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June 22, 2022 27 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.  

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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
all right now, just a reminder. Right now you're listening
to the full version of this episode, but if you
don't have time for a full walk today, then go

(01:24):
check out our bridged version of the same episode. It's
like cliff Notes for podcasts. 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.

(01:46):
Pete has twenty 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

(02:08):
a role. 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

(02:31):
of your body 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.
Let's take a deep breath, slowly inhale through your nose,

(02:55):
and now slowly exhale out of your mouth. Yeah, how
are your knees moving? What about your arms from your
elbow down to your wrists as we walk, consider those
sensations and allow these feelings to keep you present in

(03:17):
the moment, in this time you have set aside for yourself.
Take another deep breath in through your nose and out
through your mouth. Bring those shoulders down, Let your arms

(03:40):
sway from front to back. That's great. Keep moving at
a relaxed space, and I'm going to share my conversation
with personal trainer, fitness educator, and author Pete McCall. Pete,
thank you so much for joining us on care Walks. Well,

(04:02):
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 hard Gen X or eighties kid, and

(04:22):
I grew up and this is how I got into fitness, right.
I grew up on eighties movies Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone,
John Claud von 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 in all seriousness, That's what got me
into exercise in terms of changing physical appearance. But over

(04:46):
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 big benefits come from how you feel and
just the overall health benefits for your body. Yes, absolutely,

(05:06):
I want to dig into the physical benefits of movement.
How can strength 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, 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

(05:30):
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, actually what
you're doing is you're you're stimulating production of new cells
in the body. So strength training, more than other types
of exercise, stimulates production of new muscle cells of fiber blasts,

(05:50):
and fiber blasts become new tissues and the cells. So
that's one of the big benefits of strength training is
you're building more tissue that can either protect the joints
meaning muscles help I can stabilize the joints, or that
ultimately become the connective tissue that tendons and what's called
the fascia which surrounds each layer of muscle. So when
you exercise, what you're doing you're stimulating production of new cells,

(06:12):
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
it's hard to get that motivation right. We know that
moving better is so important, but it sometimes it can
be very difficult. Which is more important to moving better?

(06:33):
Strength training or cardio which does more for joint paint?
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 at this point is
a lack of regular exercise. Meaning if you're not moving

(06:56):
and I'm gonna qualify a little bit a lack of
regular movement, not just exercise, but if you're not moving
your body and you're not getting your heart rate up
a couple of times a week, you can take years
off your life. And I'll say that because I mean,
I just I wrote a book in about high intensity
exercise and how high intensity exercise slows down the aging process.
So when you look at strength training, strength training provides

(07:19):
a much greater benefit because you're producing new muscle, you're
producing new tissue. However, when you look at cardio, cardio
is very important because you're moving the joints, you're moving
the muscles. 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 arthritis,

(07:40):
is that first few minutes of exercise can be somewhat uncomfortable,
like my knee 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 then all of a sudden,
you feel great. So that's one of the biggest benefits
about exercise, is like cardio going out for a walk

(08:01):
or riding a bike, is once you work through that
initial discomfort, your body will feel amazing and you'll be
thinking like, man, I gotta be doing this all the
time because of the way you feel. So if it
comes to strength and cardio, the answer is yes, do both,
but alternate days that maybe one day you're doing a
total body strength workout. Using all of your muscles together
so you move more effectively, and then the next day

(08:23):
would be like go for a walk, go for a
bike ride, or go for a swim. That way, you're
using your muscles differently, and you allowed that they're recovering
from strength training while you're doing cardio, and then the
recovering from cardio while you do strength training. That way,
there's a good balance of different forces going into the body. Yes. Absolutely.
On care walks, we talk a lot about finding movement
that fits into a busy schedule, because Pete, we're all

(08:46):
busy and we can always find some excuse not to
not to get moving. So what are you some of
your favorite ways to add fitness into a very busy routine.
I love this question because, again, Holly, I've been working
the fitness industry for more than two years. I got
certified back in the late ninety nineties, and the one
thing is just being consistent. Is we want to be consistent,

(09:07):
and for care walks, 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 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
can do with all generations of my family. And here's

(09:30):
the deal. I love strength training, but if I'm a
little sore of the day after a hard strength training
workout or maybe something happened, you know, I've got something
happened going on. I didn't sleep well at night, because
we can't really work out that great if we don't
get a good night's sleep. But if I'm sore from
working out, if I didn't get good night's sleep, a
three to five mile walk is one of my favorite
go too is because you feel so good just moving

(09:52):
your body on a consistent basis. 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. You know what I mean, Because anybody
can put on a pair of shoes and go for
a walk around your neighborhood and you get to see
things you might not have seen. That's so true. We
love walking on care walks. That's our thing, and hopefully

(10:13):
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
in the podcast. Yeah, that's a great question because when
you look at some strength training and exercises, and we
look at some things like arthritis, where oftentimes we can

(10:34):
experience arthritis is in our feet and our knees, right,
and so one of my favorite exercises to recommend for
almost everybody is something called the glue bridge. And the
glue bridge is when you lay down on the ground,
your feet are flat on the floor, your knees are
pointing up towards the ceiling, so you're flat on your back,
feet are flat on the floor, knees or point up
to the ceiling, and you lift your hips up towards

(10:54):
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 protect your low back. So with the glute bridge.
I'm describing if you do fifteen to twenty repetitions of that,

(11:15):
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. The other thing, too, is
you're stretching your hip muscles. That the hip muscles along
the front of your thighs is you're getting good stretch there.
The combination the two can really reduce stress on the

(11:37):
low back. And strengthening the glutes is one way to
protect the knees. And again, as somebody that's dealing with
some pretty wicked arthritis in my right knee, one of
the things I make sure I do, especially my lower
body workouts, is keep the glute trending up because I know,
I mean just from studying it, that the stronger my
glutes are, the better protection I have from my knees.
Strong glues really allows you to be more active. Okay,

(11:58):
I just learned that always 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 lists. And
I really didn't even realize that the glue bridge helped
you with knees. My husband's had knee replacement surgery, and

(12:22):
I'm sure he knows this as a former athlete, but
I did not know. So I've written that down and
I'm gonna get my glue bridge in. 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. 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

(12:44):
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. You know, think about football players, right,
I mean, your husband was a football player. When he
was playing, he was out there doing mobility drills, and
those drills activate the muscles, so that way. If he
plans to make a sudden cut of direction or change

(13:05):
the direction, the glute is going to fire to stabilize
the knee. Now, somebody walking for exercise is not going
to need to make a rapid change of direction to
well maybe never know, pete, never know that car is
coming the wrong direction, somebody's coming down with one of
those scooters. You gotta get out of the way. No,
you know what, I'll back it up because you're right.
Because you might not think you might have to change

(13:27):
the direction. But if somebody's flying down the sidewalk on
electric scooter, or somebody's dog gets out of control and
you don't want to give yeah, you might have to
make a change of direction. But having stronger glues. But
in all seriousness, having stronger glues will protect that. If
you have to make a sudden lateral change or sideways
change and you're putting your foot down, your glutes will
fire to stabilize your knee. So it all comes in. Yeah.

(13:47):
The funny thing is one of the best core exercises
that we could do. Holly is actually walking because when
we look at how all the muscles in our body
are aligned, walking is like our basic movement pattern that
we can all do. So the more walking that we
can do, the more that we use all the muscles
in our body, because when you look at how we
move when we walk, our shoulders move, our hips move,

(14:08):
our arms move, and that can really be one of
the most beneficial things of a long walk is you're
just automatically tying all those muscles together. You know. Now,
it's actually I'll show this because I go to my
I'll see my chiropractor a little bit later today, and
that's always this recommendation as you start the morning with
the five to ten minute walk or I do a
ten minute walk after every adjustment, because your body is

(14:29):
just going back into its normal movement patterns. This is
great information, Pete, thank you so much. We'll be right
back with more from Pete McAll. Welcome back to care

(14:50):
walks and now back to my conversation with Pete McCall. Okay,
so let's talk about discomfort, something we all have experienced.
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 are bad? That that

(15:11):
I love that question. If you feel something sharp, that's
really that's sharp. It's like, oh my goodness, where this
come from. That's pain that should be avoided. That's a
that's a signal from your muscles or a joint 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

(15:33):
more than it's used to doing, and that's how we
stimulate growth. So at the end of a workout, you
want to be feel a little bit of discomfort, meaning
you want to feel like I just did something and
my muscles have worked harder than they're used to. That's good,
that's what we want. However, we don't want to feel pain.
What I always tell clients is like if clients are
complaining about something, I'll say pause, time out. Does that

(15:54):
hurt because if it hurts, we're gonna stop. But if
it's uncomfortable, that's what you're paining me for. Right. That's
because discomfort is where we get 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 volter and 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

(16:18):
knee stronger in the long run. Because here's the thing, Hollywood,
when it comes to arthritis and with the joint discomfort
is I look at it personally, I'm willing to put
up with a few minutes of discomfort so that my
joint remains functional and I continue to move my joint
through its full range emotion. Because here's what I fear,
knowing what I know about the body is if I
don't move my joints, if I don't move my knee,

(16:39):
if I don't move my hips, if I don't move
my elbows, if I don't move my joints, there, they're
gonna lose their range emotion. Yeah, just a side note.
Rodney had so much discomfort that he pushed through because
of his training as an athlete, the need to learn
to play with pain, and it was like chasing him
for a year is trying to get him to treat

(17:01):
this knee. But listen our walking routine. We slather on
the ball terran for each other. So I put a
little one, you put a little on mine because mine
are starting to act up as well to just a
little bit of pain. Especially noticed going downstairs. I noticed
like a little tweak of pain in my knee. I'm like,
oh my goodness. So thinking about more safe fitness practice

(17:25):
are one are the best ways that you have to
cool down after a walk or work out? Any favorite
stretches other than the glute bridge, which is going to
be my new go to. Well, and this is where, honestly,
and this is where like technology comes in handy, right,
And that's where a percussion gun, like those little percussion
guns and handheld massage guns, those can be a very
effective way for after being active because what is doing

(17:48):
is that pressure can help desensitize, meaning reduced tightness in
muscle tissue. However, and I'll say this, that's not going
to be appropriate for everybody experiencing joint pain, right, So
that's been one of my goats us. But when I
look at post workout, it's honestly just slower movement. Right,
if I'm going for a long walk, what I do
when I get back and I'm pointing over my shoulder

(18:08):
for listeners. I'm pointing over my shoulder like you guys
know what I'm talking about. But outside my door, Holly,
there's a system about a quarter mile away, there's like
a ten mile network of trails that either go mountain
biking on a rotting or hiking on one or two
times a week. But that's why I'm living where I live,
because I have access to that. However, 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

(18:30):
my feet for another fifteen twenty minutes and slow down
my pace right because hiking or walking or hiking is
not super strenuous. All you need to do is kind
of slowly gradually, don't sit down yet. You want to
take about fifteen to twenty minutes of just standing after
you get done a long walk or a long hike,
you just want to take about fifteen twenty minutes of
continued to stand before sitting down. That way, what you're

(18:51):
doing is allowing your circulation. You're allowing your heart rate
to come down a little bit. You're allowing your circulation
to come down a little bit. That way, when you
do sit down, your muscles won't be as warm and
you and won't get stuck in a position at what
you sit in. Because that's the challenge, right If you
come back from a walk and all of a sudden
you sit down for another two hours, your muscles can
kind of become locked into that position. Whereas if you

(19:13):
do a long walk and you spend some time just
moving around standing for a little bit, what's gonna happen
is your temperature, your tissue temperature is gonna come down.
So yeah, after a long walk, it's just some low,
intensey movement because I don't think there's really personally I wouldn't.
There's not much need to stretch really after a long walk.
But a harder workout, like if you did a hard
strength training workout, that's where you might want to stretch

(19:33):
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. I've done that before. Pete, Like,
I just well, I'm done. I'm just gonna get off
the treadmill and don't skip that cool down as a
reason why it's always in your program on your treadmill.

(19:55):
You've got to slow it down and ease yourself out
of working out any kind of 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 a 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

(20:18):
at how does anybody create a habit? And one of
my biggest, one of the biggest pieces of advice I
have for people, Holly, is start with realistic expectations, start
with realistic goals. Because what tends to happen is if
we're starting, if we're recording this on a Monday, right
if I say this week, I'm gonna exercise every day
of the week, and Monday I do great. Tuesday I

(20:38):
go to the gym, but Wednesday I have to stay
late at work or something happens. Now I feel like
a failure because I didn't make it to the gym
every day of the week. Therefore, I'm just going to
throw it in because I can't do this, this is
too hard. However, if you say to yourself, I'm only
going to exercise two times during the week and one
time on the weekend, that's my goal. My goal for
the next couple of weeks is I want to go
out for a twenty minute walk two times during the week,

(21:00):
and I want to try to do a forty minute
walk on the weekend when I have a little bit
more time. If you start small and you're able to
do that twenty minutes here, twenty minutes there, you start
building up success. You start layering success. So you go
from doing it two times during the week and once
on the weekend, now I feel pretty good. Let me
do a third day during the week, let me do
a little bit longer on the weekend. So it really is.

(21:20):
My advice for listeners is when you start a program,
when you start to move more regularly, just very simple,
small goals. Do ten to twenty minutes at a time.
Because we know, I mean Devan and shows ten to
twenty minutes of activity is better than no activity. You know,
twenty minutes of something is better than than zero minutes
of nothing. So for listeners, if you're listening to what

(21:41):
you're saying. I want to get moving. Start small, and
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, feeling better is the goal.

(22:01):
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

(22:22):
and instructors. I don't want you to be sore. I
don't want to be in pain because if I make you,
If I if you're in pain from an exercise session,
you can't move tomorrow. And that's not my goal. I
want you to move every day. And for anybody 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, yes,

(22:44):
we get paid by the gym to teach a class. However,
any time that somebody says that to me, that's worth
more than than the money going the bank. Because you
know what I love about this industry and 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 I did your workout? Yes, absolutely,
because physical and mental health are so intertwined. How can

(23:07):
we make fitness a part of a mindfulness or meditation practice?
My mindfulness me, Holly, my personal journey with mindfulness really
helps me kick start my day. So how can individuals
use movement and fitness as part of strengthening mental health?
And do you also do you have any favorite mantras
or or pieces of motivation that you use to inspire

(23:28):
your clients. I know you have some pe I just
met you, but I feel like you have some whole
pete lexicon that you can get people motivated. But in all, seriously,
that's such a great question, right because for years, for years,
we've always looked at meditation, or the perception with meditation

(23:48):
has been is as some sort of like whatever mind
body is not really connected. But what we're seeing is
that your brain controls every aspect of your body. So
taking a few minutes in the day and one of
the things I go to you. I don't know about you,
but I'll try to take a few minutes in the
morning and when I meditate, I kind of do a
little checken how's my body feeling. I'll take some deep breaths,
and I was like, how are my hips feeling, how

(24:09):
are my knees feeling, how's my shoulders feeling? And it's like,
what do I want out today? What do I want
to be able to do today? What do I want
my body to do for me today? So just taking
a couple of minutes in the morning to kind of
do a little that mental checklist, Hey, everybody, how are
you doing? What's going on? And then just sitting there
and think how do I want to use my body today?
And then for me, the final part of that is

(24:29):
just I live in southern California, and I try to
be very grateful that I live in a in a
very great area. I lived near you know, my daughter's
pretty close to me. I just try to I try
to start the day with a sense of gratitude for
you know what, I get to move today, I get
to be up, I get to be able to do
what I want to do, and that also helps me
kind of overcome anything that It's like, Yeah, my knee

(24:50):
might be bothered me a little bit, but you know what,
I'm still so I still have the ability to get
up and move. I still the ability to go out
and use this thing, and I'm gonna use it for
as long as i can. So don't know if that's
helpful for anybody, but I really try to start the
day with just being thankful that I have the opportunity
to get up and use this vehicle that we've been
blessed with. Yeah, gratitude is everything. It can be so

(25:11):
motivational in so many ways. Well, Pete, I 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,

(25:33):
the more active that you can be, the better you'll feel.
You just got to get through that first few minutes.
And the more active you are, the better you'll feel
in the long and better off you'll be in the
long run. 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

(25:55):
can improve not only joint pain caused by osteo arthritis,
but also gives us the tools for better care for
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.

(26:17):
Don't forget to come back next week when we talk
about the wonderful parts of being a caregiver with our guests,
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

(26:38):
Radio in partnership with al Teren Arthritis Pain Gael and
hosted by me Holly Robinson Pete. Our executive producer is
Molly Sosha. Our head engineer is Matt Stillo. This episode
was written and produced by Sierra Kaiser, with special thanks
to our partners at GSK Platform, GSK, Weber Shandwick and

(26:59):
and I'll Man from f
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