BABY BOOMER FITNESS IS RIGHT HERE
I recently had hip replacement surgery. My left hip progressed from slightly achy sometimes, to requiring a mandatory limp when walking. After a lifetime of performing intensely demanding, high-impact activity (ballet, jumping, squatting, etc.) and, probably some negatively contributing genetic factors, the joint cartilage had broken down and my left hip refused to behavenormally. The verdict: osteoarthritis.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that impacts the joints. However, osteoarthritis, often called wear-and-tear arthritis, causes the joint cartilage to break down over time. I first experienced groin pain, which is quite typical. We each have a different pain threshold, so it was many more months before I scheduled surgery. Total hip replacement is a major surgery, and neither the orthopedic surgeon nor the insurance will comply unless it is absolutely necessary, and mine was!
CORRECT FORM RULES!
The Body Electric program was conceived in Tallahassee, FL, in the early 1980’s. The most important premise was that all movement, both aerobic and weight bearing, not compromise correct form. Damaged muscles or joints, was too great a price to pay in the pursuit of muscle tone and strength. When I opened the first Body Electric studio in Tallahassee, FL, it was important to install a floating wood floor, to minimize stress to the body during high-impact movement. For instance, Jazzercise, often taught in public facilities such as churches and schools, often had concrete, carpeted or wood floors … a recipe for back strain and shin splints!
MUSCLE WITH GRACE
I was invited to create a fitness show in 1984 that would be offered on WFSU, the PBS station that was housed at Florida State University in Tallahassee, FL. I believed that the shows might be aired in nearby Jacksonville, FL, but to my delight and amazement many stations across the country were airing the Body Electric program. The fitness movement was moving into high gear and Body Electric was contributing to the momentum! I believe that I was the first exercise host to offer body sculpture, exercises using resistance (light weights) performed to music, on TV. With lightweight resistance, my at-home exercise audience could expect a safe and honest workout, which strengthened their muscles and bones.
I soon stopped offering aerobic exercise because I correctly sensed that my TV audience was dancing in limited space on inappropriate carpet, wood or concrete floors. My valuable contribution to the at-home exercise market was to offer non-impact muscle toning and strengthening exercises accomplished in a limited area using a complement of inexpensive equipment that could be conveniently stored when not in use.
THIRTY-FIVE YEARS OF QUALITY PROGRAMMING
Many of us were in our thirties with young children when the program first aired. At age 71, and born in 1946, I am currently a fully qualified member of the Baby Boomer generation (the baby boomer generation extends from 1946 to 1964). In addition to the TV shows that aired on PBS stations, fitness products such as tapes and DVDs have gone through much iteration. However, the Body Electric workout has remained relatively consistent over the years because of my attention and commitment to safety and effectiveness. The workouts that I offered more than 30 years ago, are still relevant today. Most of us want a program that challenges our muscles without stressing our joints. And, for the necessary aerobic part of the workout, we are best served by a brisk walk, bike ride, or exercise on an elliptical machine.
A STUNNNG LESSON
I always encouraged you, the Body Electric “friends”, to remain strong and fit so that you could maintain the strength and vitality necessary to enjoy all of the years of your life. Little did I know that after total hip replacement, I would be walking unassisted without a limp two weeks post surgery! My surgeon is convinced that my strength and physical fitness contributed to my accelerated recovery time. Every time you work out, think of it as storing strength in your health and fitness savings bank. And, if you face a medical procedure or illness you will be covered, with all systems on GO!