A 20 km bike ride on Saturday. A 60 minute yoga class that afternoon. A 9km hike on Sunday… A year ago a weekend like the one just gone would have meant a very sore Monday for me. But today, almost four months on from my hip replacement, I feel great!!
AWESOME actually. It’s not just the 22 degree day and sunshine (although how amazing is anything-but-winter?!!). It’s that I don’t hurt. I don’t have any muscle soreness. No joint stiffness. None of that underlying antagonising sensation in my hips.
To be fair, my cardiovascular fitness is possibly the worst it’s been since I was 12.
My rehab has focused on strength and flexibility, rather than cardio… also cardio is kinda, well, boring. Unless it’s purposeful (cycling to commute) or expressive (dancing).
Rehab? Well, it’s kinda boring too. But I can see more purpose in being able to retrain my muscles to work correctly for my lifetime, than training to run 10km. The train station is only 800m from home and airport concourses are definitely shorter than a kilometre. #purposefulrunning
On a serious note, years of moving incorrectly due to activating the wrong muscles because I subconsciously wanted to avoid the joint pain associated with activating the correct muscles, takes time to undo.
Time in the gym, time spent doing specific exercises to re-establish the mind-to-muscle connection. Exercises to isolate those muscles that have switched off segments of themselves over time. Hello adductor, hello glute med.
The functional movement diehards would say, “Why do isolation work if your muscles never move in isolation outside the gym?” Yeah sure buddy, that’s cool if your muscles are moving properly in the first place. ALL THE TIME. And you never get or have been injured. Hmmm, that sounds like… oh wait, no one I know.
Rehab is important. Now I’ve never been the most patient or committed person when it comes to rehab – my left shoulder for example, is incredibly weak likely due to being born with a cystic hygroma. Have I ever put enough commitment into training it properly to balance it out with the other, much stronger, shoulder? Nope. But now, now I see the benefits of rehab! It only took a hip replacement to get there. Haha ha ha… ha… ha.
As an aside, how often is that the case in life though? Things have to hit rock bottom for people to do something to change their pattern of behaviour. Usually that change is quite drastic.
Fortunately, I’ve always loved the gym and doing weight training. In winter, the gym is like a cosy little playground. As such, doing rehab has been mostly enjoyable, despite not being able to “smash out the reps ’til failure”. Sometimes, you don’t actually need to go hard or go home. Amazing huh?
So life has pretty much returned to normal – better than normal! I’m weight training in the gym 4 days a week, doing yoga most days, clinical Pilates once a week and yes, the occasional cardio. I’m moving, specifically squatting, better than I have in 6-7 YEARS. Also (sorry mum), I can open my legs wider than I have been able to since my early 20’s!
What can’t I do? I haven’t tried hardcore dancing again yet. Or a full backbend in yoga. Otherwise, the splits (well supported by a bolster and blocks!!) felt good in Saturday’s yoga class. Hiking 9km was fine, I’m no mountain goat yet but I am learning to trust my feet, my legs and my hips to support and balance my bodyweight again.
Onwards and upwards and full steam ahead!