Tuesday, October 4, 2016

My Own Pain and Dysfunction Improved Significantly in the Past Few Months and This is Why!

I have always worked out regularly over the years since I used to be quite large and started doing it as a way to stay fit. Up until a few months ago, the most that I was fitting in was maybe 20-30 minutes of yoga before work.  Much better than nothing, but the results were minimal for pain and dysfunction.  I felt great in other areas and it did give me an energy boost, but that's about it.  In June, I started really stepping it up with my workouts.  I have been doing longer and more challenging workouts.   I was inspired  to do this by a video I saw on Facebook.  It was a 69 year old man who has been working out for the past 20 years.  Or he may have started when he was 69 and is now in his 80's.  I was a while ago, so I don't remember for sure.  He was performing amazing feats such as balancing on his arms with his legs off to the side of his body.  After watching that video, I really got to thinking about something.  I hear people say all the time that our culture doesn't respect elderly people and just throws them away when they get sick.  We live in a culture where elderly people who are doing well is a rare thing, to the point that we have an entire population representing pain, illness and disease.  People are scared of that and will continue to be as long as that is the example that is being set for them.  This inspired me to become the best "me" that I can possibly be with no expectations.  That's right!  NO expectations!  No weight loss goals.  No goals about what I should physically be able to do with my body.  Just in the moment doing the best that I can for that day.  And you know what?  It's been an awesome ride!

The fact that I am trained in Voila for structural joint balancing and can do it on myself is the only reason I am able to step up my workouts.  Dysfunction is a real thing that people don't always recognize until it has gotten bad enough to put them on the sidelines.  I still get professional Voila/neurokinetic therapy sessions and see my chiropractor once a month as well.

I now work out an hour or more at a time.  I gradually built up more over time as my body adapted.  When I first stepped up my game, the workouts would make me want to lay down and not workout for a couple of days.  I would take one day off and then do some gentle yoga on the second day, so that I was still allowing my body to open up without overdoing it.  Now, the workouts don't do that to me anymore.  What am I doing for workouts you might ask?  This is in general, so I don't always stick to a strict regimen.  Mondays-30 minutes of strength training followed up with 30 minutes of gentle hatha yoga, to stretch out what I did in the strength training.  Tuesdays are rest days.  Wednesdays is a combination of step aerobics and strength training either with my fitness coach or to a DVD.  Thursdays is belly dance class.  I am now in decent enough shape to consider belly dance class a rest day.  Fridays are usually cardio only- step aerobics without the sculpting.  Saturdays are ashtanga yoga day.  Ashtanga yoga is NOT for beginners.  It is intense!  Sundays are a rest day.  Sometimes, if it's nice enough out for hiking, I will switch some things up a little bit, like power yoga on Friday and hiking with my husband on Saturday.  I also occasionally go to a Monday evening hatha yoga class instead of my usual Monday routine.  Ashtanga yoga is sometimes a live class or to a DVD at home.  I got myself here gradually.  These are what I do and not meant as a recommendation.  Everyone's needs are different.

I do workout with a fitness coach and attend classes at a yoga studio when I am able, in addition to working out at home.  I cannot emphasize the importance of having a professional watch you and correct your form.  That's why I won't do live stream classes.  A collection of DVDs is cheaper in the long run than paying for live stream classes without a professional correcting you.   Those of us who are self motivated can be some of the most stubborn people when it comes to paying money for things like gyms, yoga studios, trainers, etc.  I learned this lesson the hard way over the years and that has a lot of do with the pain and dysfunction that I developed over the years.  DO NOT be stubborn like I was.  I have clients who do it, too.  Just DON'T!!!!!

So what changes have I noticed in myself since stepping things up a notch?  Well, the past two times that I have been to my chiropractor, I had no significant pain to report and just had him decide what I needed based on my posture.  He took one look at my posture and couldn't believe I felt fine.  He has the sky is falling approach in my own opinion, so I take how bad he says something is with a grain of salt.  My fitness coach is also a patient of his, so when I told him how much I had stepped things up, he said that I look more fit and toned.  He also knows that I work out with Jane.  I have also noticed since concert band started back up again, that as long as I keep up with the self Voila and apply what I learned in Alexander Technique lessons, I am also doing much better there as well.  I still started to get a little sore when it was time for my Voila/Neurokinetic Therapy session, but everyone needs checked out by professionals on a regular basis, anyway.  Areas of my body that hold the most fat are feeling hollow and I am losing inches while the weight on the scale continues to go up.  I am gaining muscle for sure.  I actually read a fitness article on Facebook that said your weight is supposed to go up while your inches go down, if you're doing it right.  How do I make time?  By getting up early enough to do it before work.  I am not a caffeine person, so this is what gives me energy to work on clients all day :)

I have no idea what a good solution is for those who don't workout.  Our bodies are meant to move.  When I don't move mine, it complains.  I even have yoga apps on my ipad and a travel yoga mat in my suitcase for when I am traveling.  The reason I am able to stay self motivated is because it keeps me out of pain and I'm an introvert who loves my "me time".  Even if it means waking up early due to meeting other people later, it puts me in a better mood.  I find myself needing less sleep and having more energy as well.  Each time I do a difficult workout, no matter how hard it is, I notice the improvements and what I am able to do, that I couldn't do before.  Another favorite that I like is yin yoga.  Yin Yoga is gentle enough to be done on a rest day.  It's all floor poses that you hold for a few minutes each to stretch fascia.  Doing this once a week helps speed up my muscle recovery time.

Taking care of ourselves doesn't substitute the need for professional help.  But, if you are going to spend a lot of money to get professional help, 90% of the work is done on your own from home in between appointments.  If you don't, then you are wasting your time and your money getting professional help.  Taking care of yourself can mean anything.  I am not just talking about physical exercise.