Positive Changes in my Everyday Life

I joined the RVC in July of 2019, right after I retired from Dartmouth. At my initial evaluation, the fitness consultant recommended that I work with a trainer who would be able to help with improving my balance, strength and back issues. It was by a stroke of luck that I was paired with Alex Figueroa as my trainer. Alex had also just started at the RVC after working as a trainer in Boston for many years. The consultant told me that Alex had a lot of specialized training that he thought would benefit me and my scoliosis — a back condition that resulted in a lateral curvature of my spine.

From my very first training session with Alex, I knew I had found someone who could really help me.

After a series of tests, Alex determined that I had problems with my vision and my vestibular system (which controls my balance). I was surprised to learn that these problems had actually caused my scoliosis to get worse as I got older.

The revelations continued: Alex explained that these problems result in miscommunications between my brain and my muscles. For example, because my left eye is dominant, sometimes my right eye goes “offline” for short periods of time. When this happens, it sends an alarm to my brain, which in turn causes the muscles on my left side to tense up. Alex taught me how to perform specific exercises for my eyes and vestibular system, in order to correct some of the problems I was experiencing. I do these exercises both in my sessions with Alex and at home. Sometimes when I exercise I put a patch over my left eye to help strengthen my right one. I also listen to low frequency oscillations which create vibrations that help my muscle performance when I exercise.

After only a couple of months of working with Alex, I started to notice many positive differences in my everyday life. When my husband and I went to see a play at Northern Stage, I was initially dismayed when they announced that the 2-hour show would not have an intermission. Because of my scoliosis, my back aches whenever I have to sit for more than an hour. But that night, after watching a great play, I found myself pleasantly surprised when I realized that I’d sat for two hours straight and my back wasn’t aching.

The results have only become more prominent over time, as I continue to be able to sit or stand in one place for longer periods of time without discomfort.

I’ve been happy to discover that there are lots of things that I can do now that I had difficulty doing before. I can run without my back hurting and I was on my feet cooking a lot on Thanksgiving Day and didn’t have an aching back at the end of the day. My balance is improving, and I am able to do better squats and lunges, and work with heavier weights. I look forward to continuing to work with Alex and improving my overall fitness.

Susan Schwarz
Member since 2019

 

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