I had refused to lift weights in any exercise regime. My patent line was, “That’s what the man in my life is supposed to do, why should I have to bother with that.” But I was left with no choice when part of my rehab entailed building more muscle mass around my scapula to support my shoulder joint. To be able to do any movement pain free I would have to build strength into my arms. The joke was now on me. I needed me to do more than what my muscled man could do for me.
Many of the women have that fear that weight training will bulk them up. But as we grow older, to combat osteoporosis or any other illness such as arthritis, spine and hip joint problem, lower back pain etc, our body has to prepare itself to withstand the effects of wear and tear.
Understanding my aversion to using weights, Swapneel smartly introduced me to the Thera band. “It’s a resistance band, you need to just learn how to use it correctly.” That was my starting point. Cohered into specific rehab exercises I couldn’t even argue with him. I progressed from low to the medium strength band so fast that even when we had a set back and I had to go for extensive therapy at the Ambani Hospital, I refused to use the one with lower strength. Six months into my therapy Swapneel said, “it’s about time we take it a notch higher, I think you are ready.”22
But I was going to travel for my daughter’s graduation and I was skeptical for the first time about progress. “I don’t want to lift dumbbells,” I had argued, “I want exercises that I can do anywhere. I don’t want to have a relapse because I couldn’t go to the gym.” I guess he understood the quiver of pain in my voice as the very thought scared the daylights out of me. I was determined to come out of this stronger. Strength training can come in different forms and that’s how Swapneel introduced me to Pilates and Functional training. “These are exercises you can do anywhere but they will guarantee a lean muscle building process.” he said, “You just have to be extremely body conscious and make sure that your form is absolutely correct. It will be slower maybe than what you expect but results will be long lasting. Are you game?”
I had heard about Pilates from my friend, Farah Khan. But she had always been lean and strong, a sports person in school so I had actually never thought I could even attempt the things she tries. But now was the time to fight my fears.
I looked at Swapneel and nodded, “I will do it.” We began with basic exercise of Angel wings, Y’s and T’s on the swissball, plank, side planks and hiplifts. A lot of core strengthening exercises that stress on stability and endurance. I still lift only minimum weights, but I can plank with a number of intense variations, I use my own body weight to maximize my form, and I’m really aware of each twitch of any muscle in my body. I don’t do everything perfectly but my increased awareness helps me correct my form if I am going wrong. This certainly decreases my chances of hurting myself in the gym.
And yes! Most importantly I can take a holiday without fear, as I know I can get back really soon. Like Swapneel said, “Progress slowly and steadily but retain it indefinitely.”
Make new goals for the new year, share them here so you are commited to making them happen. And let us celebrate together when u demolish them for higher prospects.