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My fiancee told me I could help her research and encourage her working toward being healthy again in September when she gets back from her work trip. I know she used to love running ((**shudders** nmk)) but is no longer fit enough to just go do that without making a mess of her ankles, knees and back. Day to day life is often enough to hurt her joints and just sleeping hurts her back. I really don't know how to help without making things worse.

 

I know diet is 80% and we'll be eating low carb with plenty of veg, healthy fats, and protien... but what sort of activities can I direct her too that will help quickly enough to keep her from being discouraged, but won't risk a twisted ankle in the winter puting her progress back for months. 

 

Here's what I've come up with so far to start:

  • Chair yoga since she doesn't have the balance for the "regular" kind yet. (found that out with wii fit last year)
  • I can see her walking up to 20 min 2-3 times a week.

 

Any other ideas?

 

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Joint pain all the time and back pain when sleeping?  That sounds like something a doctor should address, not you.

 

She might also find her balance with yoga improves if she does it without staring at a TV.  So try doing it with the Wii off.  You could be her spotter if she needs one.

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A lot of overweight people who come here seem to do well on the beginners bodyweight workout on this site. If one of the exercises look like they would be too hard or cause pain just find an easier progression for that exercise or ditch that the exercise entirely and ask for an alternative here.

If she is up to it she can also add in the walks on rest days.

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Is there an indoor heated pool near you? Walking up and down the pool and gentle swimming might be good. Or some sort of Aquafit class? Being in water takes a lot of pressure off your joints. It probably won't be a big calorie burner, unless she's a decent swimmer already and can power through a decent number of laps, but I suspect It might help with rehabbing/mobility.

 

There are also a lot of yoga poses and practices that don't require great balance (at least of the standing on one leg/balancing in downward dog variety). As you identified, there's chair yoga, but I did Yin Yoga classes for a while and those classes all involved a sequence of seated/lying down poses and we were encouraged to make use of bolsters, blocks and blankets so we weren't hurting ourselves holding a pose even though we got a good stretch. (Although it might be problematic if she has difficultly getting down on the floor in the first place.) If you do a bit of investigation locally and online, you might turn up a yoga class and/or yoga videos that are aimed at people with limited mobility?

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Movement. I'm all about movement. There are a few FMS Certified PTs and Chiros near you. You could check out Jill Miller's Yoga Tune-Up; I've heard good things about it. I'm a bit biased towards Kelly Starrett's methods, since I'm a big MobilityWOD fan and practitioner. But the main idea is to learn to move, then get strong with those movements.

 

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I think you nailed it in your post. The best way to start (other than getting broken things fixed by a pro) is to walk. Walk every day. Its an activity you can do every day without problems.

Walk further and further, or quicker and quicker. Soon you'll find all your health markers have improved and you've lost weight (assuming diet remains the same. Improve diet too though if you can). Then you'll find starting real "exercise" easier. I put exercise in quotes because of course walking IS exercise, but you know what i mean.

 

That is how i started towards losing 80+lbs. I basically owe my health and sanity to the decision to start walking more.

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Movement. I'm all about movement. There are a few FMS Certified PTs and Chiros near you. You could check out Jill Miller's Yoga Tune-Up; I've heard good things about it. I'm a bit biased towards Kelly Starrett's methods, since I'm a big MobilityWOD fan and practitioner. But the main idea is to learn to move, then get strong with those movements.

 

I didn't realize how long that Kelly Starrett video was until I was 25 minutes in.  Totally worth the hour.

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Walking and yoga are probably your best bets for easing joint pain and generally trying to get more mobile. I'm a fan of the 30 day yoga challenges over at doyouyoga.com - they send you 10 minute videos every day for 30 days. 

 

You could also identify some very low impact strength exercises. She could start very small with it - try doing a plank for 15 seconds each morning, and try to hold it for just a tiny bit longer each time. Depending on what she's comfortable with, she could also add in a few other exercises and start very very small but scale up a little each day - push ups (or easier variations), wall sits, etc. It's a good way to see progress quickly.

 

So basically, try a scaled-down version of the angry birds workout for strength training.

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