I am trying to figure out what the equivalent in the States would be - physical therapist is all I can come up with. I know the equivalent exists as my folks have gone to one. This would just be a phys. therapist who specialises in...well...learning to exercise properly. Wow...I am all tied up in knots here. ;)
Anyway, here's what I learned at the "fizzy-o's" (which is how the Aussies shorten the name). I had an initial consultation a week earlier in which we discussed my physical problems and goals. These were:
1.) Continue recovery from my frozen shoulder episode, build upper body strength.
2.) Work on my gimpy right knee.
3.) Build core strength.
4.) Work on motivation for all of the above.
I went back this last Thursday. Katie put together a (seemingly!) simple series of exercises. She had me warm up first on a stationary bike. I hate stationary bikes, almost as much as I hate elliptical machines.
Then we worked on POSTURE. Oh, my. Posture is my big problem. Posture is hard. Here's what I have to remember: soften knees/"get off my lower back (lift spine)/ shoulders back and down/neck relaxed/butt stuck out. The "butt stuck out" bit just stymies me. I guess I am a "tucker". Just means rolling the pelvis back rather than tucking it under. Who knew?
Then she selected a resistance band and tethered it up to a weight stand. Again....POSTURE. Upright rows, learning to use my shoulder blades properly. I hunch my shoulders constantly and use my shoulders wrong constantly too. She said our shoulder blades should "swing around" rather than just lifting from top of the shoulder. I'm so out of whack with that, it's hard going learning to do it right. I've spent the weekend unhunching and taking note when I'm reaching out wrong. It really is true though. I hunch up then reach even to do something as simple as opening a door or cabinet. Phew.
After upright rows, standing chest presses. Again, proper posture.
Then standing biceps curls. Proper form and posture. By this time, after only one set of 12 reps done properly, I"m whooped. Using muscles correctly is amazing.
Then calf raises. Those are a good stretch, but dang me.....posture posture posture!
Now comes balancing on one leg, proper posture and all. Amazing the stretch it gives around the hip joint.
Then she straps on a 4 kilo leg weight, and I do sitting leg raises to strengthen the muscles around my knees. Then those leg raises where you hang on to the back of a chair and raise your leg at the knee, to the back. There, isn't that a good technical description?
Then I had to sit in the chair with knees in line with ankles, and stand up. That was a test. This is to strengthen the quad muscles in my thighs and help me learn to use ankles/knees/thighs/hips as they are meant to be used, all together.
She also showed how to properly climb stairs, again to use all four joints together rather than putting all the stress on one joint.
Last but not least is a version of Kegels, for lack of a better description. It's to activate deep core muscles rather than superficial muscles.
She sent me off with an appointment in one month, a packet of instructions, and a chart. I'm going to walk four days a week, 40 minutes at a time for the aerobic part, and all the other things I do three days a week.
I had some minor muscle pain that evening, but it was the kind of soreness that is good - because I knew I'd done something good. I was going to join Contours, which is along the same principles of Curves, but Katie recommended I get all these new-use techniques down first. I can see the importance. I don't want another year of pain and inflexibility!