Norcella's Fitness Journey
Jeanette W. contacted me in early April 2017 to discuss working with her mother Norcella, to help her regain her health after Norcella's near-death experience and lengthy hospital stay (as detailed by Jeanette in REVIEWS). Norcella was living in Jeanette and her family’s home. They had turned the main floor into a “rehab” center for her and their dining room had become her bedroom.
When I first met her at their home for our initial consultation, Norcella, looking very fragile, was draped in a warm blanket, hunched down in an easy chair and attached to her oxygen tank as Jeanette proceeded to fill me in on what had transpired over the past 3 months.
During our meeting Norcella made it clear that she really wanted to be able to live on her own and to drive again. She also hoped to be well enough some day to go to Hawaii for a vacation.
We began our training sessions a few days later with some very basic exercises, using resistance bands, light dumbbells and her own body weight to begin building her strength and improve her balance. I would visit with Norcella for two hour sessions three times a week.
In the beginning just standing up from a chair was extremely difficult for her. She would tire easily and there were many rest periods which we would fill in with “brain” games and puzzles while she got her oxygen levels back up. But it wasn't long before she graduated to being able to sit on a sit ball.
An integral part of her workouts is walking outside to improve her endurance. We started with very short walks just down the driveway and back again, with me pulling her oxygen tank, walking very slowly, hand on her arm and her using her cane.
Now, several months later, Norcella has come such a long way! Her determination and “can-do” attitude shines through as she continues to gain strength and improve flexibility. She confesses that she is now stronger than she ever was even before getting sick!
Aging muscles need to be challenged to stay strong and they also need be flexible, so regular stretching is part of her program. Weak and tight muscles adversely affect posture and balance, often leading to falls, which we definitely need to avoid!
Norcella’s endurance continues to improve with our regular walks (even though she still doesn’t like climbing “the hill”). She doesn’t need the oxygen tank anymore, she rarely uses her cane and this past October she reached a new milestone as we completed a 3 ½ mile walk. Her next goal is to be able to do push-ups from the floor!
She is living in her own home, driving her car again and as she is about to turn 83 this month she is looking forward to that family vacation in Hawaii this April! Well done Norcella!!