Boot scoot shuffle and line-dancing. Not so hard to do unless there is lupus in your knees! During a recent “team building” event for my office, the guest of honor at our “holiday hoedown” was a country-western line dance instructor. It was a sight to see all the members of our local government law office learning to kick, step and turn in time to some cheerful country music. We had some great food, music and even a little enjoyable activity.
Trying to follow the instructor without stumbling over my feet was a clear challenge. Everyone was laughing and having a good time getting the hang of simple dance steps. After a few repeats of the steps, my right knee began complaining about being asked to move and started rebelling against orders it received from my clearly misguided brain!
First, a sharp painful twinge surged downward from knee cap to shin, suddenly all too reminiscent of a previous work-sponsored team bulding activity, when my calf ligament was shredded during a fun game of laser-tag with my co-workers.
I definitely was unwilling to hurt myself again in the name of “teamwork.” But, not wanting to be a damper on the day’s fun, or draw undue attention to my personal challenges, I quietly slowed down my steps and quickly became a much more subdued dance student. I was able to participate without hurting myself, and while being careful, was successful staying within my physical limits. I had some real fun bonding with co-workers during our western-themed gathering, and thoroughly enjoyed the day.
I realized that stepping in time with the music was more demanding to my “under attack” joints than I expected it would be. The lesson learned was to take it easy and listen when my body sent out little signals heralding a change in my physical limits. At the end of the day, I had learned something fun and didn’t hurt myself, although I took a step or two closer to pain than I had planned.
The next day, while doing my yoga and stretching exercises, a slightly irritated knee reminded me about its near over-exertion on the previous day. It spoke now as slight echos of the message it sent to me while “dancing.” Determined to take it easy, the new day’s exercise regimine focused on knee-friendly actions, invoking a plan to continue a little more carefully over the next few days, just to be safe.