Many, many years ago when I was in grade school, we learned a little rhyme about multiplying fractions. It went “Ours is not to wonder why, just invert and multiply”. I’m not sure what got me thinking about that last week, but I couldn’t get it out of my head. I was driving myself crazy the more I said it.
I was at piyo class last week and that kept going through my head. Don’t math rhymes go through your head when you are trying to exercise? I didn’t think so, but I thought I’d ask. On the 87th recitation of “Ours is not to wonder why” it hit me. “It’s not the time to worry why, just rethink and modify”.
A lot of you know that I am not a little, petite thing. I am in need of losing some weight. I am in need of some serious exercise. I am working on both of those things. As of right now, I think I am doing a pretty good job of it.
The facts are the facts though. I am 57 years old and have arthritis in one knee. I have a bad ankle from an injury a few years ago that I should have doctored with and didn’t. I am finally realizing in earnest that I shouldn’t do all the things that the younger, more fit students do at class.
It is not a bad thing to modify. It doesn’t make me any less of student to ask what the modification is for a given exercise. If it puts too much stress on my knee and I do it anyway, I’m going to pay for it in a not good way. Limping with a swollen ankle the next day when I am up and down with preschoolers doesn’t work.
I’ve had to modify the Kick Ass April workout. I can’t do burpees. The up and down on my knee just kills me. I can do mountain climbers, so I’ve substituted those for the burpees. They still hurt, but it’s a different kind of hurt. Mountain climbers don’t make my knee swell. Burpees do.
I am very lucky in the fact that I have one of the best fitness instructors ever. She has no problem with my modifying. She’ll even yell out a modification if she sees me struggling and not asking for it myself. All she asks is that I just keep moving. Her goal is to help me feel and look better. She understands that I am not 25 years younger like she is. She gets it.
There is no shame in modifying a move if you need to. It doesn’t mean that you aren’t willing to work out hard. It doesn’t mean that you are a wimp. It means that you are smart enough to not want to hurt yourself. Feel free to follow my lead. If you are working out and it hurts in a bad way, just rethink and modify. Your body will be happier and so will you.