There just might be something to this exercise thing. Those were the words floating through my head when I finished my workout two days ago. I'm sticking with it.
After a dismal five-year-hiatus, I recently committed myself to a regular exercise regimen. As you would expect, I had gained weight and looked it, but that was not the primary driver of this effort. I'd been having lower back problems for months, such that getting up off the couch was a several minute endeavor. I'd seen an osteopath who remedied the sharpest and most awful pain, but I still moved like a person years beyond my age.
I was motivated by physical changes that were affecting my daily life, but making it a habit required that I admit some things. First, I am not self-motivated in this department. We have an excellent gym in our basement, but I never use it because it's in my basement. The minute I enter my house, I can think of forty-seven other things that need to be done (or that I'd rather do) than exercise. Plus the basement's sort of gross. Second, I love being outdoors but I viscerally despise running. I've officially given it up forever. Wish I liked it, but I don't. Third, I hated all the machine cardio I was trying to force myself to do. I needed a scheduled time, outside my home, where someone else would direct me in doing things I like to do.
Luckily for me, a friend recommended a local business that specializes in personal and small group training. The cost is significantly greater than the local YMCA, but I actually go to the gym and work out, which I wasn't doing at the Y. I also found a Masters swimming group. The time and location are inconvenient, and I'm hopelessly slower than some, but swimming was my favorite sport growing up and I respond well to having someone else design and direct my workout.
I started the training sessions over the summer, but they were spotty given our summer travel. I added swimming on the first day the kids went back to school. Less than a month later, I don't know if I look different, but I feel different. Better. Less sluggish. Less gooey about my midsection.
Mid-morning yesterday, it dawned on me that my back didn't hurt. It had hurt to some degree for so long that it was a part of me, but it was absent. This morning, still lying in bed, I noticed that my back still didn't hurt. It always hurts when I first wake up, but not today. I climbed out of bed without tremendous stiffness and immediately bent down to pick up something without supporting most of my weight on the nightstand. That doesn't sound like much of an accomplishment, but when that's what every morning has been like for the last several months, it's a pretty big deal.
I'm hoping this means I've turned a corner on both my back problems and my poor exercise routine. I'm not naive enough to think my back problems are solved, but two days without pain and stiffness gives me hope that I can solve it. I had been worried that I'd be living with it forever, and I still feel like I have a lot of years left before I should be physically limited. It's a good day.
Anyone else out there making changes for the better? Trying something new? Already have something that works? In exercise or otherwise?
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In case you are a neighbor of mine and interested in trying what's working for me, I've been doing: