Fun at Physio!

The words fun and Physio very rarely end up in the same sentence, especially by me. This weeks Physio session, on Wednesday, is the first time it has made it possible. I had secretly been hoping it would rain that afternoon as I didn’t fancy going out for a walk but as it turned out I needn’t have worried. With only three of us in the class this week it was a nice number to have in the gym.

The Physio dived straight in to the cupboard and brought out the trolley, I thought we were going to use the Wii Fit but she was going for the DVD Player instead. I noticed a DVD which I had seen on Amazon and was wondering whether to get it or not, ‘Leanne’s Chair Workout’ by amputee Leanne Grose. It belonged to one of our Physio’s other patients, which she has borrowed to test on some subjects, it emerged that we were those test subjects. It’s by a woman, with other women instructing the exercises and for all-intense and purposes mainly for women. I tried to get into the spirit of the warm up, disco and combat sections that we did, it was all a bit too much for the guys (who were not very enthusiastic at all) and the cheesy music and commentary didn’t help either. Still, we had a bit of a laugh but were kind of glad when it had finished. I can imagine it would appeal to some women and the slightly older generation but not for men. I would have preferred a harder workout with more exercise variation, as it was very repetitive.

We then went off to do individual exercises, I had walk up and down the gym gripping a ball between my feet. It definitely worked those thigh muscles as I took my loads of little pigeon steps. I had more than one scary moment when the knee was not completely locked out, as I must have been slightly on my toes. I must have been on that fine line of recovery as how I managed to lock it out and not go down and hit the deck I will never know. My second exercise involved my ankles being tied together with Thera-Band, steady, and then side stepping trying not to hold onto the parallel bar. Not long after side stepping to my left I could feel the clicking of the tissue rolling over the bone. I was told to stop and go back the other way, for some reason it was fine going to my right so that’s the only way I am allowed to go now. The fun and games started when I got paired with Matt, the double amputee (one above and one below knee) who I met in my first Physio session back in advanced class.

My Physio explained the reason she paired me off with Matt, it went along the lines of “I’m putting you two together as I know Helen will do all the exercises”. Matt being a cheeky chap I gather has the tendency to skip a few of the counts out of each set he is given. There have been plenty of times I have felt like doing that too. It may be more a motivational thing than anything else, I certainly don’t think he is lazy. Well I can safely say I know he’s not, as he was walking exceptionally well on his crutches with both legs on, puts me to shame really. That said he only has a problem with his lower limb prosthetic and not the upper one. I could be doing so much and wearing the leg for miles longer if my socket fitted better. I think that like the majority of us he has the motivation to get on at home, practice walking and try to start living our lives again but coming to Physio and doing exercises etc. is a different unenthusiastic ball game.

The first exercise that I had to do with Matt we facing each other either side of a parallel bar, we held a Thera-Band between us in opposite hands then one of us had to pull our hand backwards while the other had to keep their had by their side. This is good for balance and I had a little tip for Matt to help him with that O’l Chestnut. If you pick a spot on the wall and focus on it, it will significantly improve your balance (we also rely on the horizon and horizontal objects for balance), which is why balance becomes so problematic when you close your eyes. Matt had a go and it really did made a difference to how stable he was using that technique. The most fun and best laughs came in our second to last exercise. Matt had to hold the medicine ball with his hands either side of it, I had my hands above and below it. One of us had to try and turn the ball one way and the other person had to stop them from turning the ball, we then had to try different combinations of hand position, direction and turning or preventing. I thought it was a bit of an unfair exercise to put me against a guy for this, my Physio said as much but I was game. I thought I just have to be as determined, well even more so, on what I was trying to do. We started and I put in every ounce of strength and determination I had and Matt was doing the same. Talk about evenly matched, we were trying so hard against one another, the expressions on our faces showed that. The other guy in the class, the Physio and Physio Assistant were now laughing as we were going redder in the face from the effort. Sweat was pouring from us as we had multiple attempts at this exercise. Matt said that he couldn’t believe how strong I was and to be honest nor could I. It must be all that wheelchair work, although it doesn’t take much of an incline to have me struggling with the chair.

It was great, one of the best session’s I’ve had. A bit of fun with the exercise DVD and plenty of jokes made about it too. A few serious exercises in the middle and a battle of the sexes’ to finish it off. A most enjoyable session I have to say, shame they cant all be like that but lets hope for a few more that are.

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