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How Pilates Has Helped Me During My Hip Recovery


Before I had surgery I was doing a lot of Pilates exercises which unfortunately had to stop because I can’t move my leg well right now and most exercises require to move your legs in some way, When you have a chronic condition it is already hard to get into a fitness routine because not all workouts are accessible but it’s even harder when certain parts don’t work as well as they used and won’t move literally! I love Pilates because it’s super low-intensity and is perfect for someone who wants to get active but has chronic pain or is disabled which makes exercise difficult.. I have been doing pilates five to six days a week for about ten years and never would have imagined that it would be so helpful during a long surgery recovery. You never truly realize how much you have learned in your fitness routine until you lose movement and getting creative is the only choice you have to stay fit. I never would have ever thought I would use my exercises during a surgery recovery because for most of them I recovery fast and don’t have to think about these things. My hip recovery is much longer than any other surgery recovery I have had and it wasn’t really a choice to let everything go without making my life much harder. In this post, I am going to talk about how I have been using my Pilates exercises to get rehab my hip and get back where I was was.

It helps me get up off the floor– I don’t have a lot of movement in my right leg because my hip flexors have not returned yet and basically I cannot straighten it without help. Getting on my knees or on the floor, in general, is extremely painful but I do try and practice it because that is the only way you’ll get better. Luckily I have spent years practicing downward dogs and planks because if it wasn’t for me knowing that skill and being proficient in it I wouldn’t be able to get up off the floor without help. My physical therapist even recommends I practice that because that is where I was before surgery and the only way you will get back to that is by practicing even if it hurts or is nowhere near close to what it once was. I look kind of silly when I get up off the floor but I don’t dare get on my knees if I don’t have to and if it wasn’t for knowing downward dog I would have no choice because I wouldn’t know any other way. Pilates has taught me different ways to use my body which has been very helpful now since I am restricted in my movement.

It’s kept me in shape-  When it comes to training your arms and keeping them in shape there is not a whole of to things you can do that won’t require weights besides arm circles and pushups. In previous surgeries, I have let my fitness go because recoveries have been pretty short and not more than four weeks but for this one, I couldn’t do that without majorly suffering for it. This surgery was different because it was a more extensive surgery than anything I have ever had done.. I couldn’t just let my fitness go because if my arms got too weak I wouldn’t be able to support myself and learning to walk would be next to impossible. Before I started doing YouTube workouts I didn’t know any exercises other than pushups and arms circles which are great exercises but it doesn’t end there and there are so many other things you can do to stay strong. I can’t even really do pushups right now because the positioning of my legs would be hard or impossible so I really would only be limited only to arm circles which would get old after a while. I don’t have as much strength as I did when I was weight lifting but because I am regularly doing arm exercises I have not lost near as much strength as I would have if I wasn’t doing any exercises. I am not nearly concerned about losing my strength because I have things I can do to maintain. When I get back to weightlifting I don’t think it’s going to take near as much time to build that strength as it would be if I was doing nothing.

It helped me maintain my core strength- If you were familiar with my workouts prior to surgery you would know that I trained my core six days a week because you use your core for almost everything you do and I think it’s important to make it strong for less pain. Since my hip replacement surgery, I have not been able to work out in the same way because I lack leg movement, and most of the exercises I do require you to move your legs at least a little bit. Thanks to YouTube I have not had to totally stop ab workouts because I have learned so many different ways to train your core. I pride myself in my core strength because it has taken me years to build and I don’t think I would be okay with letting it go when there are things I can do to maintain it. I cannot do advanced ab exercises such as weighted or one-leg situps like I was before surgery but getting back to it is the goal. I don’t know what I would have done without knowing so many core exercises because I like variety and I don’t think I could do countless crunches and be consistent without getting bored or going totally insane. Working out has not been the same since having chronic pain so I strive on variety to keep things interesting and something to look forward to when I am working out. Pilates is perfect for me because there are so many different exercises you can do so you don’t always have to do the same things to benefit from it.

Exercising after some surgeries can be difficult because you can’t always do what you did prior to surgery so it can be hard to motivate yourself to exercise. Hip replacement surgery for most people isn’t that extensive and you can recover within a few weeks but when you have Spina Bifida it’s not going to be like that and for some people, it’s much more extensive. Many people with Spina Bifida have dislocated hips so when we have a hip replacement surgeons have to cut the bone which they won’t have to do for most people because your hips are already attached so it makes recovery much longer. Exercising can be difficult when you are restricted to your movement and thankfully Pilates has shown me different ways to use my body so I don’t have to totally give up hope or wait until I have full movement. I don’t know a lot of stretches besides the basics and if it wasn’t for Pilates teaching me some deep shoulder stretches I probably would have triggered several migraine attacks just from muscle tightness alone. I would be pretty annoyed if that happened because I have been doing so well for several months and would hate to trigger something I couldn’t do anything about or prevented. Do you have to change your exercise after a medical procedure and what have you found most helpful for keeping on top of pain?

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