Monitoring your changes

The past few weeks have seen a bit of change for me. I had the exit interview for my contracted job and started doing some new exercises. I am a fan of change, but it has been a strange time lately. We are also in the process of moving, and I am setting foot on the adventures of pitching my book idea to an agent. All while preparing myself for the activities which will come with writing and researching for the topic around ageing better.

Something that came to light this week was around monitoring your changes. I started doing a few little exercises and ankle stretches during the day and in the evening. Nothing too major, but enough to make my muscles recognise that they exist. I wasn’t really keeping track of things, because it didn’t feel like I was doing anything to, particularly monitor. But then I started getting a weak knee when I would be walking to the shops in the evening.

Photo by Estée Janssens on Unsplash

My Knee

A short and swift history of my knee is that I had a fall in around 2002. I slipped down two steps at work, because of some remnant water on the steps from the glasswasher. It was the start of a ten-year journey of arthroscopies, physio, a “year off”, and walking on crutches and a walking stick. I am now free from my walking aids and I am sure I will fill you in on that journey at some point in the not too distant future too. But it isn’t to say that my knee is completely fine. It is fine but I honestly don’t know what is going on beneath the crinkly and hairy skin covering it.

Monitoring the changes

With the emergence of the weird knee weakness this week, I have been working on giving the poor joints a break. No exercises that affect them, so no squats or excessive walking. But even without these things, I was still getting a twinge and twang in my right knee. To my absolute joy, the left knee joined in yesterday too. Wonderful. Even sat watching TV with a cat on my knees was uncomfortable.

Thankfully, I had started a spreadsheet – like the proper office geek that I am – to monitor my progress with my little bodyweight exercises. I could see that I hadn’t been doing anything particularly worthy of causing pain, and the break should have eased it anyway. The issue wasn’t there for my fast morning four-mile walk, and I had been doing the hills in the Vale, which I thought would have exacerbated the issue. But no.

What I couldn’t work out was what I was doing to cause the issues. I was (am!) convinced that it’s not just a simple part of ageing, especially as I have been OK in the knee department for over five years since ditching the crutch.

Other changes

One thing that dawned on me yesterday, while wracking my brain to work out a possible cause was that I changed the height of my computer chair. Only by a tiny amount, but it was lower. Thinking about things, I was also feeling a little twinge in my right hip – similar to the one I had before I started working out a few years ago (which also coincided with my getting my new desk set-up)

I can’t say for sure, but it feels like the chair is the culprit. Having worked in a higher position for three years, it is the only real change I have made recently. As bizarre as it sounds, it could be the reason behind my bandy knees. I am also fine in the morning and only getting knee issues in the evening. The amateur detective in me thinks that there is a link to all of this.

So from today, my chair has gone back up a notch. I am making sure that I don’t slouch towards the screen while I proofread. And we will see what happens. I’ll be staying away from the leg exercises for now to that I don’t change too many things and I will report back with my findings.

The importance of monitoring change

Having set out not thinking that I need to monitor my meer 20 push-ups from the kitchen counter to monitoring every change, I think it is a lesson well learned. A bit of tracking goes a long way when you want to find out the cause of something. Be it pain, discomfort, or a reason to make a change.

If my chair can do this in a week, what other parts of our lives are actually causing us more pain than comfort?

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