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  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by KKDMB View Post
    Lynna - with all due respect, tai chi is not for everyone. It is an exceptional form of exercise, but it is not necessarily ideal for those with hypermobile joints. You said to raise the knee as high as you can, and this would imply that you are trying to stretch the muscles as well as balance. For those of us with hypermobile joints we are specifically told not to stretch our muscles and to instead keep them as tight as possible in order to compensate for the laxity and instability of our malfunctioning ligaments. I am sure there are many aspects of tai chi that do not involve stretching and would indeed be beneficial, but I cannot caution people with normally functioning joints enough about disseminating advice to those whose bodies do not function normally and do not benefit from what normal people do. Even with the best intentions, "helpful" advice can lead to very painful and very real injuries for people like us. Again, I'm not trying to be rude - you're extremely nice for offering your advice and trying to help out a stranger. So, maybe with your comment I would change it to a "very modified tai chi" that focuses solely on balance and gentle movement without any stretching.

    I agree that walking is good. Another thing you, the OP, could try to do is slow-motion walking. It sounds silly, but by just slightly extending the time you're on one foot while walking can be very helpful.

    (Lynna, I hope I'm not hurting your feelings! I'm sure you're an amazing person! We just have to be careful and recognize that people connective-tissue disorders/diseases have *very* different needs and things like tai chi/yoga/pilates are not necessarily good for us/them like they are for others, unless there is some pretty extreme modification.)
    ..then you do not understand Tai chi. It can be a very gentle exercise that can be modified for people who have health issues. It is nothing like yoga or pilates. I don't understand why you have criticized my suggestion and yet did not say anything to those who recommend squatting, barbells and sandbags. Picking up one's leg (bending at the knee) is not overstretching, it will however help to strengthen the upper leg muscles at the hip. It doesn't matter whether you have your thigh parallel to the floor or your foot two inches from the floor.

    I know people who started tai chi in their 60s or later in life some with rheumatoid arthritis, it did nothing but help.

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynna View Post
    ..then you do not understand Tai chi. It can be a very gentle exercise that can be modified for people who have health issues. It is nothing like yoga or pilates. I don't understand why you have criticized my suggestion and yet did not say anything to those who recommend squatting, barbells and sandbags. Picking up one's leg (bending at the knee) is not overstretching, it will however help to strengthen the upper leg muscles at the hip. It doesn't matter whether you have your thigh parallel to the floor or your foot two inches from the floor.

    I know people who started tai chi in their 60s or later in life some with rheumatoid arthritis, it did nothing but help.
    Clearly my understanding of tai chi is limited if I thought it involved stretching and you say it does not. I assumed the OP would ignore the sandbags and barbells comments - and furthermore, those can be utilized more safely than stretching exercises. I will add that it isn't about "overstretching" since those with hypermobility aren't supposed to do any sort of stretching. "Overstretching" or not, stretching is stretching. RA is very different from dealing with lax joints as well and the two conditions should not be considered or dealt with the same. Obviously you were offended by my post and that was not my intention. I'm going to bow out of the conversation now, and wish the OP best of luck. I've offered all I can in the way of balancing exercises.
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    Quote Originally Posted by trippplez View Post
    Try doing pistol squats with perfect form. If you can't right now, start with negatives - that is, decline from the upper position as slow as possible, working on balance and **strength** at the same time.
    You're kidding, right? Pistols are a rather advanced bodyweight exercise. Edith is looking for very basic, beginner work to start getting in touch with her body again -- balance, proprioception, and then starting to build muscle.

    Edith, welcome! I'm a big Feldenkrais fan, too; amazing how it connects the brain to the body without any straining. Do you have audio lessons for the "floor exercises" so you can do them at home? (PM me if you don't; I can help.)

    I third the recommendation for walking. Even if it's only around the block, or half a mile, or two miles -- whatever pushes you just to the point of feeling the effort but not being exhausted or in pain -- will be helpful and I'll bet you build quickly on your current ability level.

    This may *seem* way too advanced for now, but you might take a look at You Are Your Own Gym by Mark Lauren. It's a bodyweight-only workout program that can be good for all levels. Sure, there's some super advanced stuff in there, but you can also work through the "Basic" program that will start you from the very beginning. For example, you'll do pushups against a wall instead of off the ground to gradually build your strength.

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  4. #14
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    There are many forms of tai chi, some more martial than others.

    this is what I was talking about

    Last edited by Lynna; 08-11-2012 at 12:06 PM.

  5. #15
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    I have hyperflexible joints to the extent that I can bend my hand down and, with a little pressure on my thumb, just barely touch it to the inside of my arm. It's not as bad as some folks have it. I read about a man with Marfan Syndrome who could wrap his arms all the way around his body and clasp his hand together behind his back!

    Balancing and stretching are not a big deal for me, but going gung-ho with strenuous activity can result in sprains, and I'm told that strenuous activity is not good if, like me, someone has a mitral valve prolapse.

    Even when I was thin--140 pounds on a 5'11" frame in high school--and very active, I was never muscular. My hope is to achieve balance, good posture, and looking somewhat pulled-together. Considering bodily peculiarities and age, if can stop looking like flabby death warmed over, that would be almost more than I could hope for.

    Edith

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    Also, having read some things on MDA about inflammation (primarily as it relates to exercise, as in overtraining), I really don't think I need to be adding intense exercise on top of my current typical workday.

    For a wide variety of reasons, my job is stressful. Part of it has to do with me having a learning disability related to numbers--and I deal with numbers all day long, entering them in a computer database and occasionally adding them up with an adding machine. I have to check and recheck myself when I do this which slows me down, yet I have to produce a certain amount of work every day.

    After months and months of being told in various ways that I'm essentially a slacker and not a "team player" and yadda yadda yadda, I decided a few weeks ago that "I'll show you!"

    Currently, I am holding my own at work. But at the end of the day, I often feel as if I am someone who has physically over-trained. Only instead of concentrating on lifting weights or sprinting or whatever, I have been concentrating on keeping my body still and my eyes and brain focused on a computer screen.

    I go home exhausted but unable to relax. My whole body aches and my muscles are stiff.

    Because I can't afford to lose my job and literally have no time or energy to look for another one, I have to figure out some strategy to combat what are obviously symptoms of inflammation. Good nutrition is one thing that is helping. Some kind of exercise has to be another thing. The alternative to sitting still all day has to be moving, right?

    If someone came up with a simple, effective, strength-building form of exercise that was also the relaxation equivalent of four jiggers of rum knocked back all at once . . . that person would be wealthy beyond belief.

    Edith

  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by entwyf View Post
    If someone came up with a simple, effective, strength-building form of exercise that was also the relaxation equivalent of four jiggers of rum knocked back all at once . . . that person would be wealthy beyond belief.

    Edith
    Err, do Yoga/Drinking, where you down a shot for every pose you do

    Also I really think you need to find a new job, or just quit and wing it - I've been through work stess and decied to be poor and happy, you will probably come to a point when you realise it's just not worth the stress and your health for this job you hate, you only get one life, live it how you want.
    You know all those pictures of Adam and Eve where they have belly button? Think about it..................... take as long as you need........................

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tribal Rob View Post
    Err, do Yoga/Drinking, where you down a shot for every pose you do

    Also I really think you need to find a new job, or just quit and wing it - I've been through work stess and decied to be poor and happy, you will probably come to a point when you realise it's just not worth the stress and your health for this job you hate, you only get one life, live it how you want.
    The Corpse Pose and rum do seem like a natural combination . . .

    You are so right, I absolutely need to find a new job. Today would not be too soon. Turning in my two weeks' notice Monday would be wonderful.

    Please reply to this post if you hear anything this afternoon indicating that someone in Rochester is desperate for an English major who has squandered her talents for years but is still sharp when it comes to communicating complex information in simple direct ways.

    Editing, proofreading, organizing documents, organizing an office space layout, making PowerPoints, building cross-cultural communication bridges, baking a killer chocolate cake . . . I can do a lot.

    Meanwhile, I still need work at the job which allows me to pay my mortgage and my bills and not starve. I have winged it often in the past; going back to pet-sitting or home health aiding or something similar won't cut it.

    Over the past few days, I have begin to think that, until something better comes along, I need to approach work the way weight lifters seem approach their exercise programs . . . in achieving their goals, they are concerned with technique, pacing, incremental increases in difficulty, avoiding over-training, resting, maintaining good nutrition. If I--and many other people--thought this way about work, wouldn't work be a lot different?

    Instead, work seems too often to be a bunch of ninety-eight pound weaklings sitting around complaining about how unfair it is of the boss to expect them to life twice their body weight. Maybe. But what if the ninety-eight pound weaklings accept the challenge and discover that they can do it and a lot more?

    Meanwhile, today is the typical and somewhat strange Saturday I've started having. After what I've come to think of as a week of heavy lifting with poor technique and no rest, I am mentally alert and physically wiped out. After a week of being chained to a desk, I need to move but I just want to sit.

    This is different from a couple of months ago, when I didn't want to move, period.

    Later today, after I get back from the grocery store, I want to sit down and review what people have said here so far and then contact individuals with some questions.

    I am always impressed by the helpfulness and good humor of people who post on the forums here. Thanks to what I've read on MDA, I have made some significant leaps toward feeling human again.

    Edith

  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by KKDMB View Post
    Lynna - with all due respect, tai chi is not for everyone.
    For that matter, it's not useful to people born with little balance.
    That's how I found this convo, trying to help my squats but I have no balance. Born that way. Nothing will fix it or train it or help. Yes, yes, I see you smirking. Look, as a child, my dad was a skate guard at a skating rink. That meant I roller skated every night for about 4 years. I never got off the wall. In high school, everyone had inline skates. I tried. I did. I can't skate outside. As an adult, I took many ice skating lessons with my 5-year-old. He joined the pee wee hockey team. I barely can skate without touching the wall. When I walk, I can't walk a straight line to save my life. I can barely ride a bike.
    And my squats are crap. I just saw a video of training by putting your feet against a baseboard and your hands on the wall and squatting. I can't do that even an inch because I can't balance without bending way forward.
    And yes, I took tai chi while my boy was in kung fu. Fell over too much. After a year, I gave it up. Not everyone can train their way into better balance. If so, I sure haven't found a way to get better. It's not any worse, but it sure isn't any better either.
    Well, back to the squats. I have another set yet to do.

  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cinnamonbite View Post
    For that matter, it's not useful to people born with little balance.
    That's how I found this convo, trying to help my squats but I have no balance. Born that way. Nothing will fix it or train it or help. Yes, yes, I see you smirking. Look, as a child, my dad was a skate guard at a skating rink. That meant I roller skated every night for about 4 years. I never got off the wall. In high school, everyone had inline skates. I tried. I did. I can't skate outside. As an adult, I took many ice skating lessons with my 5-year-old. He joined the pee wee hockey team. I barely can skate without touching the wall. When I walk, I can't walk a straight line to save my life. I can barely ride a bike.
    And my squats are crap. I just saw a video of training by putting your feet against a baseboard and your hands on the wall and squatting. I can't do that even an inch because I can't balance without bending way forward.
    And yes, I took tai chi while my boy was in kung fu. Fell over too much. After a year, I gave it up. Not everyone can train their way into better balance. If so, I sure haven't found a way to get better. It's not any worse, but it sure isn't any better either.
    Well, back to the squats. I have another set yet to do.
    Just because you weren't able to improve your balance with tai chi, doesn't mean someone else cannot. It gets a little irritating that people discount something because it didn't help them for some reason -- that doesn't mean it won't work for someone else. I had terrible balance when I started tai chi and after a few weeks my balance steadily improved. One must practice their forms, at least 30 minutes everyday. If one just takes a class once a week and does nothing else, their balance will definitely not improve. I know a 75 year old man with Meniere's disease and he credits tai chi with helping him immensely, in fact, he participated in a tai chi tournament in China and received an award when he was 69. He started tai chi when he was in his early 60s.

    I haven't practiced tai chi in awhile and today I took my first yoga class, my balance was crap, but I know if I continue with it it will get better.
    Last edited by Lynna; 10-02-2012 at 10:21 AM.

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