Tuesday, June 11, 2013

on why physical therapy does a body good

I admit that I was a little skeptical on going to physical therapy when it was prescribed to me. Why? I'm really not sure. Maybe because it's something new to me and I feel like why partake in something that I've lived without these past 27.5 years? And to be honest, it made me feel weak, which I wasn't expecting. I WAS weak - my knee was screaming like a mother at me - and yet, I couldn't come to terms with that fact that I was injured.

Sure, I got by those first 27.5 years...but these past 4 months of knee pain? Yeah, I can do without that. And if (since) I want to continue pounding pavement these next 3 decades, I decided it was time to really get down to serious, real-runner business and figure out this body of mine.

And I am so glad I did. Because my physical therapist? Is the bomb. I've only been twice and already I feel like a new, better runner.

At my first appointment, she had me show her the strength-training exercises I do at home. Now, that was a tad embarrassing given that I've done a little number called "The Mini-Skirt Workout" since it came out in, ohhh, 2009. (Maybe. Maybe it was actually 2007. The fact is, it works! Mini-skirts are like magnets to these thighs.)

As soon as I got to the lunge part, she was like WHOA, girl, there you go. That's your problem. Your knees are sneaking inward, when they should be going in a straight line downwards.

The oh-so-accurate diagnosis? Weak hips. Which I really should have known, since my hips are constantly telling me they're weak and my hips don't lie. She also magically determined that my right tibalis anterior (ohh, fancy name) was "stuck" so to speak, and that it needs to be worked out a little more.

She gave me exercises for both my hips and for me tibalis, and va-voom, 5 days in and I feel great, albeit sore. It's weird to feel my muscles and form shifting after just a few short days of trying a new routine. It's sort of weird to imagine all the different things the body secretly does underneath all this skin and stuff we carry around. And with that, how easy it is to modify those by certaian exercises - who knew ankle circle could un-stick a stubborn tibalis?

My physical therapist-gone-goddess  has me steadily increasing my mileage (so long as it doesn't hurt anything), by instructing me to run one mile/day for three days, then two miles/day the next three days, then three miles/day the next three days, etc. If my knee does start acting up like the attention-seeking child it is, then I am to divide that day's mileage in half and run that. Pretty doable, I say!

I hereby dedicate this lovely Tuesday to weak hips! Oh, and for coming in third (cough, out of four teams) in Beer Olympics 2013 this weekend. Now there is an athletic accolade worth boasting about.

Cheers for beers!

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