Saturday, April 28, 2012
A few weeks ago the doctor gave me 4 weeks of physical therapy (PT) to see if we could overcome the pain I've had in my back/hip for over three years. Since I started SP, I've done better and better with exercise. I got to the point I was doing 40-90 minutes of cardio 3 days/week and 8-12 strength training exercises another 3 days (with 20-30 minutes of cardio for a warmup). But in the last few months the back pain has limited me more and more. Even walking up our beautiful mountain with DH and the dogs had become excruciatingly painful. The doctor suggested we try PT before going to more extreme, and expensive, tests and procedures. What he didn't know was exactly what I'd been praying for. Our little town has a PT facility that everyone raves about and my massage therapist had said some months ago he wished I could go to because he felt they could really help. So with my little prayer-answered script in hand I went for an evaluation and scheduled my treatments.
I've been working for 3 weeks with 3 different therapists, all having different specialties. I love them all! The difference in my body is amazing! I have never been flexible (read- I've always struggled with my weight) and even at my "peak" of Spark-generated exercising, I knew I was probably not doing the exercises in the most efficient and healthy way. A personal trainer would be helpful, but not a choice in the area where I live. Since starting PT, I have gotten a whole new "vision" of my body. I'm feeling "alignment" for the first time in my life. I headed up the mountain with DH the other morning and discovered my whole way of walking has changed! (And I thought I mastered that skill at age 1.) The therapists have given me several exercises and stretches to do at home. I've been doing those every evening and they have been effective. I've been motivated by Spark to exercise every morning. Now I have to set a new goal of giving my back some TLC every evening before bed.
On Friday I met with my main therapist for probably the final time. At her request, I took her a copy of my current Spark ST exercises. She went through each one with me, watched me do them, and suggested better ways to work. We have been focusing on my very weak lower abdominals and I realize that has been what I've been feeling was "wrong" in many of my exercises. Oh, I have benefited from all those core exercises I've done on my upper abs, but my lower back has paid the price for not having the lower abs properly engaged. Now that she has pointed out what's wrong, I feel I'll benefit much more from my exercise program in the future. I'm finally finding my center and proper alignment. This great young lady actually took the time to write on each page of my exercises the adaptations of the workout which will give me more help.
My energy level is starting to go back up as the pain decreases. Am I "cured"? No, but I am doing better. Today we hit the plant stores, I bought a lot of things, and spent a couple of hours doing up some new container gardens for the deck. A lot of bending,heavy lifting, twisting. My back is protesting and saying, exercise, stretch, and get to bed. Tomorrow is my scheduled rest day and I intend to do just that.
How does Spark figure in all this? Well, I have learned to make no excuses for not exercising, even if it's less and adapted to my needs. I've learned that I am a unique individual- we all are. I can't judge myself based on what anyone else does. I have to celebrate each little step forward I make and love myself at every step back. My third Sparkiversary is just a few weeks away and every day I am so grateful that I found this site and met so many wonderful people who've helped me every step of the way. I do believe that if the whole world joined Spark, we would live in a much better place!