My Fitness and Joint Replacement Journey
This post was written by a Vertex Fitness client who needed joint replacement. You can read more about joint health and fitness on our blog.
It’s been over a year since I started at Vertex, and the day I dreaded is fast approaching. I have rheumatoid and osteoarthritis and I now need a knee replacement. I knew that joint replacement was coming, and I’ve now accepted it. “They” tell me I won’t be sorry. I intend to chronicle this in my first ever blog.
I’ve been to gyms in the past but it didn’t work out for me. I was reluctant to join a typical “gym” again because I knew the drill. The first couple of times you get “instruction”, then they turn you loose, and it’s all on you. I’d stick with it for a while and then begin to find excuses for not going. But, I needed to get in shape! I’m getting older, body parts don’t work like they should, and if didn’t do something soon, I could be facing some serious health consequences.
The Vertex Fitness Difference
I found Vertex on an internet search and it seemed like it fit my style. Vertex Fitness is a small facility with a singular purpose: you go there to work out, not to be “seen”; and it’s owner operated. I was overweight and needed to lose quite a few pounds. I have rheumatoid arthritis and bad knees and knew a joint replacement was lurking in my future. There are days when stairs are difficult, and everything hurts. I was afraid to be left to my own devices at a gym for fear of hurting myself further. I needed someplace where there was personal instruction not only for safety, but for encouragement and to have someone who expected me to show up for my appointment. Vertex seemed to offer all of this and more. So, I took advantage of one of their specials, gave it a try, and haven’t looked back.
If your’e looking for a place where you can dangle from the ceiling bouncing up and down, roll around on a ball, or want to try the next trendy workout, go someplace else. Vertex offers a workout with a purpose.
Joint Replacement Made Easier with Fitness
Ok, let’s get something straight right off the bat, this IS work; but it does pay off. Yes I get sore, yes I sometimes don’t want to go…but I do. Why? Because I miss it if I don’t.
After the first few months I found myself getting stronger. My clothes started getting tight across my chest, I was able to negotiate stairs better, and was just feeling healthier. I was going 2 days a week and it was paying off. My body was starting to feel better. Muscle tone was improving, especially around my weak joints, which helped to provide support and increase mobility. However, despite all the work, my body weight stayed the same.
Of course, I heard that while exercise alone is good for you, if you want to lose weight it is a COMBINATION of exercise and diet. But I didn’t believe it. I thought if I worked harder, that was all that was needed. Well, take it from me, diet is an important factor in all of this. It took 9 months before I decided to change my eating habits. But when I committed, I went from a 42” waist to a 36” waist in three months. Of course, along with changing my eating habits, I’m now going to Vertex 3 times a week.
The Staff at Vertex Fitness Helps Me Work Past My Limitations
Dwayne and his staff have been very helpful and supportive throughout this whole process. They know their stuff and there is a method to their madness. Dwayne has high expectations for his clients and continuously stresses that it’s not just doing the routine, but doing it CORRECTLY. It’s not about moving the weight, its about contracting the muscle against resistance and doing the exercise correctly, and the weight will follow. I can’t stress this enough. There is a posture, form and purposeful movement that is stressed each and every time for each piece of equipment. You get tired of hearing it, but suddenly, one day it “clicks” and you find that all of a sudden, that muscle group is working just a little bit harder, and you truly understand the directions that were being given. I might be a slow learner, and I know that I don’t have it all correct yet, but I keep trying. It’s almost an epiphany when you “get it”, but it also comes with a price. It actually works the muscles better to do it correctly than it is to do it incorrectly! And throughout the time leading up to this, everyone was very supportive, tailoring my workout to match my limitations of the day.
Unfortunately, my knee is shot. As I said before, it was a matter of time, and while losing weight has helped, my right knee is beyond repair. I’m REAL happy that I’ve been working out at Vertex. I have high expectations for a fast recovery, so we’ll see if it all pays off.
The Right Time to Get Fit
I’ve been told throughout my life that “you’ll know when it’s time”. For example, time to let go and say good bye to a family pet or to take the initiative to move on professionally with a new job. As it turns out, joint replacement is the same. You get to a point when you just know. Your quality of life suffers, you’re tired of taking pain meds, you become unhappy, and your condition starts to affect the way you deal with other people.
I knew I was getting close when I was in continuous pain and my knee started collapsing on me once a week or so. Under the guidance of my rheumatologist the dose of my RA and pain meds were upped and I started to use a neoprene knee brace. That lasted about 5 months. I was taken aback when in August/September my knee became continuously painful (6-7 on that all too wonderful scale of 0-10) and built to the point where it started collapsing at least three to four times a day with a 15+ on that 0 to 10 scale. About that time I saw my rheumatologist who said I had an unstable knee and needed to start using a cane and interviewing orthopedic surgeons. But in my mind, it wasn’t quite time. So I abandoned the idea of a cane and strapped on a stronger knee brace. My knee was still swollen and painful, but at least it didn’t collapse. So I soldiered on….for a few weeks….until I was continuously wearing a brace 24/7 and despite the brace my knee was still collapsing 2-3 times a day and the pain was getting worse. It was now time.
I’m thankful for all that Vertex Fitness has done to get me to this point, and looking forward with optimism towards the future.