I Kieser to Manage my Health
Client Name: Jon Jackson
Primary Exercise Physiologist: Ben Milner
In an effort to improve his health, Jon attended Kieser sessions supervised by an Exercise Physiologist. With the help of Kieser and some lifestyle changes, Jon is in the best shape he’s been in for years. Here is his story:
“I limped into Kieser in 2018. I’d been living with hip mobility problems for about three years. After experiencing pain and discomfort all this time, my GP suggested she refer me to an Exercise Physiologist. She had heard good things about Kieser and after some research I decided to try it and landed at my local centre in Brighton. My Exercise Physiologist, Ben Milner, is a very warm and generous guy and made me feel I was in safe hands. We started very slowly as I had not participated in any serious exercise in more than a decade and my walking had become not much more than a shuffle. In the past, I had been very active until my forties and was a die-hard Les Mills Body Pump participant. Running my own business and the rigours of middle-age took their toll and in a few years I was drinking and smoking heavily, mired in depression and heavily overweight.
Eventually, I ended up in an ambulance on my way to the Epworth Cardiac Unit. That was a wake-up call for me and when I was discharged, I decided to get my act together. I gave up the cigarettes and the booze, which was very tough, weaned myself off anti-depressants and changed how I made a living. The down side was the new way had me ‘on the tools’ and on my feet all day. I was still struggling with my weight too; losing weight successfully, only to regain it through emotional eating and general laziness. I had been going regularly to a health professional who was able to give me some relief from the pain with massage and dry-needling, but she assured me there was more going on than just work-related pain.
I stand up most of the day leaning forward for hours on end as I do my work. She was sure it was damage to the tendons and that I should have scans and find out. After consulting my GP, the scans were carried out and as suspected, the tendons were torn and the labrum (cartilage lining of the socket) was damaged in both hip joints. Initially an orthopaedic surgeon sent me off for injections of Cortisone, and although it gave me blessed relief, it wore off after three weeks.
All the while I was attending Kieser three days per week, making slow progress as Ben devised a program for me which would engage other muscle groups to take over the job of moving my body around while the damaged tendons were given a rest and time to heal themselves. I started calling it ‘Keester’ training, since primarily my gluteal muscles were the prime targets for improvement. My lower back, quads and abdominals all had to step in and take over so I could get moving again. Each time my program was reviewed, I was seen by a different Exercise Scientist. At first I thought it was odd, but later I realised that it’s a great idea as then they all know you and are aware of your condition. That way they can guide you if you need it and make sure you are doing the exercises properly. It’s a friendly atmosphere without being a social club and with no mirrors or music, it's clinical enough to maintain your focus and stay with your program.
In addition to my Kieser program, Ben introduced me to the “Life!” program, hosted by Kieser which is a Victorian state government initiative with Diabetes Victoria. Basically it’s a free program run to prevent people at risk of diabetes, heart disease and stroke from developing those diseases. I am a prime candidate, since my father died of heart disease at 69 and my mother from a stroke at 71. Despite having given up smoking and drinking, I was still obese and at risk. The program encourages you to set goals and of course, mine was to lose weight. I told Ben I wanted to lose 20 kilos, but he suggested something more realistic, more achievable. So I tried to lose 5 kilos. All the participants were persuaded to lose 5% of their body weight which would greatly reduce our chances of heart attack, stroke and diabetes. While it was going on, I was sitting there listening, thinking, “I know all this.” “Eat smaller portions? Of course, that’s so obvious!” “Increase physical activity? Surely this is so simple; you don’t need to be told.” Then I had to ask myself, “Okay, if it’s so simple, why don’t you do it?!”
Having come back from family Christmas break, I tipped the scales at 116 kilos. So January 2019, I decided to just do it. I kept up my Kieser program; I changed what I ate and how much of it I ate. I walked my dogs longer distances. I started having regular one-on-one sessions with Ben. He made me a home exercise program to add to the one I was already doing. I lost the 5 kilos and just kept going. At the time of writing, I have lost over 40 kilos and now weigh just 75kgs. I haven’t weighed so little since my Les Mills days. I have gone from wearing size 42” trousers to size 32” and I feel great for it.
My hip pain is all but gone and I no longer take slow release anti-inflammatory tablets to make it through the day. No more pain-killers to sleep at night and my walking is now back to normal. Some people no longer recognise me, but that’s ok. Some people who haven’t seen me in many years claim I look the same as I did back then. Best of all is that I no longer need medication for high blood pressure or cholesterol. I recently told my GP that writing the referral to Kieser is the best thing she could have done for me. One simple step that led to me getting my life back."