Saturday, December 26, 2009

Making progress with the old man

My dad was never a big fan of my avid interest in physical fitness and physical activities. His attempts to turn me into a nerdy bookworm were only half successful. I did turn out to become a nerd, but he fortunately never succeeded in making me forgo all physical activity to study more. In fact, his constant badgering about me not studying enough probably caused me to rebel and become even more interested in physical fitness. But last night, he didn't poo-poo my fitness expertise like he usually does. Finally, after decades of criticizing me for wasting my time training too much, he finally listened to my advice about exercising.

What happened? Well, my dad retired. You have a lot of free time to fill when you go from college professor to retiree. He took up repairing the house, and like everything else he tackles, he took it up with single-minded vigor. But he neglected to consider that he doesn't have the body of a 20 year old any more, and years of professing while not exercising had taken quite a toll on his physical conditioning. He gave himself tendonitis from gripping and using his tools for too long without sufficient rest.

Then he starts exercising, doing mostly pushups and modified squats. That would be ok, except my dad ignored my advice on correcting his pushup form. He managed to overdo the pushups and strained his shoulder. I suspect (from my attempt to play PT) that he wasn't using his upper back and lats enough to stabilize his shoulders, so he overused his rotator cuff muscles to compensate (guessing he strained his supraspinatus? gotta ask my PT friends to be sure).

After two bouts with injuries, he finally listened to me as I instructed him to do band pull aparts and scapular wall slides to restore proper shoulder mobility and muscle activation patterns. I may try getting him to do a scapula push up and some lat pull down variation, but I don't want to push my luck quite yet. From past experience, my dad doesn't always take too well to having to listen to his son instead of barking out the orders. But I'm pleased I've made this much progress with him. Maybe in another few years, I'll also be able to correct his hip movement dysfunctions.

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