In January of 2017, my new year’s resolution was to take more breaks from my desk, get into an exercise routine, and make an effort to move more. It was prompted by the need to reduce the strain of minor back pain caused by sitting too long and finding some relieve.
As with most resolutions, the goal starts out with lots of ambition.
After visiting an orthopedist for a consult in early January, he recommended I see a physical therapist for some exercises that would benefit me. Knowing this is where I was headed, I started my own exercise routine to see if it would help. My ambitious goal included 500 push ups and sit ups, and 1,000 kicks within a week starting Monday and ending on Sunday. I have to admit, it was an aspiring 6-month goal. But also necessary.
I started this routine on my own thinking it couldn’t hurt. I needed to make an appointment, but I was also concerned about the number of hours I would spend working with a physical therapist and the hours it would take me away from my work. (You see the irony in this, right? )
I started my routine in January, every morning when I got up. At that time, my current work schedule required my attention, so I put off making an appointment with the physical therapist. Two weeks into the routine, I thought I felt some relief. As time when on, my routine was a bit invariable. My morning routine sometimes became out of wack. I’d make up my exercises sometime before week’s end on Sunday. Some days I would have a lot of exercises to do, and other days I’d be so consistent that I’d be caught up by the week’s end. It became obvious I needed to remember to do my exercises, log them, and make a conscious effort to space them out. This put an end to doing a bunch of my exercises on Sunday evening.
I also realized that when I did my exercises, which were mostly in front of the TV, I needed to consciously count my reps. If I got distracted in any way, I would lose the number of reps I had completed. I probably did more reps in exercises then were actually counted.
In either case, by February I had caught a bad cold which left me with very little energy to due much exercises. Concerned I’d lose my mojo, I got back into my routine shortly after feeling better. March, April, and May rolled along, and aside from that one week I had reached my goal. By now, I completely ruled out visiting a physical therapist, as I felt I was making strides that benefited my progress. By June, I was happy and thankful I reached my 6-month goal. Now I could release myself from my commitment and celebrate my achievement.
I wondered if I stopped, whether my lower back pain would return. But I felt I could get back into the routine if necessary. I mainly hoped the exercises I did to strengthen my back muscles over the last 6-months, would prove to permanently relieve any prior discomfort.
I shared my achievement with one of my close friends over lunch, who was impressed with my progress. She too wanted to buddy with me on routine exercises over the next 6-months from July to December. I was so glad I reached 6-months, doing it for another 6-months wasn’t at the top of my list! But now having a buddy and wanting to be supportive of her, I agreed. I still wondered if I could keep this up for another 6-months.
As I write this it’s mid December of 2017, I have continued to maintain my routine regularly. Some days, I slip out of my routine and need to make up those exercises by week’s end. I have discovered I can do this, I’ve also discovered I need to keep some sort of exercise routine, to keep my lower back pain at bay—cause it does return.
After a year, the benefits are clear to me. I can find relief with exercises on my own and as long as I don’t sit too long I have managed any pain reasonably. My strength has improved and I feel stronger. While I know physically I’ve improved—overall I feel better. Unbeknown to me I also lost seven pounds. That was a surprise as I never chose to weigh myself during my routine—it was never part of my goal.
So I guess I will continue into the new year. Once again, not excited by it, but know for the sole purpose of relieving minor discomfort its necessity. While every year is a new, I still wonder if I can maintain this commitment I’ve started into the upcoming year.