So here I am again for the 900 millionth time rebuilding muscles from being sick. Sometimes it’s from being injured or having surgery. It’s amazing. One thing I notice is that the older I get the more difficult it is to rebuild muscle. Still, it happens, and I’ve already learned that life demands patience and the faith that things will improve.
An added incentive for me is that my amazing 97 year old artist friend, adopted mom, and mentor collapsed on the floor of her little cottage and was taken to the hospital. She’s now in a home because her legs gave out. She has no muscles in her legs. She is from a generation — my mom’s generation — one in which women in sports or female athleticism was not considered a good thing. “Muscles on women? Heaven forfend!” The goal of rehab was to help her get back behind her walker by helping her develop muscles in her legs. The last I heard it’s not going well, and she’s confronting the horror we in this country of “rugged individualists” face of figuring out a way to pay for a residential nursing home/rehab center.
“Yikes, Martha, if you live that long, it could be you!”
It matters for so many reasons, not the least of which for me is that I might face a knee replacement down the road (or in my own yard). First, I don’t want to. Strong legs take the pressure off of our knees. As for the surgery, I just don’t want to. I’ve managed to evade that particular knife for almost 20 years. But who knows? I’ve also learned how strong legs help reduce rehab time so IF…
Yesterday the Bike to Nowhere took me on a beautiful ride through the Austrian Alps to some high glaciers. I was finally able to ride at a normal speed and to enjoy myself. Those are two very very important things. People are motivated do what they enjoy, and there’s more to a work out than muscle. For me none of this has ever been a “should,” as in “you should exercise.” It’s something I have always loved to do. My friend’s recent experience has just brought home how important it is. I don’t want to think about that, but it isn’t like I don’t know.
I’ve always thought that legs are incredibly beautiful. Maybe this is because my dad’s didn’t work right or maybe it’s because I have always gotten so much joy from what my legs could bring me — forest trails, mountain trails, desert trails, boulders and rocks (up and down), races, bike rides, ski trails and more. Great stuff, wonderful stuff. When my right hip went south I learned about the structure of the leg and hip and wow. It’s a thing of beauty and subtle engineering. I figure I owe my legs a little something at this point in my life after all the pleasure they’ve given me.
Featured photo: My dad and I setting up my first bicycle to be a stationary bike for him. I was 12,
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