(Re)Becca (urania) wrote,

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Exercise (from a non-exercise person)

I know this sounds like a "well, duh!" moment, but I have just realized that my exercise routine has made me more flexible. Who'd have thought, right?

I have never been an exercise enthusiast. There are some kinds of exercise I like (dancing, weights, walking if I'm in the right mood and my shoes don't hurt) and I realize the importance of being fit, sure. But I'm nowhere near the level of consistency of a lot of you - Megan runs, fights, has a weight bench upstairs; I know isenglass runs too; and let's not even get into Aquamanseebeesea's pre-dawn swim habit.

Also, for the past 2 or 3 years I've had off-and-on back pain. Sometimes it's gone for weeks; other times it keeps me up at night and leaves me queasy by the end of the day. I've had X-rays, physical therapy, and heavy-duty painkillers. Nothing wrong with the bones, thank goodness; the massage & electrostim parts of physical therapy were nice but it had no long-term benefits. The problem seemed to stem from the fact that (1) my job has me sitting mostly still during the day (staring at a computer, in fact) and (2) my core muscle tone isn't the greatest so I unconsciously "cheat" - not exactly slouching, but sort of. I can feel when I'm doing it, although it's hard to describe. I end up in a position that's easier to hold, but more painful over the long run.

Of course, those aren't crystal-clear conclusions and any problem like this involves a lot of "guess and check" diagnosis... did X help? No? Well, we've crossed something else off the list of problems. Lather, rinse, repeat. But the more I thought about it, the more I started to think that I should try something that would get me moving and build some muscle tone. Unfortunately, that meant regular exercise, so it got put off for a very long time.

And then I realized something: technology is my friend. Netflix lets me watch movies, or parts of movies, on the computer. This includes exercise videos. Specifically, it includes a couple pilates videos that are divided into 10-minute sections. Now 10 minutes every workday is barely a drop in the bucket, I'll be the first to admit - but it's short enough that I can squeeze it into almost any evening. It's short enough that I don't get bored. And it's enough to make a difference.

For almost 2 months now I've had a piece of paper stuck to the computer room door that says "RX: 1 10-minute exercise segment every workday." I admit I sometimes skipped out on it, but gradually it started to make a difference. Too early to say for sure, but I think that overall I'm feeling better. And the workout segments are short, but some of them do get intense; there's something very gratifying about the worked-muscles feeling.

So, there's all that. And this evening as I was doing my stretches, I realized that I can lock my knees, bend over, and put the palm of my hand on the floor. Now I wish I had paid more attention when I started all this, because I'm pretty sure that in November I couldn't touch my knuckles to the floor without bending my knees. Not a big difference, but a noticeable one. Not a significant exercise program, but (at least as far as I'm concerned) much better than none.
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