Yesterday was the first of my four physio sessions at the local hospital. It's a group session with six of us in the group, plus the physiotherapist, and the focus is on reducing knee and hip pain. This first session was mainly taken up with educating us on the causes of osteoarthritis - this went on and on and on, so there wasn't much time to get to learn about the actual exercises.
The small gym where the class is held is set up for a circuit of six different exercises and in future weeks we will complete the entire circuit each week, spending about five minutes on each exercise. Yesterday the session overran so we only had time to try one or two each. I opted for the sit/stand one where, using an ordinary kitchen chair, you stand up without using your hands to push yourself up and then slowly sit back down again without using your hands. The more time you take to sit back down the better as this is when you are actually strengthening your muscles. I managed to do it without any problems so to make it more challenging I had to repeat the exercise but this time holding a rubber ball between my knees. I also had a go on the balance board but found that a lot more difficult!
It seems to be a very friendly group so I think the next three weeks are going to be fun. We've already been told that four weeks isn't long enough to see any significant progress and that in the near future the course will be extended to twelve weeks. However, we only have the four weeks but it will provide a good start to the recovery.
At the end of the four weeks the physiotherapist will report back to my doctor with recommendations for follow up, if anything else is necessary. She is able to offer a referral to a local gym for an ongoing subsidised exercise programme and I'm hopeful that I will qualify for that. In the meantime, I have a handout to follow showing suitable exercise to do at home so I have work out how to build those into my everyday life - a couple of suggestions she gave was to do five repetitions of a standing exercise when waiting for the kettle to boil, or to practice balancing on one leg when standing at the sink. It's more likely to be successful if I can incorporate the exercises into my day in this way, rather than trying to find the time to do them all in one go.
It would have been Ced's 79th birthday today. I'll be celebrating with his brother on Monday.