07 Nov Let motion be your lotion – An arthritic’s tale of movement!
Finally, some words of wisdom from Queen Kong, aka Nancy Lorentz:
“Osteoarthritis is causing the weakness and pain. I’ll write you a prescription to help with the pain, but you’re going to have to learn to live with it and this decreased physical ability.” These were the words my doctor said to me less than a year ago after I lost all strength, yet gained searing pains and numbness in my arms, wrists, and fingers. I was terrified at what having this degenerative disease meant, going forward. I also wondered aloud if my relatively new obsession, parkour, had contributed to the onset of osteoarthritis (OA). My doctor disagreed, but added that high-impact sports were not good for the joints. I filled the prescription and faced the grim reality that I would have to cancel my gym membership at Urban Evolution. No more monkey swinging for me.
UE owner Salil Maniktahla and trainer Sean Hannah listened carefully to the diagnosis. Salil recounted his own battle with OA. (Wait. What? Salil has OA, too? Yes. Instantly his kong vaults becomes 100 times more amazing, right?) Sean was encouraging and assured that I would indeed be able to participate in 401PK with accommodations. I eased back into a regular schedule of 401PK and daytime UrbanFit classes. Months passed and I continued to train with oversight from UE trainers, doctor, and physical therapist. The accommodations were slowly lifted. “Motion is your lotion!” exclaimed the doctor. I stopped filling that prescription. When Todd Tolosa took over the UrbanFit program, I became very wary as we began lifting heavier and heavier weights according to his carefully calculated methods. I was skeptical. How would my arthritic joints withstand this? Very well, apparently! (See photo)
As it stands now, I go to the gym 3-5 times per week. I have reduced pain and stiffness, strengthened muscles and joints, and increased range of motion. I am able to jump higher than ever and lift more weight than ever. It is true that some days are worse pain-wise than others, but I find the bad days correlate more to changes in the weather, missing time at the gym, or poor dietary choices. (Did I really need that second margarita?) I should add that I definitely play on the safe side. For example, I usually climb down from a wall rather than jump down. If I do jump down, it’s only onto a soft surface (mat or grass) into a squat landing and/or a roll to absorb the impact. Like a wall, OA is just another obstacle to overcome. Thanks to parkour, I have many potential ways to monkey swing beyond it.