Category: Excercise

Playing on the Water

Playing on the Water

For any person with a chronic disease, or rare disease, or anything causing ongoing pain, normal summer activities can seem like the most challenging types of fun.  You have to plan and plan and plan for something as simple as a boat ride.  Do I have the meds I need, did I bring the right equipment “just in case”, do I have to do anything the next day if I over do it, is there medical attention near by if something goes wrong, if there is will they be able to properly handle my condition?  This is just the tip of the question iceberg.  But the nice thing is, the fun summer activities can be done, especially with a little advice from someone who has already done it.  

I had a chance to go visit family on a lake up north for a few days.  This also afforded the opportunity to try out some new water sports.  I was always a fish, so being in the water is nothing new to me, and I had loved going tubing as a kid.  But in the last few years those things have happened less and less to the point of non existence.  So I was naturally apprehensive at the thought of getting back on the water to try the traditional summer sports, i.e water sking, jet sking, knee boarding, tubing and so on.  

There was all the normal preparation involved, make sure to pre-medicate with a good anti-inflammatory, have pain medication on had, assess current body statues for pain and points of tenderness to make sure everything is good to go.  I had been doing pretty good, nothing flaring at the moment so I just made sure I had meds ready for later and ice packs just in case.  

My first experience was with water skies, of which I have tried before and was successful at getting up and skiing. But to say the least it was really hard on my body back then and I suffered afterward.  This time I was prepared to be careful and not push myself if there was even a hint of over doing it.  Luckily I had calm water, so no worries about dealing with wakes from other boats, plus it was less hard on my knees to keep balance.  I got up right away, which of course I was super proud of, and was able to make it once around the small lake, another victory.  By the time I was done my back was a little sore from trying to hold every muscle tight so I wouldn’t fall, but otherwise okay.  After a break, some stretching and some water I had my first chance to try knee boarding.  This made me really nervous since I have osgood-schlaters in my knees, so kinda like tiny bone hooks where the doctor always hits your knee to check reflexes.  So naturally kneeling is painful for everyday activities but bouncing up and down on a board on the water seemed like an even worse idea.  But I wanted to give it a chance because you never know what you can do until you try.  I talked it over with the person driving the boat so they knew I might bail right away if it felt like it was going to be problematic.  Luckily and surprisingly it wasn’t!  Because of the high density foam on the board and more anatomical position I was sitting in, I didn’t put any pressure on the portion of my knee that I normally do and worry about.  Plus it was less stressful on my body overall and more comfortable being that I was closer to the water so If I had to bail it would be easy and less painful when hitting the water.  Plus I actually took a minute to try kneeling on the knee board on land before giving it a shot in the water which was smart since it gave me more confidence to start. 

In the end after two days and five rides I was doing pretty good.  I took a hot bath to sooth sore muscles, and dosed with my anti-inflammatory for a few days.  Not to much pain beyond what you would expect from a physical activity.   And I had a lidocaine infusion coming up so that was just good planning in case I did cause a flare the lidocaine would help prevent it from getting bad.  

In conclusion don’t limit your summer fun to the beach and sidelines.  Take a bit and figure out a way to do those summer activities that make summer worth having.  All you have to do is take a little bit of time and plan out how your going to try those activities.  There is nothing you can’t do with a little bit of planning and creative thinking. 

A Day with the Dogs: Outagamie Dog Park

A Day with the Dogs: Outagamie Dog Park

Sometimes taking the time to do nothing but sit and enjoy the day and surround yourself with furry friends is the best place you can be.   There are many places I have been but none that can hold my attention and fill me with joy the way a good dog park does.  I love being able to walk around and meet all the furry friends running around enjoying themselves.  Recently I visited the Outagamie County Dog Park, and it was such a treat.  This is a really nice park and great for someone needing low key exercise, but who has trouble staying focused due to boredom.  There are trails that wind through the park with mild inclines and declines.  Due to the dense patches of foliage there is always a path with shade and plenty of places along the trails to sit and rest if you need to.  There are a few common areas which are mostly open but with lots of seating in both the sun and shade.  I truly loved my time here and spent nearly four hours just interacting with the people and their dogs which ranged in all sizes, breeds, and ages.  This is a no fee park but one that does take donations to help maintain it.  I even had the chance to see some service dogs come in to blow off some steam.  I highly recommend taking the time if you have a dog to find a nice well maintained dog park in your area and spend a few hours here and there disconnecting from the regular dramas of life and learning to enjoy it the innocent way our four legged furry friends do. 

If you live in the area take some time to come and visit!

http://www.outagamie.org/government/n-through-z/parks/dog-park

 

Exercise

Exercise

Something I have struggled with is exercising and staying in shape for as long as I can remember.  It wasn’t that I couldn’t get in shape, but rather it was much more difficult, and I always had to fight the pain and fatigue because I just did what I was told which turns out was not the right type of training for someone with HPP.  Over the years prior to diagnosis I started to learn what things I could do more of and what would cause the most problems.  Another key thing I learned is to have access to a hot tub or sauna to jump into after a workout to loosen and relax the muscles preventing excessive stiffness and soreness.  Also knowing to ice problematic joints after each workout is critical for a successful exercise routine.  One of the ways to do this I had found to be not only time efficient, but quickly beneficial is to go for a cryotherapy session after a workout.  With this I am able to essentially super cool my skin temperature and let the cold seek into my deeper tissues more gradually.  It also releases a blast of serotonin, the hormone that makes you happy, so you feel extra good for several hours.  Also knowing when the appropriate time to take NSAIDS is important to maintaining good physical health.  You may have to get creative with your exercises if you can not travel to a gym but efficiency and accessibility are the name of the game.

The list below is of some key activities one can do along with notes and definitions

Weight Bearing: Feet and legs support your weight

Weight Lifting: each muscle group twice a week, low impact, machines not free weights less chance uncontrolled fall or join failure, therabands in varying elasticities.

Dancing: can be a fun controlled way to obtain cardio but also utilizing weight bearing

Swimming: the ultimate low weight bearing activity that conditions heart and lungs and also allows for a cardio and semi cross fit workout building good muscle mass

Balance Improvement: Tia Chi is a way to improve your balance in a controlled setting, fragile bones mean you have to be more careful, and means you need to have better balance to prevent falls

Simple calisthenics: repetition of a troubling activity such as sitting and standing, repeat motion until tired as many times a day as tolerable

  • Need to maintain a good balance between strong muscles to keep the body strong and weight bearing exercises to keep bones strong

Below is a website that provides a list of workouts for person with fragile and soft bones, or for anyone needing a low impact workout.

http://www.nmbreakthroughs.org/fitness/safe-workouts-for-fragile-bones