Doesn’t it just suck when your knee pain stops you from your workouts? Hi everybody, this is Mike Uhrlaub. This is another episode of Power Your life by Flex PT. How many of you have stopped working out because of your knee pain? Knee pain, back pain, shoulder issues, etc.; it doesn’t matter what the orthopedic condition is. Sometimes, you start a workout program and suddenly, that ugly joint pain starts rearing its ugly head. Next thing you know, you must stop your workouts. This is a problem for those trying to lose weight, because you want to get those work outs in and burn those calories.
You’re just trying to keep yourself moving, and then you get this joint pain and it completely wreaks havoc on everything, turning you upside down. I’ve experienced this myself. Some of you know that I used to be a former power lifter and I’ve had several knee injuries over the years. It goes all the way back to my days of playing football in high school. I had some cartilage damage, some other injuries in wrestling, and I got into competitive powerlifting after my military service. I injured my right knee again and tore some more cartilage, which put an end to things, and I couldn’t keep working out anymore. That joint pain would eventually keep me from being able to do those things that I really wanted to do.
At the time, when I was trying to lose weight get on top of working out. I get two or three weeks into it, and then that knee pain just becomes to the point where I couldn’t keep going on. You must stop and then it leads you down this downward spiral. You start to think that if you can’t work out, why bother with paying attention to your diet? Then, you start thoughts of self-judgement. Thoughts like you’re too old or that you can’t work out anymore and you’ll never lose the weight.
However, there are many people that have lost weight, despite having these orthopedic joint problems. Like I’ve always mentioned before, you can’t exercise your way out of a bad diet. The very first thing is you’ve got to do is get your diet under control. What you’re putting in your mouth is critical. If you’re putting in junk, you’re going to put weight on, no matter how hard you work out. If you’re able to, you can stop the workouts that are causing the pain and you can start to do more low impact type stuff. If you don’t have the diet as your foundation, and you’re not eating clean at least 80% of the time, you will not see results.
You need to focus on your getting your veggies, following an anti-inflammatory tight diet, or doing what we’ve been talking in these previous sessions about intermittent fasting. Physically, it doesn’t matter what you do. You see people going to the gym and they’re just killing themselves on that treadmill or the elliptical. However, they never seem like they’re losing any weight. That’s because they’re completely misguided into thinking that if they work out four, five, or six times a week for an hour and a half, that they can eat whatever I want.
Now, that was maybe true for you when you were 16 and your metabolism faster. However, especially for those of us that are getting older, that’s simply not the case. You do have to watch what you eat, and you must watch your caloric intake. You do have to watch the types of foods that you’re eating. You’ve got to stay away from those things that cause inflammation and create further problems. Something that I’ve also started doing is that I started integrating yoga into my workout programs. When I first started, my weight loss journey I thought yoga was just for young girls. I thought that there was no way that yoga was for me, a former power lifter and army medic.
A friend of mine introduced me to it and I thought I would give it a try because at the time, my knee was hurting. There weren’t many other ways I could work out. I got tired of riding the stationary bike, where I wasn’t going anywhere. So, I wanted something new to try that was a little bit different. The first time I did yoga, everything was sore; my quads, my glutes, and my shoulders, from just a little 30-minute workout.
It completely amazed me and opened my eyes as to the power of that. Not just the power of yoga for a good workout, but that you can burn calories and sweat because it’s all about making the comfortable, uncomfortable and pushing yourself. At the time, I thought yoga was just to increase your flexibility. I completely wrong and misguided because it is so much more than that. It is a good way to burn calories and it strengthens your core muscles. It strengthens your entire body overall.
It does improve your flexibility and your balance while it works all your muscle groups together in synergy. It works synergistically and that’s important because that’s how our bodies are designed to move. We don’t just work one muscle; we work all of them together and you work your entire system. I love how yoga has taught me how to balance my nervous system. That’s another area that I didn’t completely understand in the past, which is how important that balance of your nervous system is. Balance is what primes your nervous system. It gets your nervous system. It gets the motor units firing more effectively and gets them ready to be able to work out a little bit more. As I’ve been able to continue with the practice of yoga and incorporate that with some of my workouts, it has had tremendous benefit for me. However, I’d like to talk a little bit more about the balancing of the nervous system.
That’s a concept that I think a lot of people don’t realize how important your autonomic nervous system is, meaning the side of your nervous system that does your automatic functions. The nervous system that makes you sweat, your breath, your heart rate, and your blood pressure digestion. It’s the things that’s going on in your body that you don’t even think about it because it happens automatically. The autonomic nervous system is divided into two subsets: the sympathetic and parasympathetic. Like everything in life, everything must be balanced. The parasympathetic and the sympathetic nervous systems in your body must be balanced and when they’re not, the sympathetic nervous system has a fight or flight a reaction.
It’s the one that gets you pumped up for action. However, when that’s out of balance and that’s active all the time, you can’t burn body fat very well. You start generating all kinds of levels of cortisol in your body, along with high stress levels, and that’s when you start to enter pain and inflammation. All those negative things that start to happen because your nervous system is out of balance. You need that parasympathetic nervous system to be more active, to calm down that sympathetic side. That occurs with deep breathing exercises, which is one of the key components to a good yoga program. It teaches you how to breathe. Even though you think you already know how to breath, it’s more than that.
I had no idea how to properly belly breathe or how it relaxes my system. When I incorporate meditation in with that yoga workout, especially at the end, it has such a positive impact on my body, mind, and my ability to lose weight. It also didn’t hurt my knee and it increased my flexibility. It improved my balance and proprioception, which is your balance ability and your body’s ability to know where it is in space. It also increases balances within your nervous system, and it primes your nervous system, while calming the body and mind. It does so many great things that just absolutely benefit you when it comes to losing weight.
If your body can’t take it, you don’t have to do a lot of high impact. You don’t have to go out and ride a stationary bike or a regular bike for hours and hours at a time. You can get a good workout in just with a good yoga program that has been adjusted for you. If you have a knee problem or a shoulder problem, you can adjust for your orthopedic condition and the benefits of that are tremendous. Then, you start finding that you’re feeling calmer and you’re feeling more present, while you’re losing weight at the same time. You burn those calories and you’re starting to make you and your health a priority.
The point I’m trying to make is that just because you have a joint that’s bothering you, whether it’s knee pain, bad ankle, or a bad back, that doesn’t mean that you can’t work out or that you can’t lose weight. There’s a lot of hope out there for you and there’s a lot of things that you can do. You can start integrating a yoga program, which will not only help you with your weight loss, it will help you with your mind and strengthening that joint. For me, my knee pain started getting better and it didn’t bother me as much. I started being able to go up and down stairs without it hurting.
I could get up out of bed and step down and not cringe at those first couple steps. It started to make a real difference for me. My flexibility and strength started to get better. You also need to consider your whole body: your mind, body, spirit, diet, everything that keep driving you forward. In conclusion, there is hope and there are ways for you to work out. You can lose weight and you can do those things that you need to, even though maybe your knees are getting in the way. We’re going to be having a live coming up on Thursday at 1:00 PM. So, I want to encourage everybody to listen and watch that video. Until then, just stay healthy and keep moving forward.