Nothing inspires me to take care of my health like watching my female relatives age. I have their genes, after all, so they're a pretty good indication of what's ahead for me. It's been a rough few years for my mother. She suffers from arthritis. Her knees ache so badly she's had to cut back on her great passion, gardening. Even standing in her front yard raking up the mimosa blossoms has become too much for her. She finally found a holistic practitioner who helped her cope with the pain, but it was just a band-aid. Just last week my mother finally faced the inevitable: She had the first of two knee replacement surgeries.
Those of you who have known knee surgery have seen that it doesn't magically transform your knees. There's months of physical therapy, a recovery that can take forever, and then you still have to do the other knee! My poor mom, I hate that she has to go through this! But -- I'd also hate to go through it myself. Can I prevent the same thing happening to my knees?
I wonder this because my knees are already starting to get a bit squeaky. I've noticed in the past couple of years that my alignment is a little funky, which might be why my knees are wearing out faster. So that -- plus my mother's own knee issues -- have lit the proverbial fire under my ass to get with the strength-training program.
After years of just "doing yoga" in a totally random, sporadic way I've finally joined a gym and am working with a trainer. I explained to him that one of my goals is to strengthen my legs in ways that will support joint health -- and at the very least, avoid exercises that will damage my joints. I've already learned a lot. I've been doing lunges the wrong way for years! And I suspect I have more to learn.
I've also worked with a chiropractor and would like to maybe see a physical therapist. All this adds up financially, and that worries me a little. But then I think about what I could be saving on the other end -- surgery, not to mention work days lost in recovery plus after-care. It's worth it! Can I beat arthritis? You'll have to ask me that in another 10 years or so. But I'll keep working out in the hopes that it'll work.
Have you or any other women in your family had knee replacement surgery?
Image via phoneymanflickr/Flickr