When sh** happens, sometimes it’s a blessing in disguise! 

I had an interesting experience today. Went out to water some plants and closed the door behind me. Lo and behold, it locked itself! The handle just wouldn’t turn.

Cursing and swearing, I tried every window and opening I could find but to no avail. I looked around and considered my options. The best one seemed to be to knock on the neighbour’s house and ask to use the phone.

I knocked. Waited. Knocked again. Waited again.

Eventually, a towering woman named Yvonne answered. I think she must be at least 190cm! She was really sweet and understanding as she had known my relatives for over 20years. Eventually she even offered to drive me down to the city to my uncle’s salon to pick up their house key.

During the drive there and back we struck up some very interesting conversations. I found out that she worked from home and had been working for another company for about 30years before getting laid off.

Then we got out and went to meet my relatives. Almost instantaneously, I noticed that she walked as if she was in great pain and her steps were very heavy. To draw a picture of her posture, her head was always bent downwards, as if looking up would hurt her. Her shoulders were hunched and rotated forwards and that made me pretty worried for her back. Her torso was tilted forwards from her hips such that every forward step would make an almost perpendicular angle between her body and that leg. Lastly, every step would incite an unnatural jerking motion though her hips and to the rest of her body. I was feeling her pain just watching her walk. I wanted to say something or give some advice but didn’t know how to bring it up in conversation.

As we talked on the drive back, I eventually found out that she had had knee surgery. Apparently, from severe arthritis. After further probing, I came to the conclusion that reason for this was because of an extremely sedentary lifestyle that lasted for decades. Her previous job’s working hours lasted from 5am to 9/10pm and most of the time, she was sitting down at her desk for up to 8 hours straight! Even now while working from home, she said she’d sit for 4 hours straight before going to the bathroom when she needed.

I gave her some advice like starting a habit of standing 5 minutes for every 30 minutes of sitting. Using an alarm to alert her if necessary. I added that she should also listen to her body and sit if her legs get tired but slowly try to increase the amount of time spent standing, eventually working up to standing more often than sitting. Additionally, I told her that standing would also create some problems of its own like blood pooling in your lower extremities and increasing your risk of vericose veins. So optimally, it would be better to move a little when standing. Some examples would be to balance on one leg while doing ankle circles with the other. Or even some squats, some tip toes and some stretching every once in awhile. After standing too long, I would also lie down on the floor next to a wall and prop my legs up to facilitate blood flow back to my heart. She was surprisingly enthusiastic and receptive about these advice. Especially after I told her that my resting heart rate averaged around 70bpm when sitting but while standing, it averaged around 100bpm and the potential metabolic effect that could have in terms of burning more energy (and fats!).

Later on I found out that when she was younger, she used to love hiking, camping, mountain biking and just being out in nature. She also needed to work on her core strength, as advised by her doctors. “GREAT!” I thought out loud. “You can kill two birds with one bullet and get back out there.” Since you will naturally build core strength while hiking up some trails anyway. “I heard there are some trails near where we stay, right?”

She then drove me around the neighborhood, showing me the nearest mountain trails which apparently connected to the Phoenix Mountain Preserve and Squall’s Peak which was very popular among the people here. Wow, I had been meaning to start jogging on these trails for some time now but did not know where their entrances were. Amazing how shitty things played out and became a blessing in disguise!
Reflecting on all this, I realize how satisfying helping someone else in need is. This event has clearly reinforced my life’s mission to motivate and inspire people to be healthy and fit and help others in turn.

“Opportunity often comes disguised in the form of misfortune, or temporary defeat.” – Napoleon Hill

Do share if you think this will help someone you know! Thanks for reading and God bless!

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