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When Daily Life Gets Heavy

Updated: Oct 31, 2022

Have you ever gone to complete a task you've been doing for years and all of a sudden it feels difficult? Let's check out this story about Mrs. Jones, a former nurse, now retired for 6 months and enjoying her more new hobbies of baking, tending to her potted plants, and catching up on all the books she had been hoping to read one day when life settled down.

One day, Mrs. Jones was getting ready to complete the weekly laundry. As she went to pick up the full laundry basket, she noticed it was very difficult to move. She chalked it up to just being a bad day. The holidays had been stressful and had drained of her of her energy and she probably jut needed to rest. So, she did. A few days later, she returns to resume her task. The basket is still heavy and takes every bit of strength and energy to drag the basket down the hall to the laundry room. After getting her first load in, she feels exhausted and sits to rest while the washer runs its cycle. She feels better and switches her load to the dryer and starts the next load in the washer. After washing, drying, folding the clothes, and placing them back in the basket to bring back to her room, she is surprised to find that the basket is STILL too heavy! She doesn't understand why this task is so hard, but decides to find a smaller basket and transfer half of the laundry to a smaller basket. This time, the basket is more manageable, but still not an easy task to complete. After putting all her laundry away, she feels the need to rest again for a few hours.

So, what happened to Mrs. Jones? Over the past 6 months, Mrs. Jones has gone from a very active life style on the medical floor, tending to her patients, scurrying up and down stairs, and helping her patients stay mobile. After retirement, she has spent more time relaxing and less time on her feet and moving. Mrs. Jones realizes she is losing the strength and endurance she used to have and realizes she needs to make a change before laundry isn't the only difficulty household activity.

In weightlifting, an athlete hopes to find their 1 rep max. This is the heaviest weight that they can only complete 1 repetition of and which often takes all their energy. Unfortunately, the 1 rep max exists outside of the gym and can be found in our daily activities. Mrs. Jones found her 1 rep max while doing the laundry. Completing daily activities at a 1 rep max is neither safe nor functional and can lead to serious injury, falls, or a need for caregivers and loss of independence.

The good news is that 1 rep max activities don't have to be your new normal. There is no age limit to building strength and strength training can be done safely when progressed appropriately. With the correct program, Mrs. Jones laundry basket can easily become a simple task again. She can regain her energy, improve her confidence, and continue to do her normal activities without help.

Don't let the laundry become your 1 rep max. Take control, build your strength, and tell that laundry who's boss!

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