When we use Movement As Medicine, we need to set goals: SMART goals. If you are new to the concept of SMART goals, click on this link “Make 2018 Your Year for SMART Goals” and catch up!
My current general goals are:
- 7,500 steps a day, including active rest days
- Weight training Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday
- Swimming Wednesday & Sunday
I say general goals because within each of those, there are more specific goals, e.g. improve my walking pace to 10 minutes per kilometre, increase my leg press weight to 110 kilograms, swim 1,000 metres in a session.
Today is Sunday. I did not swim today. I adjusted my goals due to my condition requirements. Or, to put it another way, I
was happy decided to miss that swim goal today. Sometimes we have to. Everything has been going swimmingly (pun intended) however on Friday I did something unusual: unusual for my body, that is. I scrubbed dirt off a window cavity frame well above my head. In fact I was on a stepladder. Yes, I do shoulder presses at the gym, but that is a very controlled action. Scrubbing stuff is not such a controlled action. Oh, I inherited the dirt, I didn’t create it! Just in case you wondered.
As is typical for my joints, two days later (today) the joint I may have overloaded while living life is complaining. The same two day lead time happened with my wrist recently when I used a manual screwdriver to screw 48 screws while building two bedside drawer units.
In that particular case, Friday being an active rest day, my grumpy wrist didn’t upset my walking – however on the Saturday I did drop my bicep curl weight. My wrist has to hold the weight. Often we can adjust activity to ensure we are operating in a pain-free range. We can walk for less time or at a slower speed, but do more walks on the day, for example if it is knees, hips, feet or back that is grumpy. I can temporarily lower a weight, as I did with the bicep curl, to ensure I don’t aggravate any inflammation. In that case, inflammation I had caused by doing too much twisting of the wrist.
Swimming is not such an adjustable activity. I can’t do half a stroke. I can’t reduce the range of motion of my arm to swim within a pain-free range. I’d sink and that is not a good look.
I pulled out my hydrotherapy equipment and did 30 minutes of exercise in the hydrotherapy pool. The top picture is my carefully rinsed equipment drying. From the left:
- Push bells which I also use as dumbbells. I got these instead of aqua dumbbells as I don’t have to grip them, they strap onto my hand.
- Pillow. I use this in the corner of the pool when I do certain leg exercises. Purely for comfort.
- The bag I carry the equipment in.
- Aqua cuffs for the ankles – this particular type is no longer available, it seems.
I bought these from theraquatics.com.au some time ago if you are interested in getting any equipment yourself. Theraquatics are a registered NDIS provider.
The ankle cuffs have extension pieces, therefore the two can be joined to make (for example) a waist “cuff”.
Setting goals is important. Just as important, when we are managing chronic conditions, is the ability to say to one’s self, “It is OK to adapt today”. That can be difficult for some of us. For example, I find it VERY difficult, let’s say impossible, to end a planned 2 kilometre walk at 1.93 kilometres. I’ll walk to the clothesline and back to get that final 70 meters! I like round numbers, I’m an accountant! What can I say?
Yet I knew when I was making my breakfast this morning that my right shoulder was not happy. I knew that swimming would quite likely exacerbate the situation. Then I’d need to take Prednisolone to settle it down. So I did the sensible thing. Gritted my teeth and let my swimming goal slide for the day. I replaced it with an alternative activity. One where I could easily control my range of motion.
Am I annoyed? Yes. Of course I am. At the same time I am also pleased with myself for being sensible!
Goals are good. Adjusting goals is sometimes necessary and also good. Even for stubborn people!