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aci12 posted:
Hi, my name is Alberta. I have been trying to increase my level of activity to lose weight more efficiently, in addition to dieting. My problem is that I have had three back surgeries and am now in need of a shoulder replacement for my left arm. Obviously, I don't want to cause myself any more injury. What kind of exercises can I do that will help to strengthen me and improve my balance. In the last year I have had two bad falls -- in the last one I broke my foot. I am a senior
citizen, although I am still active in the teaching profession, and am 65.
strykerfit responded:
Hi, my name is Kelly. I have a Bachelors degree in Exercise Science and at the present attending Grad school in Physical Education, specializing in Exercise Science. Alberta, with your situation, you need to be careful not to injure yourself more. Depending where you live, you could attend a Silver Sneakers group exercise class. I am Silver Sneakers certified. Its for individuals that are in your situation and for seniors. It is a great way to strengthen your body and increase your balance. You need have someone with you while doing the exercises to make sure your doing it correctly. The YMCA's have Silver Sneakers and if in the southern States, it is all over the place. If you cannot attend this group, the most important exercises you can be doing right now would be the cardiorespiratory endurance such as walking. You could walk the malls where people are around to help if needed that way the weather would not interfer with your routine. I highly suggest getting involved in a group exercise program for seniors, they are trained to help improve your strength and balance.
Rich Weil, MEd, CDE responded:
Hi Alberta,

Thanks for posting. Have you talked with your doctor about seeing a physical therapist (PT)? You have a bunch of orthopedic problems that make exercise difficult, and are hard on your confidence, and a physical therapist is specially trained to evaluate, treat, and prescribe exercise for all sorts of physical problems like you describe. There are I'm sure plenty of things you can do, but it would be the safe and proper thing to have an expert like a PT evaluate you. They can give you exercises to improve your balance and strengthen you while considering how you move, your current injuries or pain, and anything else that holds you back from exercising. And a big plus to seeing a PT is that you will have the confidence knowing you're doing the right thing. Once you see a PT you'll know everything that you can do safely, and most important you'll know that you are doing the right things. It's very difficult to prescribe or recommend exercise to someone who has orthopedic conditions like you do without seeing them in person. You need to know how a person moves, what their strength level is, and many other factors. You could try an activity like water class since it's less impact, but like I said, it's hard to say if that will help without seeing you. I urge you to speak with your doctor about referring you for PT.

As for weight loss, the good news is that you can lose weight without exercise by reducing your calorie intake enough to burn more calories than you consume. People lose weight all the time without exercising. You can too. You didn't post your height and weight so I can't comment specifically, but I suggest the following:

For the next week write down every single morsel of food you eat, and every ounce of beverage with calories you drink. Estimate the portion sizes as accurately as possible, and weigh and measure everything. Get a food scale and measuring cup to do it accurately. Then you can post questions with that information to the Diet Community where you can get expert advice from WebMD food and nutrition experts.

I also suggest you check out one of the following diet clubs based on how much weight you want to lose. -

You'll find all the support and expertise and everything else you need to lose weight on these sites. And of course, feel free to post back here any time you like if you have questions. I hope you follow up with physical therapy. Let me know how it goes.

Take care, Rich
aci12 replied to Rich Weil, MEd, CDE's response:
Thank you so much. Yes, I have been to a PT before. She was great and even taught me how to walk correctly. I learned some good stretches also. That was before the 2nd back surgery though. I have been cutting back on the calories also -- 1450 daily and keep a food diary. I generally walk in the morning for about 20-30 minutes before it gets hot. The exercise helps keep me "in shape" for when school starts again, and I must be on my feet. I had previously lost about 90 lbs. before the first surgery -- had to do that or the surgery would have been useless. I gained about 20 back, though. I was a low carb diet. However, I like vegetables and fruits a lot and need to have a good basic diet that I can stick with. I had to take some medication also that put weight on me. I no longer have to do that and have lost about 10 lbs. as a result. I am weighing in at 231 now. My highest was 298. I live in the "sticks" so the nearest PT is about 1/2 hour away and is hard to get to during the school year because of his office hours. My PT retired last year; she was really good. Perhaps she can suggest someone fairly close and I can get in for an updated evaluation. Thank you so much -- again for taking the time to answer me.
Rich Weil, MEd, CDE replied to aci12's response:
You're very welcome. Good luck to you getting to PT. It will be worth the effort. Keep me posted. Rich
Rich Weil, MEd, CDE replied to aci12's response:
You're very welcome. Good luck with PT. It will be worth the effort. Let me know how it goes. Rich
dapeck responded:
aci12 i am 71 and have had 1 back surgery,1 knee replacement and 1 hip replacement. i have spinal stenosis. i exercise an hour every day. i do the exercise cycle, jakes tower (rubber bands), i use 40 lb, 25lb dumbbells, 35 & 15lb kettlebells, in interval training and for flexibility and balance i do yoga stretches and several of these are for my back. i have had rotator cuff problems, so i use the jakes tower and do specific exercise for the rotator cuffs. i sincerely believe exercise will do more good than most surgeries. it will also help keep blood pressure low, resting pulse rate low, cholesterol low, balance good and flexible as you age. forget the word cannot and just do it. good luck

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