COVID-19: The Multifunctional Backsliding Tool and Lubricant

Here we are again.

Back in 2014 I had knee surgery and described the recovery in my very first blog post. Yippee for the blog post.

A big raspberry for a new pain, however. This time it centered in the bursa area. In short… my butt hurt. Actually, a little more to the right. I don’t actually sit on it but I did lean on it a lot.

Now, 7 years later, I am sensing a pattern. I was doing well. Then I wasn’t. After what seems like forever, I feel like there actually might be some hope of recovery.

But boy is recovery hard. Last time I attributed that to inertia. Remember inertia? An object in motion tends to stay that way. An object at rest? Well. An object at rest is a goner.

Once you’ve lost your ability to move, it’s an uphill struggle to get started again. And just when I felt like I was meeting the challenge, COVID-19 intervened. Besides injury, you know what else doesn’t help? Isolation.

This problem couldn’t have come at a worse time. My normal go-to’s for

getting up, out, and going again were shut down. Thank you, COVID-19. No more gym. No more pool. No more friends who could say, “Come on let’s go!” Or “See you there.”

Backsliding is a third element in inertia; another big shout-out to COVID-19: The Multifunctional Backsliding Tool and Lubricant. I’m referring to people like me who achieved a relatively high level of activity–not world-class mind you—but who gradually let that activity slip away. With backsliding, a layer of embarrassment or shame can tamp down the recovery because you used to be able. You may not want to admit that fact.

The origin of word inertia is the Latin word iners, meaning “idle” or “sluggish.” Oh yeah. Got that down pat. I have the tee shirts. I know I’ve been idle, but feeling like I couldn’t win a race with a slug? “Sluggish” describes the condition, as well the feeling!

Luckily, I know how to become active again. I’ve got a plan:

Start somewhere. When injured, I swap. I move from highly active activities to lower level activities.

Keep at it. I know I’ll be worse off if I quit. You know it too!

Pay attention to your body. Don’t let impatience override what your body is telling you. If you are sore, go slower or don’t do so much in a single session

Don’t do too much. Build up gradually. You don’t want a new injury to compound the problem.

Don’t do too little. You have to push yourself. After I get going with the slow classes, I will start adding faster ones gradually. Because it is 7 years later I can’t imagine this ascent will be very rapid. I am determined, however.

Check with a doctor. If pain continues or if you can’t put weight on the painful part, you should seek medical help. I realize that arthritis, the major antagonist in my scenario will not likely go away. It does bend to my will a little if I keep after it.

If you don’t already have a personal trainer, getting over inertia is a great time to engage one. The good personal trainer can help you carefully assess your current ability and plan next steps for improvement. Your trainer can also keep you at a pace that is a challenge and a good fit for you.

Infirmity and incapacity are two of the basic fears we have about our health in retirement. Overcoming inertia is a great recipe for avoiding these.

Ed Zinkiewicz

…the retired guy

Published December 31, 2021 for distribution February 1, 2022