When I posted the YouTube video of Miss Kitty a few days ago, it got me thinking about exercise and overall fitness in general. I've been feeling rather frustrated lately. This is due to the fact that I haven't been able to exercise. I mean really exercise, full out, for over three years.
Whenever I share this frustration with my friends, some of them look at me blankly. And others roll their eyes, "Uh, Holly, I'm perfectly happy not exercising. And to have a built-in excuse? Just lovely, thank you very much." But I've exercised in some form or another for as long as I can remember. And beyond the accepted physical benefits, I find that mentally/emotionally, I actually need it.
I've gone through loads of exercise "phases" over the years. As a kid, I studied dance, fencing and judo. During the college years, I tried jogging, jumping rope and weight training. I've taken Jazzercise, kickboxing and step aerobics classes. Worked my way through exercise videos ranging from the ridiculous 20 Minute Workout of the 80's…
We even have a home gym complete with weight machine, free weights, elliptical, treadmill, and stationary bike. Yup, as far as exercising options, I'm good to go. Or rather, I was. I'm pretty sure I jinxed myself by thinking something I shouldn't have.
One morning while working out, I clearly remember thinking that if anything ever happened to me physically, I'd always find some way to work out. Yeah, well, little did I know I would soon be eating my words.
It all started over three years ago, when I noticed a pain in my foot. Didn't think anything of it. It grew worse, making it feel as if I was stepping on a boulder when I stood up first thing in the morning. Turned out I had something called plantar fasciitis. I'd never heard of it, but basically it's when the tissue supporting the arch of your foot is being ripped away. I went through two podiatrists, plus about a million dollars in arch supports and different "supportive" shoes. Worst of all, I couldn't do my beloved aerobics, or running anymore.
I resigned myself to the stationary bike. It was boring, but at least I could get my heart rate up. And, I sighed, at least I could still do my weight work.
Uh, yeah. Eating my words again.
Before my foot had healed, I was shoveling landscaping rocks in our backyard one lovely spring day, and I felt a twinge in my shoulder. Ignored it. (Yeah, I know. You'd think I would have learned! But no, I kept going.) And the next thing I knew, I couldn't lift my arm over my head. Turned out I had biceps tendonitis. I went through months and months of physical therapy. And I could no longer do my usual upper body weight routine.
"Well, fine!" I thought. "At least I can still use the stationary bike."
Uh-huh. You guessed it. Eating my words again.
Several months after the shoveling incident, doing nothing more special than sitting at my son's basketball game, I stood up and felt a stabbing pain shoot through my kneecap. I limped around for a week until hubs insisted I see his orthopedic. Turns out I have stupid plica syndrome and stupid chondromalacia patella! More physical therapy. And now I can't even ride the bloomin' stationary bike!
Final diagnosis: no stationary bike, no elliptical, no treadmill. (No aerobics at all really.) And no lower body weight work. Grrr! When I whined to my mom about all this, she said something like, "Well, you are getting to that age… and let her sentence trail off meaningfully.
What the heck? No way!
Forty-seven is NOT old! It's NOT, it's NOT, it's NOT! (See, there's proof! I can throw a 3-year-old tantrum with the best of 'em.) Plus, I'm forcing myself to look at the bright side. At least my bicep muscle doesn't hurt as much anymore. So I've been able to start my upper body weight workout again.
Uh…can you forget I just said that? I have a feeling I shouldn't have said that out loud.
Treadmill image by Sasha W