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Osteoarthritis & exercise

Friday, November 09, 2007

I have a touch of osteoarthritis at the base of my thumb in my right hand. After a major car accident (end of 1999), I had a lot of pain there & had to wear a brace for a few months. X-rays showed that of the 9 pebblelike bones just above the wrist, one little bone was kinda scooped out, worn away. A specialist told me he sees this type of arthritis a lot in women who do fine-motor work day to day. Fortunately, I was able to build up strength in my hand eventually, & now it bothers me only rarely.

I did find that I can no longer bike with the typical bicycle configuration--handlebars that tilt your body forward so you're putting a lot of weight on your hands/wrists. I gave my old bike away. When I can afford it, I hope to buy an old-lady bike that allows me to sit up nearly straight.

Occasionally I have a bit of pain in my knees. That hasn't been diagnosed as arthritis; it may just be muscle/tendon issues that come & go. In any case, doing squats & lunges has strengthened my knees so that the problem has become more rare.

Which brings me to some encouraging info in the osteoarthritis SP e-mail I opened this morning:

* A 14-year study published in Arthritis Research and Therapy, found that aerobic exercise was associated with a substantial and significant reduction in pain, among men and women of various shapes and sizes.

* A 2003 study published in the Journal of Arthritis and Rheumotology found that people with arthritis can safely improve their levels of physical fitness using a regular strength and endurance training program.

* Long-term studies have shown that moderate weight-bearing activity can reduce bone loss and joint damage in people with arthritis, without increasing pain or disease severity.

* According to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, strength training can help people with arthritis preserve bone density and improve muscle mass, strength and balance.

The conclusion: "It's no secret that exercise is beneficial for people with arthritis. Regular exercise helps decrease pain, delays disability, reduces stiffness, and improves mobility, range of motion, and overall function. And exercise doesn't have to be strenuous to offer benefits." My experience bears this out!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MARYLOUD 11/9/2007 11:18PM

    I had to buy a special seat for my bicycle (which I should get out and use) that has a wide saddle. The bikes they make nowadays come with these skinny little things that ride right up your butt! So I special ordered a wide saddle bike seat for my bike. It makes riding much more comfortable.

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PJBOKC 11/9/2007 1:55PM

    Ruth - thank you for the awesome information on the benefits of exercise - at any level - as we grow older. We all know it's good for us - but it really drives the benefits home looking at the specific information you provided - should motivate us significantly. Dr. Oz was on Oprah this week (I think). I was just listening as I did things around the house. He was talking about the tremendous benefits of exercise for women in preventing osteoporosis. I'm with you on the bikes that cause you to lean forward. I bought a new bike a few years ago. I bought a Schwinn (sp?) Cruiser - a replica of the old Schwinn with big tires. It's awesome to ride - I need to do it more.

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A hungry day

Thursday, November 08, 2007

I went a bit over my calories today! I've been really faithful to the suggested range for quite a while now, so I decided to let myself relax a little. It wasn't anything exaggerated: I've ended up at 1,621 calories when my suggested range (pretty standard, I think) is between 1,200 & 1,550. I was still hungry after lunch, so I went down to the cafe at work & bought a big cookie. Then my husband poured beer at supper, & I hadn't drunk any in several weeks so I agreed. No big deal.

It just feels really, really good to be almost well. You know how wearing certain clothes can make you feel good too: I wore my favorite black jeans (without topstitching--they look like fitted slacks) to work today, & whenever I saw myself in the bathroom mirror I felt slim & pretty.

Still have a few pounds to go for my goal, but it's nice to be able to enjoy life NOW.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PJBOKC 11/9/2007 1:44PM

    Ditto to Mary Lou's comment on 71 calories over. I still like the Weight Watchers plan to have some flex points (calories) that can be used during the week. I think it makes it much easier to stay within calories most days if you know there's flexibility for eating something special occasionally. I usually only used my daily points, and then used a few of the flex points weekly if needed. It was a great "safety net". Maybe we should build something like that into our team support criteria.

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MARYLOUD 11/8/2007 9:45PM

    71 calories. Big deal. When you throw it into the whole week it's not going to make a bit of difference. You had a great day, you were looking good and feeling good. Good for you!

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And the doctor says . . .

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

I'm basically well! She didn't hear any more noise in my lungs today. However, she said she wasn't surprised to hear that the coughing & tiredness had lasted as long as they did; she has been seeing that a lot. She encouraged me to ease back into my normal exercise routines . . .

Which I had already begun to do: this morning before the appointment I went jogging! It was just a short run, about 0.75 mile to the bank to make a deposit & back. Since I'm home today, I could run in bright fall sunshine rather than early-morning darkness. Felt really good.

Thanks for your prayers & caring, friends!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PJBOKC 11/7/2007 9:08PM

    That is such good news. I agree ease into the exercise - you're already on-the-run a lot with all your activities. Continue to get plenty of rest.

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A little YOUNGER old lady

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

I've been feeling old lately, with my energy so diminished, but today I'm almost back to normal. Last night I stayed up late to pay several personal & condo association bills & take care of other odds & ends. Getting to work an hour later than usual today was fine because I will be staying late, then stopping in the Loop for a quick supper before going to the poetry workshop that I facilitate.

Sometimes getting to-dos taken care of is more restful than trying to sleep! But after I finished last night, I slept really well.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PJBOKC 11/6/2007 8:54PM

    I'm so glad you're feeling almost back to yourself. And you're right - there's something relaxing about taking care of tasks that helps a person sleep better. I prayed you'd get a good nights rest last night. You are one busy lady!!
Hope you still keep that doc appt tomorrow. Let us know.

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STEPHANIEDIAN 11/6/2007 6:43PM

    I'm glad that you are starting to feel like your old self again!!! Have fun at the poetry reading!

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More insomnia

Monday, November 05, 2007

This time it was connected to some anxiety over finances. The business part of our condo association gathering last night involved selecting a contractor to tear off our building's roof & put on a new one. Which is VERY expensive--it will clean out our joint reserves, plus each unit will have to come up with several thousand dollars.

It will be a hardship for my husband & me. The financing has been worked out so we can pay our part gradually, but still that will be a challenge, since we are already struggling to get out of debt.

My personal prayers these days are mostly focused on seeking financial wisdom & creativity. Some ideas are coming. For example, I have decided to write a haiku cycle for my family of origin as a Christmas gift instead of buying individual or family gifts. That means close to 40 haikus--I come from a huge family! It will be a big project that I can work on during my train commute in the coming weeks.

My hope is that as we make commitments like this & take proactive steps to improve our finances, my spirit will be at rest & I'll be able to sleep peacefully, knowing that God will care for us. God has always been faithful in my life.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MBR0830 11/5/2007 11:41PM

  I know how troubling money problems can be...I think we all have experienced some of it. Just remember that prayers are always answered, even if you dont realize it. Thats a good idea with the Christmas gifts, handmade gifts are a big part of my family's tradition. I have some of the tackiest picture frames on the planet and I wouldn't trade them for anything. It is the love and attention that is important.

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PJBOKC 11/5/2007 7:26PM

    It's tough when you have finances on your mind - it can cause a lot of anxiety. We never had a spare dime when our kids were home, and we just got them out of college about 2-3 years before my husband retired at age 69. He wants me to quit working now, but I know we wouldn't be able to get by, and certainly wouldn't have any money for emergencies. Have you ever looked at the Financial Peace material by Dave Ramsey. We didn't when we were younger, but I'm reading it now and trying to follow some of the recommendations. You have your eyes in the right direction - looking up. God is always faithful. I said a prayer for you when I read your blog.

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STEPHANIEDIAN 11/5/2007 7:16PM

    I'm sorry ruth, i know finances can be tough to work around, especially when you have to help pay for something you really didn't expect to be putting money into. But a new roof sounds important, i can't believe that everyone has to put in a couple thousand dollars on top of what's being paid for. Wow. I'm sure you guys will take the proactive steps you need to improve your finances. I have faith in you.

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MARYLOUD 11/5/2007 5:58PM

    I, too, have had some sleepless nights over finances lately. I handle the finances for the family, my husband just (just - ha) brings in the paycheck. I get to figure out how to make it stretch. I'm trying to get us out of the debt we're in, without getting us in further debt. I told my husband last week we're not going to have much of a Christmas, and that really upset him, he just didn't understand why. I explained to him when gasoline went up, so did everything else, except your paycheck - we're using your entire paycheck to live, there is no "leftovers." I love your idea of the personal haiku for your family members. That is so personal. Finances years ago dictated that we stop exchanging gifts with family members, unless we happened to see them that year, then a token gift is exchanged. Usually I make something, or have some great deal that I got right after Christmas the year before.

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ILYSE721 11/5/2007 2:42PM

    I am glad you see His faithfulness. He always does things for a reason. I will be praying that He comforts you as he is showing you what He wants you to see.

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