Vexations and Conundrum – July 2023


There was a time, not too long ago, when I relished my fitness routines. I was a jogger first, then Jazzercise, Pilates, Zumba, yoga, and usually some walking was mixed in there. My yoga instructor moved to a new city and then the pandemic hit. I have not read much about its effect on people’s exercise routines, but I’d love to see a study. I can only speak from personal experience when I say that COVID did something to my physical ambition. It took it away.

Another side effect of the plague was that while we all paused life, my body did some rapid aging. I found that my normal roll from bed was creaky, even a bit painful.

I called my friend Joyce just to see if she was experiencing anything like this. “Joyce, do you ever hurt when you wake up?”

“Ha! Let me tell you what my husband says: He wakes up every morning just to see what new pain he has.”

Well, I felt a bit better.  It wasn’t just me.

I waited a few weeks before I had to admit that my hip soreness wasn’t improving and the lurch I took when I’d been seated too long was highly awkward looking. This was more than an early morning need to stretch.

I went to my doctor and explained my hitch. She did a few manual maneuvers of my legs, rotating them in all directions. “I don’t think you have anything, but let’s do an X-ray just to be sure.”

Shortly I was to get the verdict. I had arthritis in both hips and my back. Suddenly I was aware of the back pain I’d been ignoring. Physical therapy was recommended. This was toward the late stages of COVID, but I went, masked and ready to try whatever would make me more graceful.

The ice packs were heaven, as were manual stretching by the therapist. The exercises were very effective, not hard at all, but time consuming. I was assigned homework. My PT professional would ask me at each visit if I’d done my assigned exercises and I’d answer honestly that I had not. She looked sad and disappointed, which really added to my dismay. At the end of several sessions, right before the COVID case count kicked up one last time and I stayed in again. I had come to a conclusion. I had developed a serious case of “The Lazies.”

This laziness has stuck around. My husband diligently walks his thousands of steps each day and queries my lack of movement. I bite my lower lip, squeeze my eyes together, and try and think of a good explanation. Nothing comes to mind.

I read that just about any diagnosis one can get is improved upon with regular exercise. And the movements can be gentle too, no marathons required.

I have decided that I will make progress in this area. I hear one must initiate changes by taking “baby steps.” I think my best bet is to get moving to some great music. I’m going to take up dancing with myself.

I encourage any of you out there who may have a similar obstacle to physical progress to give this a try as well. The worst that can happen is that someone may catch sight of us in the window and think we have gone batty. I think I’m going to go nice and easy and start with Otis Redding. I hope I have something really positive to report in the near future.

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Katina Pontikes
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