Tag Archives: dance

Will I recover? Can I do what I love again?

Getting injured stinks.
I was just a beginner snow-skier when I injured my knee. Somehow I’d found myself on the Austrian Alps with Steve, the man I would eventually marry. I was looking down a black diamond run before I even knew what that meant. The town was Bad Gastein, Austria. Everyone there sounded like Arnold Schwarzenegger. 🙂 I didn’t know how to turn and I didn’t know how to stop. Lucky for me, Steve wasn’t interested in me for my skiing skills – he would surely have been turned off by my spectacular wipe-outs. I loved skiing – even falling was fun! – in soft, forgiving terrain. But now in Bad Gastein, I was in way over my head.
Ski conditions were bad (mostly ice), my bindings were too tight, and I was nervous. Steve was trying to help. He was a much better skier than I was. We were on a patch of ice. My ski caught and I fell awkwardly, folding over sideways. Bindings didn’t release, and my bodyweight torqued and twisted my knee. I felt it rip, and I knew it was “bad pain”. It swelled and throbbed, but I did not see a doctor. (Big mistake.) About 8 months later, I was dancing with my friends, having a ball. Suddenly, I felt my knee SNAP! I grabbed the railing to keep from falling. It was too painful to bear any weight. My friends had to carry me out and drive me to the hospital. I’m sure I was not the first, nor the last, to be carried out of that college bar – but most others for different reasons.

I learned that the skiing incident caused a lot of damage, and my funky dance moves dealt “the final blow”. I now had a fully torn ACL (anterior cruciate ligament). The scar tissue had to be forcefully pulled apart. Excruciating! Besides the torn ACL, surgery revealed torn cartilage and a stretched LCL (lateral collateral ligament). I was so happy when that Godforsaken cast came off and I could move my leg again – even as beat-up, deflated and flaccid as it looked. I wondered, how well can I recover from this? and how long will it take? Will I be able to do what I love again?

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Pain killers and ice helped almost as much as flowers from Steve!
And so began the strengthening process. Besides the physical pain, it was a mental challenge too.  I was used to feeling strong, active, athletic, healthy, competitive, independent, a team player. Unable to run or play sports or work up a sweat like I used to, I’d lost my way of relieving stress. Sound familiar?

FullSizeRenderMy way of getting through this was by listening to my body – being ultra-aware of the position of my knee, what kind of pain I was feeling – was it good pain or bad pain? I remember feeling so refreshed and relieved when I was finally able to run and dance again. It felt wonderful!

I have a soft spot in my heart for people with injuries – knees in particular. When I heard about Kailani’s, I felt especially bad. “Miss Kailani” is one of our babysitters. She is an excellent soccer player and has played competitively throughout high school. Summers, she works for Coach Ken’s soccer in Los Altos. She probably always envisioned her last year at Saint Francis including lots of soccer practices, games, wins, bonding with teammates, recruiters and soccer scholarships for college. But Kailani recently suffered 2 knee injuries – one on each leg. She had her second knee surgery and is now working hard to recover. Kailani doesn’t complain. She is tough, and she is handling all of it extraordinarily well. But I know she is heartbroken about not being able to play soccer in her senior year.

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Kailani with her Mom, Kim. Last year, Kailiani had 2 Prom dates: 1 young man + 1 crutch.
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Kailani, ready for surgery.

To me, it’s most impressive that instead of dwelling on the negative, Kailani has taken action. She has created something very positive that helps others – Goals for Girls, an after-school soccer program for girls in lower socio-economic areas. She feels strongly that sports are very valuable for children’s development and confidence, but many kids are not able to play. Kailani is rising above her setback, challenging and strengthening her mind while her body is recovering. What a dynamo! It will be a great experience for her and the young girls who participate. Please click here if you’d like to contribute. I think Kailani’s senior year is going to be even better than she imagined!

Here are some tips to prevent and recover from injury:
  • Listen to your body. No one knows your body better than you do. If something feels awkward or uncomfortable, or if you feel you are in over your head, stop!
  • Strengthen and condition your muscles.
  • In recreational sports and exercises, choose a partner that has a similar level of skill to yourself.
  • Try to learn the difference between good pain and bad pain.
  • Always see a doctor or therapist if you think you might have injured yourself.
  • Spice up your exercise regimen with things you really enjoy.
  • Always stretch before and after exercise. Gradually warm-up so your blood is flowing before you begin the most strenuous/dynamic parts of your workout. If you have knots, tightness or pain and you are participating in a group fitness class, get to class early enough to do your own stretching (in addition to the group stretching).
  • Always use proper form during exercises. Quality is better than quantity.
  • During standing exercises or stretches, keep a slight bend in your knees to prevent over-extension and allow proper blood circulation.
  • Get better at balance. Progress your exercises from 2-legs to single-leg, then stability balls or BOSU balls, etc. Add plyometrics gradually.
  • For skiing – Start with a lesson from a professional! Don’t ski in icy conditions unless you are an experienced skier. Make sure bindings are loose. Consider snowboarding instead of skiing. Falls on a snowboard are much less dangerous for your knees since both feet are on the same plane and there is little risk of the knees being twisted.
  • Exercise on smooth surfaces with proper footwear. In classes that involve fast footwork – turning, spinning, shuffling, etc. – wear shoes that allow your foot to swivel on the floor without catching or sticking. For Zumba, I recommend Zumba shoes – click here to shop. Use “boominbody” as the coupon code to get a 10% discount.
  • For existing knee pain, consider wearing kinesiology tape. Rocktape is one company that makes it. Use a foam roller and read this article for how to use it.
  • If you are injured and feel depressed, get moving in any way that you can (safely). Also find exercise for your brain.
  • Might sound cliche’ but… Have a sense of humor! If not about yourself, find something you can laugh about. It’s the best therapy.
I hope these tips are helpful to you. Please comment or share your own inspirational stories. Let me know if you would like my help to get/stay fit, prevent or recover from injury.

1st Boomin Body of the Month

Boomin Body is made up of so many incredible people! I would like to help us all get to know each other better. We can inspire each other to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Also, I’d like to recognize members who have been dedicated to their fitness goals. So I have decided that each month, I will announce a “Boomin Body of the Month” beginning in August. I am pleased to announce our first official Boomin Body of the Month (drum roll, please…) – Abby Stucker!

I can not take credit (though I would like to) for Abby’s boomin’ body – she had that before she joined the Boomin Body Family – but I think, and I hope she would agree, that Boomin Body has ignited even more BOOM within her. She came to her first Boomin Body class about 2 years ago, after we’d just met at Grant Park for a Children’s Center playdate and then bumped into each other again at Gold Star Gymnastics. After telling her only a little bit about Boomin Body, I was thrilled that she actually came to Zumba, was even brave enough to stand in front with me, and when the dance party was over, she said “I loved it!”

Since then, she comes regularly to Tuesday and Saturday classes, bringing along her bright smile, 1-3 of her sons when necessary and sometimes her mother, sister or friend from out-of-town, and always promising her husband to make pancakes as soon as she gets back on Saturday mornings – as it is Stucker Family tradition. You see, although Abby is dedicated to her workout regimen and her newfound love for social fitness, she is and always has been a die-hard Family Woman – an amazing mother, a wonderful wife and an exceptional homemaker. She gives so much of herself to her children, especially her creativity and fantastic story-telling skills. Abby tells the silliest, most suspenseful stories to these kids – made up right off the top of her head and delivered with such dramatic fun and conviction. In today’s world of kids’ eyeballs staring at smartphones or iPads, it’s very impressive the way she captivates her child audience – they hang on her every word! She’s also a fabulous cook – always looking for new, healthy recipes to serve to her family and friends. She completely transformed her kitchen in record time – much faster than the gazillion other remodels currently underway in Los Altos – and it is absolutely gorgeous. And with all her spare time 😉 , she manages to volunteer regularly for her children’s schools.

So you’re probably wondering – what is her workout regimen? Having just joined the 40-year-old club last month (Happy Birthday Abby!), how does she keep that boomin’ body? On most days of the week, she has already done a workout before 7:30 AM which includes 3-6 miles of running or 40-minutes on her Nordic Track, lots of ab crunches and push-ups, weight-lifting once per week, Zumba twice per week, boot camp on Fridays and occasionally Yoga on Sundays. This program works for her, and coming to Zumba has been a great compliment to her routine. She admits that dancing, laughing and letting loose with our group of friendly women is much more fun than working out alone.

Abby recently completed a Tough Mudder with a group of Oak Elementary parents. I remember that Abby was a great sport when she first told us she was going to do it. Having never heard of it before, we were teasing and giving her a hard time because it sounded like a young mothers’ mud-wrestling match which may or may not involve white tank tops and spraying water hoses. To be clear, it is absolutely NOT that! Tough Mudder is an endurance event including 10–12-mile-long military-style obstacle courses, designed by British Harvard post-grads to test mental and physical strength. Not knowing for certain what to expect, Abby prepared for and completed the 5-hr event in Tahoe and was emotionally moved and visibly invigorated by the whole thing. I commend Abby for taking that risk and persisting, despite some hesitance. Clearly, it was a very positive, respectable, healthy experience. In addition to her fitness endeavors, Abby consistently keeps an active lifestyle for herself and her family – heading out to parks, beaches, swimming pools, whenever possible, and she is very supportive of her husband’s love of tennis.

Lastly, I want to point out that Abby, like myself, has developed an outlet for her passion. Abby is very crafty! Her passion is sewing and crafting, and she is so good at it! She owns her own business, Phoebe & Claire, where she designs and sells her hand-made tote bags (perfectly sized for water bottle, hand weights and towel), aprons, cute hair bands (for keeping hair out of your face while you exercise) and tooth-fairy pillows. Click here to check out her Etsy site. You’ll see her products are bright, colorful and stylish – a fitting representation of Abby’s zest for life!

So, thank you Abby for being a strong woman, a dear friend, a healthy, cheerful person, a loving mother, a dedicated wife, an avid supporter of Boomin Body, and an inspiration to all of us! You are the perfect first Boomin Body of the Month!

Happy August (Back-to-School Month) to all of you, Boomin Body Friends and Family! Click here to view or sign up for your next Boomin Body fitness class. Please comment, share and check back with this blog for weekly health and fitness posts and to find out who will be the Boomin Body of September!?11220140_10204884976674261_9150692219475924521_n