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June 22, 2022 14 mins

When living with joint pain due to arthritis, exercising might seem like something to avoid altogether. However, with 15 years of experience as a fitness trainer, Pete McCall explains why moving and strengthening those joints is actually beneficial to joint pain and your overall health. Offering simple and safe ways to build on strength and mobility, Pete shares the importance of movement in easing joint pain and how to return to an active life. He understands the challenges of finding a fitness practice that fits a demanding schedule and explores the benefits of caregivers prioritizing diverse fitness practices. This episode is a shorter version of our conversation with Pete made for a shorter walk. 

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Episode Transcript

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Speaker 1 (00:00):
Hi everyone. I'm Holly Robinson, pete actor, author, advocate, do
it All mom, and I'm also a caregiver. And this
is care Walks, a podcast from I Heart Radio and
Volteran Arthritis Pain Gel. It's a show for family caregivers
who give everything to everyone and need to make time

(00:21):
for themselves through movement. Every episode is designed for you
to walk as you listen, so just think of me
and my guests as your weekly walking buddies. We'll hear
stories from caregivers and gain tips and insights from health
experts and advocates who know how important it is to
take care of yourself and manage joint pain due to

(00:42):
arthritis that often accompanies being a caregiver. We'll discover a
community ourselves and maybe even alleviate some joint pain due
to arthritis in the process as we walk together and
connect to the best parts of being a caregiver. Hey, there,
so glad you could join us for another episode of

(01:03):
care Walks. I cannot believe this is already our sixth episode.
I hope you've learned as much as I have so
far and are finding new ways to take care of
yourself and refill that cup as you care for others.
As a reminder. Right now, you're listening to the abridged
version of this episode, but if you're looking to get
a little extra inspiration, don't miss a minute. Check out

(01:25):
the full length version of this episode in your podcast
feed now. Today's episode is all about building strength and
strengthening our mobility in ways that will help us combat
joint pain due to osteo arthritis and maybe give us
a leg up as caregivers to I've invited personal trainer
Pete McCall to join our walk today. Pete has twenty

(01:47):
years of experience teaching personal trainers all over the world
to design workouts for their clients. He knows the importance
of strength and mobility training for safe and smart practice.
We've learned a lot about how just walking can be
a really important practice to treating joint pain, but I'm
curious about how strength conditioning can also play a role.

(02:08):
I'm looking forward to hearing how Pete approaches training through
this lens. But before we get to our conversation with Pete,
let's get moving and start our walk with intention. Find
a pace that feels good to you, ground yourself more
with each step. Notice how each part of your body

(02:32):
moves as you walk along your path. Where do you
feel tightness in your body as you move? How can
you actively release those areas of pressure and tension as
we walk? Consider those sensations and allow these feelings to

(02:53):
keep you present in the moment, in this time you
have set aside for yourself. Keep moving at a relaxed pace,
and I'm going to share my conversation with personal trainer,
fitness educator, and author Pete McCall. Pete, thank you so

(03:15):
much for joining us on care Walks. Well, thank you, Holly.
It really is an honor to be here and to
be having this conversation with you. I'm excited to speak
with you, so first of all, can you tell us
what first sparked your interests in fitness and ultimately led
to your great career in personal fitness and education. I'm
a product of my generation, Holly. I am a die

(03:36):
hard Gen X or eighties kid, and I grew up
and this is how I got into fitness, right. I
grew up on eighties movies, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, John
Claude on Dom and all those movies. The guy with
the Biggest muscles always won and always got the girl right.
And so as a as a fourteen fifteen six year old,
you see that and you know Arnold was everywhere. But

(03:56):
in all seriousness, that's what got me into exercise in
terms of changing physical appearance. But over the years, what
I've really learned to love about exercise and what it
can do for the body isn't just how you look,
but it's how you feel. So that's really what I
try to focus on when I do education for personal trainers,
is it's really getting to understand that the biggest benefits

(04:16):
come from how you feel and just the overall health
benefits for your body. Yes, absolutely, I want to dig
into the physical benefits of movement. How can straight training
help those who struggle with joint pain due to arthritis? Now,
this is something it's kind of like, I played rugby
for years, I played like competitive club rugby for years,

(04:37):
and somebody who's lifted ways for years too, I deal
with arthritis right, and arthritis is inflammation of the joint structure.
Osteo arthritis is you're wearing down the tissues, the protective
tissues that help protect the joints the bones themselves. So
when you look at this when you look at movement.
Anytime you move, you're building more tissue that can either

(04:58):
protect the joints, meaning must is help protecting stabilize the joints,
or that ultimately become the connective tissue that tendons and
what's called the fascia which surrounds each layer of muscle,
which can ultimately help your body become stronger, more resilient
against whatever you might be feeling. Yeah, and what's interesting is,
you know, we know that the movement is helpful, but

(05:19):
it's hard to get that motivation right which is more
important to moving better, strength training or cardio which does
more for joint pain. Are they both beneficial? I would
say yes, but I mean it's and that's the thing
with exercise. The hard part is with exercise, there really
is no one right way to do it, and everybody's
going to enjoy their favorite thing. And what's pretty consistent

(05:42):
at this point is a lack of regular exercise, meaning
if you're not moving, and I'm gonna qualify a little
bit a lack of regular movement, not just exercise. And
the challenging thing about arthritis, and I'm speaking about this
from two points. One from the technical standpoint of having
done the research, and two from a user standpoint of
knowing what a body feels like with darthritis is that
first few minutes of exercise can be somewhat uncomfortable, like

(06:05):
my nee will be yelling at me saying, don't do this,
don't do this. But what happens after the first like
eight to ten minutes is your body will produce its
own internal kind of pain killers, and your heart rate
comes up and on all of a sudden, you feel great.
So if it comes to strength and cardio, the answer
is yes, do both so that the way there's a
good balance of different forces going into the body. Yes. Absolutely.

(06:27):
On care walks, we talk a lot about finding movement
that fits into a busy schedule, because Pete, we're all
busy and we can always find some excuse not to
not to get moving. So what are some of your
favorite ways to add fitness into a very busy routine.
The main thing is finding an activity that you enjoy
and my one of my favorite it's so funny to
say this now, one of my favorite workouts is honestly

(06:50):
going for a long walk because I can do that
with my kids. I can do with my parents. My
parents are in their late seventies and so walking is
one of those things that I do with all generations
of my family. So I really want to give people,
you know, for any advice. If you're just looking at
starting a workout program, just start with what you've got.
That's so true. We love walking on care walks. That's

(07:13):
our thing, and hopefully our listeners are on a walk
right now with us. But what are the best types
of strength building exercises for alleviating some of their symptoms?
Is there one that you might be able to walk
us through right now on the podcast. One of my
favorite exercises to recommend for almost everybody is something called
the glue bridge. And the glue bridge is when you

(07:34):
lay down on the ground, your feet are flat on
the floor, your knees are pointing up towards the ceiling,
and you lift your hips up towards the ceiling, and
you do that by pushing your heels down. So if
you push your heels down while squeezing your glutes your
butt muscles and pushing your hips off, what you're gonna
do is activate those glute muscles, and the glutes protect
your knees. The glutes protect your ankles, and the glutes

(07:56):
protect your low back. So with the glute bridge i'm describing,
if you do fifteen to twenty repetitions of that, meaning
move up, pause, and lower yourself down slowly. If you
do that fifteen to twenty times, the major benefits are
you're strengthening the glute muscles, which really helps stabilize your
body while you're walking. Strong glues really allows you to
be more active. Okay, I just learned that. I always

(08:18):
think about when I'm taking care of my body or
or looking to strengthen something. I'm always focusing on the
core because I feel like the core. You know, obviously
it has a lot of benefits. But I did not
know about the glue bridge. So I am putting that
on my to do list. And if you're listening right
now on care walks, maybe this is something you would
you say to do this before you start walking or after.

(08:41):
Actually it's a good question. I would do it before
because if you're warming up and you're gonna go out
for a walk, then firing up your glutes will help
you protect your knee. So every time your foot hits
the ground, theoretically your glute should fire to help stabilize
the knee. And so if you don't do glue bridges
before you warm up, they're not gonna be as effective. It. Okay,
so let's talk about discomfort, something we all have experience.

(09:04):
But because discomfort can be so prevalent for specifically caregivers
with joint pain. How can you tell if aches and
pains after a workout are good or bad? That that
I love that question. If you feel something sharp, that's
really that's sharp, it's like, oh my goodness, where did
this come from. That's pain that should be avoided. That's
a that's a signal from your muscles or a joint

(09:26):
saying hey, this didn't feel good, don't do this again.
All right, We don't want to feel pain. That said, however,
a little bit of discomfort. We want to feel a
little bit of discomfort because that means our body has
done more than it's used to doing, and that's how
we stimulate growth. We want to be able to manage discomfort,
like with with arthritis with my right knee. With my
right knee is a little uncomfortable, I'll slather on Volterian

(09:49):
before I go for a walk or before I do
any type of hard workout that know it's gonna beat
up my knee, but I know that moving my knee
through the discomfort makes my knee stronger in the long run.
So thinking about more safe fitness practice are what are
the best ways that you have to cool down after
a walk or work out? Any favorite stretches? When I

(10:09):
look at post workout, it's honestly just slower movement. Right.
So when I come back from a long hike, what
I'll do is I don't sit down right away. I
just stay on my feet for another fift twenty minutes
and slow down my pace. You're allowing your heart rate
to come down a little bit, You're allowing your circulation
to come down a little bit. Personally, I wouldn't there's
not much need to stretch really after a long walk.

(10:30):
But a harder workout, like if you did a hard
strength training workout, that's where you might want to stretch
the quater steps, the hamstrings, the larger muscles involved, just
so you maintain joint motion as those tissues kind of
cool as a tissue temperature comes back down. Yeah, don't
skip the cool down. You've got to slow it down
and ease yourself out of working out any kind of

(10:52):
movement for those are just starting a movement journey, and
we talked earlier about how hard it is to just
kick started. How do you stay consistent with an new
workout routine, and how can caregivers set themselves up for
success when making new self care habits. That's a huge
question because you're looking at how does anybody create a habit?
And one of my biggest, one of the biggest pieces

(11:14):
of advice I have for people, Holly, is start with
realistic expectations, start with realistic goals. Once you see some success,
either add minutes I'm gonna walk for five more minutes
or at another day, and just begin with what you
can do and just challenge yourself to do a little
bit more than you think you can and just stay
consistent with it and you feel better as a result. Yes,

(11:35):
feeling better is the goal. Yeah, it's really clear to me, Pete,
how passionate you are about what you do. What is
your favorite part about being a fitness instructor is after
a class is over, when somebody says that was the
right workout for me today. Honestly, I mean it's like
when somebody says that felt right today. I don't want
to beat people up. My my goal as a trainers

(11:57):
and instructors, I don't want to be in pain. And
for any out there, if you're listening and you take
exercise classes on a regular basis, the best thing you
can do for your instructor is at the end of
class and a big smile and say thank you. That
felt right today, because honestly, what I love about what
I do is you know you're having a direct impact
on helping somebody have a better day because of something
of what they did in your workout. Well, Pete, I

(12:19):
have to tell you that felt right today. That felt right,
and I really appreciate having this conversation with you on
care Walks. Thank you so much for joining us and
we'll see you soon. Well, thank you for the conversation
and really thank you for inspiring people to be more active.
And hey, the more active that you can be, the

(12:40):
better you'll feel. Absolutely, thank you so much. Thank you
Pete for joining me on care Walks. This conversation has
really opened my eyes to ways that exercise and strength
training can improve not only joint pain caused by osteo arthritis,
but also as us the tools for better care for

(13:01):
our bodies as caregivers. I don't have to tell you
what a physical job caregiving can be, but I don't
think that I ever really realized or thought about the
best ways to get stronger for the work of being
a caregiver. That's all for this episode of care Walks.
Don't forget to come back next week when we talk
about the wonderful parts of being a caregiver with our guests,

(13:23):
fellow caregiver Rob Phobian. I'm really looking forward to that.
Keep walking until then, and don't forget to take care
of yourself too. Care Walks is produced by I Heart
Radio and partnership with all teran Arthritis Pain Gael and
hosted by me Holly Robinson Pete. Our executive producer is

(13:46):
Molly Sosha. Our head engineer is Matt still Oh. This
episode was written and produced by Sierra Kaiser, with special
thanks to our partners at GSK Platform, GSK, Weber Shandwick
and and all men from fr
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