I’ve written before about the struggles of giving up running and then walking due to developing a knee issue, which progressed enough while I waited for surgery that I lost more and more mobility. As this happened, and I had to fight harder to stay fit, I began to feel like I was losing my independence.
My knee issue was the result of an old running injury, where I had torn my cartilage without realizing it. I came from a ‘stiff upper lip’ kind of family, and unfortunately, I didn’t pay enough attention to act preventively when the injury happened. Because I did not address the torn cartilage before it deteriorated beyond repair, I had to stop running. The knee would never be strong enough to continue running without further damage. Then, a few years later, I lost my next favourite form of exercise: walking. Shortly after that, I lost biking. I turned to exercise in deep water, which helped me manage the increasing pain, but moving continued to become more of a challenge. Family, friends and colleagues tried to bolster my spirits, but all I could do was watch everyone as they easily moved through their days, while I waited.
Depression often accompanies deteriorating health conditions, becoming a significant barrier to staying active, fit and healthy. It often felt like I was losing more than I was gaining but I did try to focus on staying as active as I could. In my head, I knew how important exercise and movement was, not only to physical health, but to mental health and well-being as well.
This summer I was finally called for surgery. I set two goals:
- To walk my dog again.
- To walk to the park with my grandchildren.
In the end, the surgery was well worth the wait. I surprised everyone around me, especially myself, when I accomplished both goals within two months of the surgery. I felt like I had my life back!
I still have recovery ahead of me, but it’s important to me to focus on the investment in future health and well-being, as well as to be a role model to those I care about. I have set a new goal for myself: right now, my knee doesn’t bend enough to ride properly and safely, but with practice, perseverance and persistent exercise, I believe I will ride my bike again and I am aiming for Bike to Work Week at the end of May 2014. The surgeon thinks it’s a great idea and gave me suggestions for how to get there. I am engaged and invested in my future, health and well-being.
But the best reward of all is being able to walk to the park and back with both my dog and my grandkids. Spending time with them by ensuring they have time to build their bodies through walking and play means we are also investing in their future, together.
Whether you’re one or one-hundred, invest in your future by physically moving throughout your day to build your own health, wellness and strength. Every move counts and it is never too late to be more active.
For information on health at and all ages, as well as seniors’ falls prevention, please visit Healthy Families BC. There, you’ll find ideas for how to build your health and wellness, invest in the future of health where you live, work, learn and play.
About Christine Glennie-Visser
Christine is the regional coordinator for the HEAL (Healthy Eating, Active Living) Network in northern B.C. Christine loves to share good healthy local food with family, friends and co-workers and is passionate about making the healthy choice the easier choice for everyone. Although she is currently limited in her physical activity choices for medical reasons, she has become creative at fitting in activity and spends many happy hours deep water running and using gentle resistance training and stretching to maintain muscle strength. Christine can often be found in her kitchen, developing or testing recipes, and conspiring with her six grandchildren to encourage their parents to eat more fruits and vegetables!