It’s a sad fact that the less you exercise, the less you feel like exercising. As my mother got older, she, like her mother before her, had a lot of trouble with arthritis. Eventually, she gave up doing handicrafts such as sewing and crochet because her hands hurt too much. As the degeneration spread, she stopped moving around any more than necessary and the less she moved, the weaker she got.
I started having joint problems when I was only in my mid-thirties. I laughingly called it “traveling arthritis” because the pain was located in a different joint each winter. The first episode involved a knee that ached all one winter. Everytime I sat down, I covered my lap with an afghan, like an old granny, to keep that knee warm. When the weather warmed up, the pain subsided only to flair again as temperatures dropped.
The next winter, the problem moved to my left shoulder and so on. By the time I was 40, my hands hurt most of the time. I was working in the data center of a trucking company. This was in ancient computer times. The system filled an L-shaped 300 square foot room. The System 38 IBM hard drives were prone to overheating, so it was necessary to keep the room temperature below 70º F at all times. The thermostat was set at 65° F year round. I wore gloves with the fingertips cut out and my hands still ached terribly by the end of the day.
Around this time, I heard about a dietary supplement called Glucosamine. I decided it to give it a try. By the next winter my pain was nearly gone. I’ve been taking it in various forms for more than 20 years now and I hardly ever have to deal with arthritis pain anymore. The only exception is the knee I injured in 2004.
I stepped in a hole and twisted my left leg so severely that the top of the shin bone splintered vertically. Needless to say, all the ligaments and tendons were badly damaged as well. To repair it, the doctor attached a metal plate to the outside of the bone, just below the knee, with screws. It took six months for me to be able to use the knee normally without some sort of support.
Presently, the knee sometimes pops, but it seldom hurts. The pain is lower, in the shin bones, it isn’t usually severe, but it does limit my exercise ability. I still take my Glucosamine. The problem is that a week without walking leaves my struggling to make my mile. My left knee & shin ache, my right hip has spells of sciatica that is made worse by strain. My wind gets short as well, then the heat sucks up my energy and I just don’t want to struggle with it all. Until I remember my mother sitting in her rocker, in pain every day and never getting better.
So, on the days when it is too hot to walk outdoors, I try to remember to get up from my chair and run through my Yoga workout a couple of times during the day. It may not burn enough calories to help me lose my excess pounds, but it does keep my joints from freezing up.