I decided to share my story at the urging of my trainer, Tracy Billings.
In hopes that it would help someone else who has medical issues that involve pain or limited mobility.
I was diagnosed three years ago with an inflammatory condition that caused pain and stiffness in muscles and joints involving my entire body including my arms or shoulders ,and my legs. This pain required me to be on high doses of Prednisone for an extended period, which caused its own problems and side effects. These included weight gain and decreased bone density.
I had exercised in the past, more for weight loss than for health concerns, but this time my doctor recommended working with a personal trainer. Alongside training, I also worked with a nutritionist to learn how to eat foods that would help decrease inflammation and how to avoid foods that would make the condition worse.
When I went to RVC I was introduced to Tracy Billings and felt confident in her ability to work with me because of her background in rehab nursing and her personal training. She was able to get me moving without causing me pain, and she adjusted the routine on a day-to-day basis according to how I was feeling.
On a good day, we could work with machines and weight on the fitness floor; other days were mostly release work with a roller or ball, stretching, and range of motion exercises to increase mobility. The Pilates Studio was another space used to mobilize and strengthen in a slightly gentler way when I was in pain.
I also came to enjoy swimming in the pool. Tracy showed me some exercises to do using the water weights and noodles, and I started coming in on my own to use the pool in the morning to supplement my three weekly workouts with Tracy.
Eventually, I got to the point where I felt strong enough and confident enough to try some group classes. The restorative yoga class was helpful. Spinning classes gave me an added challenge when I needed it to keep my weight loss going.
I am proud to say that I am now off all of my meds and have maintained the fifty pound weight loss that I was able to accomplish while still taking Prednisone.
I could not have done this without a team – the doctors, nutritionist, and Tracy. I am truly blessed to have had the support of my family, friends, medical team, and my personal trainer.
I want others to know that you don’t have to wait for the pain to go away: you can work through it if you have the guidance of a qualified trainer and the determination to do the work. You, too, can feel better than ever!