Can we get a good workout even if we have an old injury, a new body part, or chronic problems along with plain good old aging? I have worked with people with a wide variety of issues. After being cleared to exercise by their health care professional, they come to me because they want to get “unstuck” and find ways to work out with their new knee, new hip, or their broken foot. We work together to build their “move vocabulary.” This creates a customized library of exercises that they can perform and build upon. My clients can still reap the benefits of a thorough workout. To help in the process, I apply three rules to create plans for people with different abilities. These rules were actually the guidelines of conduct at my children’s elementary school. They can apply to a lot of scenarios but here is how I apply them to exercise.
Rule 1: Be safe
The goal is to maintain our good health so we never do anything that could be unsafe. That is why I modify exercises to adapt to clients’ fitness level and abilities.
Rule 2: Show respect
Show respect to your body and it will serve you well. Respect that new body part or that knee with arthritis. There is a difference between a nice burn and pain. Respect your limitations and work hard within your limits by using moves that work for your body. It might make you angry to not have full range of motion or to not be able to jump but the idea is to adjust NOW to protect your assets, still get a challenging workout, and continue to progress. Be proud of what you CAN do instead of being mad about what you CANNOT do. This simple change of attitude will lighten up your heart.
Rule 3: Take responsibility
Yes, you need to take charge and be the boss of your body. You have to implement your plan because no one can work out and do the hard work for you. You have to SHOW UP to create the wellness/fitness you wish for. That takes time and consistency. Nobody said this was going to be easy, but I can guarantee that you will be extremely proud of yourself.