Thursday, December 10, 2015


     Turns out my tired legs feeling (described in my prior Burn Out? essay) was caused largely by an uncomfortable temporary chair at work, not so much burn out or old age. I didn't realize it until they felt painful after a workout and upon sitting on a hard surface and I recalled that all of it started just about when I started sitting on the uncomfortable chair. Subsequently, I added a knit zabuton (Japanese style square cushion) my grandmother gave me ages ago and things improved markedly. I even added a padded zabuton from Mom to my wood dining room chair at home and now my workout runs are lengthening and without so much discomfort afterwards. They're still not back to where they were before, but at least they're headed that way. Nonetheless, the rest did me good—overall I feel lots better.
     A year ago I got tennis elbow on my right forearm related to trying to beef up my always slight build using dumbbells. My right-hand dominance had something to do with it because my left forearm was fine, even though I was doing the exact same exercises with it. I soon noticed that using poor writing technique (inadequate or no wrist support) aggravated the pain and that it helped when I held the pencil looser and took breaks from the computer. For awhile it was so bad I was doing everything I could left-handed. It slowed things a lot when I was on the keyboard, but fortunately, I had no tight deadlines for a span.
     After that, my right shoulder got bursitis, so that lifting it high, crossing it over to my left, or stretching to scratch my back or remove a shirt caused pain and stiffness. I couldn't even throw a ball or swing a racket without worsening it. Ice, rest, and later, stretching and strengthening exercises helped, but it's still not one hundred percent. I think it was lingering effects of the tennis elbow and leaning heavy on my forearms while reading crouched beside my bed while doing quiet time (bible reading)—a practice which I've since stopped.
     Medical essays stated that it's common for those in their 50's or older to get these types of injuries from weight lifting or using improper technique. No surprise then that I did all these same things when I was younger and nothing unpleasant resulted, certainly no injuries that took months to heal.
     Just an unpleasant fact, then, that as I age, I'll have to be more and more vigilant about what I do and how I do it lest I end up getting some new injury doing something that never bothered me before.
     Which is why Braden always comes with me on Costco runs to do all the heavy lifting, although I insist that we handle the fifty pound sack of rice together, one on each side, two hands lift on the count of three.
     I always used to wonder why Mom used to get frustrated by the inability to do things she always used to; now I see myself in her shoes and understand. It's easy for the young and healthy to take things for granted—Braden thinks it's ridiculous of me to fret about his lifting technique—too bad we on the other side have no such luxury. On the upside, perhaps we elders have a bit more wisdom?


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