Archive for April, 2023

A ridiculously handsome brindled dog with a giant head. He looks like James Garner from The Rockford Files.
Bruno, the handsomest dog I ever met

Back in 2020, this magnificent knucklehead was so happy to see me that he ran full speed down the length of the house and body slammed me. All eighty pounds of him–BLAM!–directly into the front of my right knee.

In fact he hit me so hard that my knee locked up in the straightened position for several hours before I could get it to bend. After that, my knee has never been right again. Sadly, Bruno has left us, but I’ll never forget him courtesy of my knee.

In the last three years, I’ve been to various doctors. I’ve done three separate rounds of physical therapy. I’ve done acupuncture and massage therapy. My right knee is still messed up, and as a result, now my left knee is wrecked from picking up the slack.

Maybe the worst part about all this is how completely tedious I find rehab exercises. The only exercising I’ve ever enjoyed in life is walking. I used to walk about ten miles a day. Once my knee was injured, though, I descended into a hell of rehab exercises. Do this exercise. 3 sets of 10 reps on each leg. Repeat for the next exercise and the next and the next. Counting to 10 over and over and over honestly damages my will to live. The last three years have been a joyless montage of 3 sets of 10 reps. Some days it’s nearly impossibly to motivate myself to go do the work. That’s why I feel like I’ve discovered some incredible secret to exercising.

I STOPPED COUNTING. That’s it. Last week, I stopped counting. I don’t count my reps. I don’t count my sets. I don’t use a timer. It’s just vibes. I do an exercise until it feels like I’ve done enough. Then I do it on the other leg. Then I go onto the next exercise and do it until it feels like enough. The way this has completely changed my relationship to rehab exercises is amazing. I just get up in the morning and do them. I don’t make excuses. I don’t have to berate or threaten myself. I don’t dread that hour of my day. (And yes, the vibe method takes the same amount of time as the tedious counting method.)

I don’t know if anybody else is trapped in a counting hell of patellar lifts and hip CARS, but I highly recommend giving up on the counting. And if you’re a physical therapist, have you considered not assigning exercises in a way that’s guaranteed to make them as loathsome as possible?

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