Hello SOTGC community,
Snow may be pummeling the Northeast and the groundhog may have seen his shadow, but the reality is that summer is just three short months away. Time to start thinking about sunshine, bikinis, and beaches.
I’ve never been one to stick faithfully to a workout routine. I’d describe my past workout routines as sporadic at best. … Hit the gym for a few months, take six months off, take a yoga class for three months, take three months off – I think you get the idea. Last summer, I started taking Pilates classes, and I’m proud to say that I’ve been faithfully attending … until now.
I was finally starting to see some great results in terms of muscle tone and I was even beginning to look forward to working out and then BAM! An old back injury from fifteen years ago reared its ugly head, which means that my workouts will be severely limited for a total of six to eight weeks. I haven’t been to a Pilates class or a gym in about a month, but I’m determined to remain as active as possible.
I’m learning to listen to my body and only do activities that don’t put strain on my injury. I try and do daily triceps dips and bicep curls with light weights to keep my upper body active. Depending on how my back is feeling, I may try a few oblique exercises, crunches, or calf raises.
I’ve learned that you don’t need to push yourself to your maximum limit to achieve results, especially when trying to heal an injury. During the first few weeks after hurting my back, I continued to push myself and learned the hard way that it just prolonged the injury. In fact, my doctor even told me that pushing myself too hard at the gym is what caused the injury in the first place.
Don’t underestimate the simple act of walking! This is actually a direct quote from my doctor who recommended walking as my primary form of exercise until my injury is healed. I invested in a step counter (Vivo Fit by Garmin) and I was pleasantly surprised at how many steps I take just walking around the house doing chores. The step counter alerts me with a visual indicator if I have been stationary for too long. This is a wonderful feature because sitting for a prolonged period of time causes my back to hurt and the indicator reminds me to get up and move before I feel pain.
I’m also much more mentally alert and creative after a quick ten minute walk around the block. I strive for the commonly recommended 10,000 steps a day. I should mention that walking is not a huge calorie burner like running or swimming. In fact, according to my Vivo Fit step counter, I only burn 75 more calories on a day where I take 16,000 steps then I do on a day where I take 10,000 steps. But walking the hills in my neighborhood regularly has allowed me to maintain my endurance and muscle tone.
The last component of my modified plan to stay active is daily stretching. Gentle stretching not only helps alleviate my back pain, but it also helps my muscles remain limber.
I’m looking forward to heading back to Pilates class after a full recovery, but in the meantime, I’m pleasantly surprised that such a low impact fitness routine can help me stay in shape.
Know any simple ways to listen to your body to help you get in shape? Let us know in the comments. And don’t forget to share.