fact, the machine was configured so my leg was actually only slightly bent at the knee. This allowed me to simply slide my tkr-side foot underneath the cushioned pad. It was not uncomfortable at all. I started with zero weight and only increased it to – if I recall correctly – 10 pounds.

While using the PT machine, I mainly felt my quads and hamstring muscles working. I felt no discomfort in my patella, or knee cap, area.

Fast forward to the fitness gym leg extension machines. In order to use these torture devices, my tkr knee needs to be bent to more than 90 degrees. That is the starting position. This just is not possible. My tkr knee does not bend more than 93-95 degrees. (And…no…I am not considering, nor never have, a manipulation. There are other posts on this flexibility subject.)

There is no way in blazes I am going to put myself into that position and risk injury. So…I avoid the machine.

While doing research into leg extension machines, I found an interesting article on the Huffington Post site. I have included a link below. Do your own research and you may be quite interested in what you find on this topic.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/-dr-joseph-horrigan/leg-extensions-knee-pain_b_3269330.html

Keep Improving!

AUTHOR NOTE: Booktoots’ Healing helps total knee replacement patients find support throughout recuperation and beyond. Its mission is for patients to understand they are not alone in their ordeal with either a tkr or other physicality concerns. The site is owned and operated by Marie Buckner, a published author and tkr patient who has been living with various physicalities for over 30+ years. She enjoys sharing her experiences to help others going through the same thing.

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Don’t Forget Your Stretching

Hi my favorite readers! We all know the necessity of strengthening our muscles and bones, so it’s easy to forget that stretching is just as important.

Stretching exercises come in handy to relieve the pain after strengthening your muscles. You know those days when you’re not really in pain, but have a feeling of discomfort? This is especially true after periods of walking for any amount of time. You did your weight-bearing exercising (walking)…now do some stretching to help your muscles recuperate. It’s actually known as cooling down and you’ll feel fantastic while doing it.

Here’s a simple way to stretch your leg muscles, that I always find particularly helpful..

While standing, move one leg forward about 12 inches. Straighten the leg as much as possible. Tighten your stomach muscles and lean your upper body as far as possible over your straightened leg/knee. Feel the stretch along the backside of your leg. To increase the stretch, lift your butt towards the ceiling a bit. Hold this stretch for 10 seconds, or as long as it feels comfortable.

Do the exercise at a comfortable, relaxed pace and do not overdo it. Seems like common sense, but it is important to remember.

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Another Hamstring Exercise

Strengthening the hamstrings (muscles along the backside of the knee) is important for everyone, especially us tkr recipients. I found another way to exercise this muscle recently and thought I’d share. Please remember it’s been almost three years since my tkr, so don’t try this if you’re new to the tkr recuperation stage.

You need a reclining chair for this exercise. The kind that requires manually pushing the foot portion down while returning to the upright position is needed.

Instead of using your good knee to push the section down, use your tkr leg. Push on the extended segment with your ankle and calf. You are bound to feel your hamstring muscle working. In my case, I cannot completely return to chair segment to the original position, but can apply enough pressure to work my muscle. Your situation may differ.

Try this and see if it works. You may be surprised how weak your hamstring still is (as in my case). I could barely even make a dent on my original attempt. Yikes..

Take it easy while doing this maneuver and don’t blame me if anything goes wrong. (disclaimer here..)

Good luck! Hope this helps others going through the same thing.

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Dog Walking for TKR Exercise

There was a recent article on the American Heart Association’s website about using dog walking as part of your exercise routine. The article prompted my recollection about a recent event…

I just completed a dog-sitting gig with two of my friendly four-legged beasts. Actually, one is a mini-Schnauzer (sp?) and the other a Westie. A Westie is the dog you see in those Caesar dog food commercials. Small dogs with big attitudes. They both loved their daily walks. And, it provided a workout for me, as well. My entire body got a workout keeping those two on track. (They were on leashes.)

Anyways, the Schnauzer had leg surgery about 8 months ago. It’s interesting to see the parallels between dogs and humans regarding the recuperation process. Basically, it’s the same. You start out slow and gradually increase your time and duration in all areas. I find it quite interesting, actually. This little gal (dog) has it down, though. She doesn’t jump up when she wants to be picked up. She can jump sometimes, though. I know because I saw her when she didn’t think I was looking.

Her energy level is not where it used to be. That’s a parallel to tkr recuperation. There’s the favoring of the surgical leg, which we all do. (At least, I know I have without realizing it. It’s kind of catching up to me now. :?) That’s a parallel.

When animals cannot do something, it goes without saying that the reason is physical and not mental. When humans cannot do something, why is it we sometimes hear..”You can do it if you wanted to?” It is not always mind over matter. Thought to ponder…

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Using Ankle Weights & A TKR

Recently (today), I figured it might be fun and adventurous to start using 2 pound ankle weights on each leg while going on my daily walks.  It worked out great!  There is no way that my tkr leg would have allowed this only a few short months ago.  How time heals all, eh?

Until today, the ankle weights were used to strengthen my quadriceps while laying down.  Or, they were used to straighten my hamstring out while laying on my stomach (OUCH!!)  Truthfully, they are a great asset for building up leg muscles.

This information is meant as a form of sharing since – well – if it can work for me, perhaps it will work for you as well.

Rock on!

14 Months After My TKR – Progression Update

Sharing personal experiences about my 14 months after my tkr – progression update.

Hi my favorite readers! It has been 14 months after my tkr – total knee replacement surgery. Some of my readers have been wanting to know about what they need to be concerned about, what to expect, and/or are they progressing like others. Here is where I am at. You can use it as a general guideline, since everyone recuperates at their own pace.

I must admit, however, that I am cautious about talking about all of this. It seems that Murphy’s Law follows me everywhere. As soon as I say how great something is doing, BOING, it acts up again. I’ll take a risk, anyways in writing this – just because I want to help others going through the same thing…..;)

Walking. Starting out VERY slowly, now I can walk at brisk pace similar to that of a speed walker.

Hamstring. After months and months of painful stretching exercises, my hamstring is finally stretched out. When I walk, I can feel my tkr leg swing like a “normal” leg. Nice.

Nerve pain. In recent posts, I was commenting on the severe pain that ran on the outside of my knee from my lower back to my ankle. It has decreased tremendously.

Leg straightening. First out of surgery, the main concern was my leg needing straightened out. This is where the hamstring stretching came into play. PAINFUL, yet effective. My leg is straightened now.

Gait. After wearing an inch shoe lift for 30 years, my gait was off after my tkr. Now, I need to wear a shoe lift again, but my gait is more “normal” than ever.

Flexibility. This is the area I need to work on. It is at around 100. However, after having trauma 33 years ago, I am not that concerned about it. It is much better than prior to my tkr. And, I will continue to work on it daily.

Quadriceps. Immediately after my total knee replacement, my quadriceps needed working on big time. Now they are strong enough to support my leg and tkr knee. That is an important happening to mention in my 14 months after my tkr update.

Leg movement. This has gotten progressibly better, only because I have done exercises diligently. I can now move my tkr leg in all directions. This was impossible the first few months out of a tkr.

Stiffness. My tkr knee does get stiff. I counteract this by riding my upright bike every day. That helps immensely.

Sleeping. We all know about the difficulties, or lack of, sleeping during the first few months after a tkr. Well, just within the last month, I noticed I can – for the most part – sleep painlessly. I also can sleep in any position I want without extreme discomfort. NICE!

Laying flat. Even though I can lay my tkr leg flat onto a surface (such as a bed), after about 15 minutes it does sometimes start to hurt behind my knee. Then, I just prop it up on a pillow. It could be much worse.

Well, that is about it. Considering what my total knee replacement recuperation was like the first year after surgery (frustrating, painful, sporadic, etc.), it has improved 100% in only two months.

My post has been written. Please don’t respond, Murphy. 😕

Copyrighted Information, 2009.

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