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As each year comes to a close, I cherish the ability to look back at the past year with feelings of pride and satisfaction from having written Fitness Solutions for another year and being able to help so many people with their health and fitness.
As part of this look back here is, in no particular order, the first half of the Top 10 most popular columns from 2021:
1- At the beginning of the year, I wrote about Ed Tymkow, 78, and his accomplishments since we met in June 2020. In the middle of the COVID-19 lockdowns, he reached out to me thinking that I would be able to help him with a variety of health and wellness issues.
We met virtually for an initial consultation and he told me about his struggles since retiring. He was bored, depressed and drinking too much and waiting for a hernia operation that was contingent on his losing 30 lb. It was clear that Ed needed more than a fitness trainer to simply take him through workouts. I referred him to a 12-step program that was operating online and we started his long journey back to health, with FaceTime sessions once per week.
When I finally got to meet Ed, live, after about 18 months, he had lost 50 lb and was celebrating more than one full year of sobriety. To say that he became a completely different person, living a different life, is an understatement.
2- In June, I wrote a column about knees “cracking” that connected with many people who could relate to the snap, crackle, pop of middle-aged knees. The actual word for the sound that knees sometimes make is “crepitus” which comes from Latin and means “rattling or creaking.”
Crepitus in the knee is relatively common and usually benign. Unless there is pain, swelling or instability accompanying the noise, there is likely little reason to worry and no need for treatment. If pain is present with the sound of popping and/or cracking, do not delay, see your doctor for an examination.
3- In September, I answered a reader’s question about her feelings of being overwhelmedat the idea of getting back into social settings and doing the work to get her physical and mental health back in order.
My advice to her was to consider the things that could be added to her life that could make a small difference in building momentum. The past 18 months had been all about things being taken away; activities, socialization, travel, etc. The last thing that I wanted to suggest on her new path was to start by taking away even more. I felt that getting her body and her emotional health back should start with feelings of abundance, not, with feelings of restriction. Here are five suggestions I gave her:
-Spend five minutes every day in silence, quieting the mind and simply observing your breath and meditating.
-Add a serving of fresh fruit to your breakfast every morning.
-Perform a full body muscle building strength workout twice per week for 20 minutes, at home, using resistance bands or your body weight.
-Pick one or two nights per week where you read something inspiring or thought provoking instead of watching television.
-Write a weekly dinner “menu” before going grocery shopping.
4- In August, I answered a question about rotator cuff pain and whether it could be related to poor posture from working at home at the kitchen table.
According to the Mayo Clinic website: “Muscle tightness, weakness or imbalances associated with poor posture can cause the tendons in your rotator cuff to become irritated and cause pain and weakness. A forward, hunched over posture can also cause these tendons to become pinched.” Tight, pinched tendons can lead to a tear in the rotator cuff itself causing more serious injury, pain, weakness and disability.
5- Last January, I was proud to feature my high school son’s story about managing boredom, anxiety and stress from having his various sports seasons cancelled, along with being physically separated from his school friends. He explained how he used home-based weight training workouts as a way to rebuild structure into his life.
“The reason that I decided to get really serious about things after lockdown started was because I was missing sports so much and felt anxiety over not knowing what to expect from school and my job from week to week. Being cooped up in the house makes it easy to get depressed and bored and I found that whenever I was feeling stressed, angry or sad I would do a hard workout and it always made me feel better. Like I could focus again.”
Next week, I’ll bring you six through 10 of the most popular columns of the year.
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‘This too shall pass away’ this famous Persian adage seems to be defeating us again and again in the case of COVID-19. Despite every effort