Keeping fit with a bad hip

Some people would give up on exercise if they were faced with limited mobility or a disability. Agnes Leonhardt has been finding ways to keep fit while waiting for a hip replacement.

At first, Agnes did give up on exercising because she can’t walk. Once she was connected to Sandra Pelchat, an exercise specialist with Edmonton Southside Primary Care Network through her family doctor and PCN nurse, the impossible became possible. She signed up for the Moving for Health workshop at the PCN.

“Through Sandra, I learned there is a lot you can do as far as upper body aerobics. When we are seated, we do upper body exercises with weights. You can do all sorts of exercises with your legs by hanging onto a chair,” says Agnes.

Sandra also introduced Agnes to an aquasize class at the Steward Centre, a facility that provides physical activity for the disabled.

“In that class, a couple people had strokes, some have MS and a gentleman has one leg. It’s geared to us who have limited mobility. It’s excellent,” she says.

Sandra meets Moving for Health participants at the Terwillegar Recreation Centre on Mondays to guide them through the exercise equipment on an individual basis. Agnes plans to join in as she wants to keep up her goal of three days a week of physical activity.

“Once I get my new hip, I plan to increase it to be active or mobile five days a week. That doesn’t mean it is cardio five days a week. It just means to be active five days a week,” she explains.

The PCN has also helped Agnes with improving her nutrition. Meetings with a dietitian every three months for the past year has resulted in Agnes switching from fast food meals to food that she prepares herself.

“It was easier to do a drive thru on the way home and have supper done by the time you get home,” she says.
Now she makes snacks such as a banana and peanut butter rolled up on a whole wheat pita.

Agnes learned other tips from the PCN’s Craving Change workshop. She now understands the difference between actual hunger and head hunger.

“When your body tells you that you are hungry or when you walk into Tim Hortons and you smell fresh donuts and your nose tells you that you are hungry,” says Agnes.

The 56-year-old credits the PCN for helping her lose 32 pounds since January.

“I think it is the combination of having all this help and being focused on doing something about it. When you are focused to do something and you have good input on being more active and making healthy lifestyle changes, it does work,” she says.