Thursday, August 14, 2014

"I'd Become an Athlete," he says.....

You can buy your very own refrigerator magnet with above image on etsy, here

I want to thank everyone that sent their condolences regarding my dumb stupid back issues.

Y'all are great. You really are.

So I have to share one part of the conversation from yesterday with Dr. Mike. Yes, that's how he would like me to address him. He has one of those last names that "everyone gets wrong, so you may as well use my first name."

Sure thing, doc.

After we discussed treatment options for my lumbar spinal stenosis and he dropped the S-bomb on me (Surgery?! Are you KIDDING me?) and I picked my jaw up off the floor, I asked him, "If you were me, what would you do?"

He said, "I'd become an athlete. Seriously. It's the best thing you could do for all of your health problems."

Become an athlete. Me. An athlete?

Some people have a love/love relationship with exercise. Some a love/hate relationship. I have a hate/hate relationship. I've always tried to make some kind of exercise part of my life but I can't say that I've ever really enjoyed any of it.

Well, except bobbing around in a pool, but that doesn't count since all I do is float aimlessly on my back with arms crossed over my belly. One doesn't burn any calories just daydreaming while looking at the pool ceiling.

Sigh. I guess it doesn't matter whether I love it or hate it: but the time has come to push myself a bit more toward a fitness goal of some sort. I'm going to get back on my recumbent exercise bike today and ponder this: What could possibly turn Julia into an athlete? Tai Chi? Swimming? Hm. I think I need to investigate these and any other exercise options.



Laura said...

Dance? (You could start with less impactful types of dance and change styles to get more vigorous when you needed more of a challenge.)


Walking/running has that whole awkward "out of energy and halfway down a trail" thing going, and treadmills are boring, IMO. (Though you can watch TV or listen to an audio book on a treadmill, so it's not all bad.)

But...when he said become an athlete, which is most useful? Cardio? Or strength? Muscle burns more calories, so building those up might be good - and also help stabilize the spine?

If it's strength, then you might want to consider Pilates, weight training, basic core exercises you can do at home (planks! ...everyone's bane, more or less, IMX), etc.

Kate S said...

I always think of clever things after I leave the doctor. In your case, if I would have thought of the clever thing in time, I would have said, "But what should I do?"

Because he told you what he would do, but it's something that you have little interest or aptitude for. And I think I remember that certain activities exhaust you.

So the questions of what kinds of exercises you should be doing should be focused what benefits they might bring, as well as what you are likely to continue doing.

Tai Chi may be a good starting point - it's relatively low impact on joints, you can learn it from videos that you can play on your TV, or you can join a group to improve the social aspected of it.

I've recently had a doctor tell me I should exercise a lot more, but when I asked him what I should do about the 2-3 days of exhaustion I should do after a half hour of gentle exercise, he didn't seem to have answers.

Let us know what happens.

P said...

Julia you can become an athlete of your own making. What ever you do, try swimming or water aerobics at least once a week. It takes the load of your own bones off you and you will feel one inch taller when you get out of the pool. As with any endeavor you have to invest in some equipment such as swim suit, goggles and swim cap(to keep you warm) chlorine removal shampoo and perhaps some fins. I taught myself how to swim free style by watching little kids take swim lessons, and also watching the swim team. The fins helped me keep my legs up and allowed me to focus on stroke and breathing. It took several weeks and now I really feel comfortable without the fins. It's the happiest time of day for me when I am in the pool.

Melody said...

I've learned that I need to start every day with some stretching and some Yoga poses and possibly some Pilates to get my body moving and awake or I ache all day. I've tried several, decided which ones I can really manage and make those a part of my routine.
I tried adding weights and ended up with extreme muscle pain so the weights went bye-bye.
Every once in a while I'll try something new, test it out to see if my body's OK with it and add it or reject it. I'm up to 15-20 minutes of my own tailored workout now and feeling a lot better. On days that I sleep in or skip it for some reason I can really feel it!
I do my exercise routine every morning while watching the morning news so it keeps my mind active too!

Nancy Joyce said...

I find swimming great, but this whole working for a living thing kind of saps my energy these days.

Back to swimming: sign up for lessons. Having paid for it motivates you to show up - or join an aqua size class. Easy on the joints - and reward yourself with a good soak in the hot tub afterwards: ).

Kelly said...

Sigh, there's a guy who just doesn't get it. How insensitive can a doctor be?

Walking malls is good exercise if you can just avoid the sinister Cinnabon salespeople...

Also, I've been told that if you are in the water and moving your arms and legs, you are exercising. So maybe just add a little movement to the floating you really enjoy and there you have it, painless exercise!

cargillwitch said...

oh my I so agree! 15 years ago I was diagnosed with degenerative disc disease after I herniated the disc between the last lumbar and first sacral vertebrae. I was told that is would progress and cause serious disability over the long term.
I was very active at that point hiking daily with four small children and decided that I would enjoy feeling as active as possible as long as I could. I walked at least an hour each day ( usually more like 1 hour 1/2 to 2 hours) biked, did yoga, gardened, danced like a fool. You know what? I'm better now than 15 years ago! I've learned that sitting is my worst enemy- putting the worst kind of pressure on the vertebrae in my back. A few days without a long walk sitting and I get horrifically stiff and the sciatic pain begins. Talk about cause and effect teaching me!As sogrens has been added to the picture i also note that my joint pain in other areas is far worse without daily exercise - mainly hiking and yoga.Activity helps me sleep better, fight depression and deal better with stress and fatigue. Its a low cost , no pill miracle. I can't say enough good things about it. As a nurse myself I am happy to finally hear more doctors understand and espouse its therapeutic effects opposed to pushing drugs with horrific side effects.Good for you for taking that message to heart!