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Health and Fitness Self-Reflection

Full Stop

Rest, that period of time when going forward feels a lot like a going backward…It’s extremely hard not to judge myself too harshly when my well laid plans go awry.  However, I realize that even when I am at my most careful, I am not perfect, and therefore open myself up to injury.  The irony of my last health and fitness post being titled “Bulletproof” is not lost on me.  To think, I expounded on how I was using exercise as a means to make my body injury proof…sheesh!

This has always been my history. Even when I was lifting weights that were much heavier than I was, I could still bend over to tie my shoe the wrong way and experience the electric jolt my spine makes when it decides to go on vacation.  This time around it was more like a slow leak.  If I had been ice skating alone on Sunday I probably would have taken my skates at the first, low level pinch.  However, as I was with friends I hadn’t seen in ages, I pushed on, hoping my back would loosen.  All I can say is that it’s a good thing no one was watching when I finally took my skates off because I’m sure it looked like there were invisible magnets preventing my upper torso from getting anywhere near my lower torso.  I pretty much had to kick my skates off.

He might look friendly, but this guy pushes me!

The other day, I was flipping through the news when I came across an article on this guy, Ed Whitlock.  Ed was able to, at the age of 74, run a marathon in under three hours.  I HAVE to cling to the memory of Ed, and athletes like him, during weeks like this.  There will be setbacks!  As long as I can continue to take the long view I’m all set.  At the risk of sounding like I’m just making excuses for progress not made during my lifetime to date, I have always adhered to the idea that life is not a sprint.  I didn’t play professional sports or go to the olympics, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to develop type 2 diabetes, cardio-vascular disease, or morbid obesity by embracing a sedentary lifestyle, eating in a way I know to be counter to my long-term goals, or by GIVING UP!

I have a poster hanging in my garage that I use to help motivate me for this long-term view of health. The photo is taken from a book entitled, Growing Old Is Not For Sissies: Portraits of Senior Athletes– by Etta Clark. The grizzled man in the photo almost looks photo shopped. His craggy, weathered head sits upon the chiseled body of a man who has known deprivation, work, and drive. Were it not for the Rocky Balboa’s sweatpants, one would be tempted to search for evidence of a seam at the neckline.

I choose to believe that both Ed and this guy looked upon fitness with an eye for the long run. In the clip above Ed states, “Everyone has to find their own recipe for success…you never know…you always have to be kind of tweaking things and trying to figure out what is best. You never really know if you’ve got the best recipe for success. All you can do is keep trying to find it.” Would it be ok if I take tweaking to mean rest this week?

I found this interesting, according to Healthline, “In addition to heavy lifting, any activity that puts excessive strain on the muscles and ligaments in the lower back can cause an injury. Sports such as football and golf can lead to back spasms because they demand that the back turn suddenly and repeatedly.” The one thing that I did both Sunday and the day that I last experienced back joy was shoveling.  Turning the back repeatedly sounds a lot like moving snow.  Maybe I’ll have my wife film me so I can analyze my form.  It never hurts during the snow flurry, only when I attempt to do something immediately after.  Wouldn’t shoveling warm up the back?  

So, without any more stalling, I proudly present my abhorrent data for week 4. 

I’m not going to lie.  I thought this would be much worse.  I’ve crept up a bit here this last week, but I think when you look at this next chart you will understand why.

Only two workouts this week!

If you look closely you will see that after Sunday’s skating fun, I have done nothing to jeopardize the hard work Dr. Bob puts in to get my back into alignment.  I was given some mild stretching exercises and a lower back strengthening move to practice.  That was the extent of my physical work this week.  On a positive note, I’m feeling like I can probably get back to it in the morning.

I don’t know the secret to avoiding all setbacks. I seem to find new and unique ways to injure myself on a weekly basis. For the record, I’m being very careful to warm-up before any resistance training, I lift light weights or use my own body weight when possible, and I cool down. I also try to stretch or do some light yoga here and there too. the bottom line is that injuries are going to hit. Successful individuals taking the long view of fitness “tweak” themselves back to health and get back to it. If you need me tomorrow I’ll be in the garage.

Works Cited:

Clark, Etta. Growing Old Is Not for Sissies: Portraits of Senior Athletes. Pomegranate Calendars & Books, 1993.

Ed Whitlock Tribute #RememberingEd, 20 Oct. 2017, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WaXiBFow9Es&ab_channel=CanadianRunningMagazine.

Johnston, Simon.  Full Ahead…Aye Aye Captain. upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d7/Full_ahead…Aye_aye_captain_-_geograph.org.uk_-_686693.jpg.

“Medical Information and Health Advice You Can Trust.” Healthline, Healthline Media, http://www.healthline.com/.

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