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Day 8: WARNING - Gripes and Grumbles Ahead

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Both my parents came from farming backgrounds. The women worked as hard as the men, if not harder. Several of my great-grandparents lived to be well-up into their 90s; one of my grandmothers was nearly 100 when she died, living in the house she and my grandfather bought in 1934. And right up until almost the end she was still mowing her own yard in summer and clearing the snow in winter. (No mean feat, that: she lived in upstate NY, near the Canadian border, where they get lake-effect snow that will pull a house down.)

I missed a great-great-grandmother by just a few years, who also lived in her own house up until she died. None of these ancestors became incapacitated: while a few died younger than others, none of them had strokes or dementia or any illnesses that rendered them incapable of independent living.

Yes, I hear you: I am indeed blessed with good genes.

If any one of the 'oldsters' had said to me 'You know, no matter how much weight you gain or what kind of job you do, be sure to spend some time each day moving. If you don't, you'll find it gets harder and harder to do things and move around when you want to.'

Maybe they did tell me and I just didn't listen. Or maybe I had such good examples in front of me (I mean, seriously, except for some arthritis - which they always called 'rheumatism' and laughed ruefully at themselves for getting old - they were healthy, active people) that I didn't realize what kept them going was - to keep going.

On New Year's Day I outlined the basic resolutions I plan to achieve this year. Last year my fitness / exercise regimen was, shall we say, somewhat sporadic at best. I had a couple of bad problems (most notably the plantar fasciitis, of which I'd never heard and which I've come to detest) that deterred much exercise, even walking. I'm not saying that as an excuse, just as a statement of fact.

After doing some research and checking some things, I decided there are a few things I CAN do, though, so I decided to do yoga for 15 minutes each day. I practiced yoga pretty much daily in my early twenties, then kind of drifted away from it when the kids came along. Don't get the idea I was really good at it - I wasn't - but I could stand on my head, so... not too shabby, lol. Anyhow, since I could choose yoga postures that don't require standing, I thought, yes, there's one fitness tool I can use.

A fellow Sparkler put me onto Anne Burnell's 'chair exercises' here on Spark, so yes, that works - certainly avoids aggravating the foot problem. Amazing how you can be sitting and still get the ol' heartrate up!

Another exercise machine is our WiiFit. That's a little trickier, as you have to stand on the board for most of the activities, or else move around for things like tennis. Again, I went thru and picked out exercises like the balancing 'games' and the chicken flight* so I could do 20 minutes each day of WiiFit but not have to do the step or kick kind of things.

*Chicken flight: if you have a Wii, you already know. If you don't, well, let's just say it's not the most dignified of activities.

And two of our kids gave us 'Beatleband' last year for Christmas, with more music for it this year. I took on the role of 'drummer' because I really flap my arms around. I don't get very good scores, mind you, but I work my arms like a madwoman, lol.

The plan was to work back up to walking, gradually: we hit it lucky on eBay a couple years ago and have a really good secondhand treadmill, which I love. I keep hoping that losing more weight, practicing some foot-therapy, things like that, will see a cessation of the PF. Maybe.

Well, the best-laid plans o'mice and men - and Sparkers. Tuesday I threw my back out. At least, I guess that's what I did. I've never had back trouble, I wasn't doing anything super strenuous, I haven't changed shoes or my desk chair or been someplace where I had to stand for hours on end - in other words, nothing out of the ordinary. I was consciously careful about the yoga, stretching gently and not overstretching - you know, touching knees instead of the floor and so on. Same with the WiiFit, being careful not to overdo.

I vacuum, I do dishes, I carry the laundry basket around - it's not like I was a passenger on Wall-E's cruiseliner. But I certainly wasn't making sure I kept fit, in any sense of the word.

Anyway, here I am, applying a heating pad to my back, moving ever so carefully, being sure to have both feet flat on the floor, etc etc etc.

Funny. I have a rueful laugh just like my grandmother and her sister used to have.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Oh, I'm so sorry to hear about your back. I have lots of back trouble, but I just recently learned from my Physical Therapist that although putting the heat on my back felt good, I was actually doing bad. If you have any swelling in your back and you use heat, you will make the swelling worse and that was what I was doing. Now I use only ice. It's amazing how people can throw out their backs just by sneezing and the such.

    I hope you feel better soon. They have a foot brace for PF that holds your foot in a good position all night. If you haven't seen it, you might want to google it. I have a friend with PF and that realy helps her.

    Feel better!
    3708 days ago
    So sorry about your back, Kasey but at least you are moving once again. I don't think it's what you do but that you move that counts! I am into stretching first thing in the morning and at night now and I can't believe the difference it has been making in helping my body move, especially when I do cardio. I, too, did yoga in my 20's and why I quit I don't know...maybe I should give it a try again!
    3708 days ago
    emoticon Sorry about your back...maybe it's that old "rheumatism". I remember my great-grandma telling me about that when she'd over-do it. She was a hard-worker and never quit until the day was done. She never told me to make sure I moved around...people of that generation didn't think you'd have to tell someone to move...it was just expected you would. With all of our modern conveniences we don't have to work as hard. (And, do we have any more time now that we have them? I know I don't ~ but that's another blog.)

    You've discovered some fun ways to get your exercise is while being kind to your body. I do yoga, too...and my form leaves a lot to be desired. I stretch as much as I can and modify if need be...it's still beneficial. I don't use my Wii as much as I should~I have lots of games to play that help me get my exercise minutes in...guess your blog gave me a good reminder..

    Hope your "rheumatism" goes away and you feel better soon. When I throw my back out, it's usually by doing the simplest of things...not when I really exert myself. I know your pain and empathize...
    3708 days ago
  • SROUS1340
    Oh my, I hope you are better by now. I had one of those aches and pains things going on last week too. I seem to be better this week, but we gotta keep moving.
    3708 days ago
  • no profile photo CD5080021
    I hate that you hurt your back, but glad you are moving. It doesn't take much when we just sit does it. Be careful with that Wii. It took me over a year to get over tendonitis in my feet due to the Wii. I went at it way to fast and to hard. I ended up at an ortho Dr. and told him I had Wii feet. I sold that thing. Evil I tell you, evil emoticon
    3708 days ago
    Kasey, Sorry about your back!
    I know about "best laid plans!" On our cruise I planned to work out in the exercise room every day. The day before the cruise I tripped on a crack in the sidewalk and landed hard. Didn't break anything but for two weeks I didn't have full use of my right arm -- hard to even comb my hair. So I did do some walking around the deck, but not as much as planned. Now I'm doing the boot camp 10 minute workouts and still find the arm a little painful. But I will keep on keeping on and it will improve.

    Best wishes to you!
    3708 days ago
    Can't believe I missed this!! SO sorry about your back - hope you are better soon!! Thanks for the kind words on my blog and I know that you will get to that goal....take care of yourself!!
    3709 days ago
    Hope your back is feeling better. Kudos to you for looking for ways to exercise and get around the PF. I'll look into the chair exercises you mentioned. I'm doing 2 streaks now. No cigarettes and using my hand weights every day. I'm on day 9 of my streak.

    Keep up your upbeat attitude Kasey. Yvonne
    3709 days ago
    I plan to live to 120. I think being fit is the key.
    3709 days ago
    Whatta great blog!--- You are right---to keep going, we must keep moving--- Keep on ""doin'""---Poor you and your back! Frustrating !!!! Maybe it's the body saying to not keep going so fast--to stop and rest along the way--- Who knows eh??--- But---- Can you exercise your fingers or something while flat on that back?--LOLOL------ I hear you though about not liking being laid up---Knowing you , it won't be for long--- Oh--I too enjoy my treadmill--- Lynda emoticon
    3709 days ago
  • REJ7777
    OUCH!!! emoticon I hope that it's nothing TOO serious, and that you'll be able to move around again soon. We take our healthy bodies for granted in our youth. When we get older, we get more fragile and it's more of a challenge to try to stay fit. Just don't give up! emoticon
    3709 days ago
    Oh Kasey...you're a mess! I'm so sorry. I've suffered from PF for 10-12 yrs. now, but it's giving me a break for the past year or so. I still keep a peice of 4" PVC pipe under my desk to roll my feet on. I only own practical well fitting shoes. Thinking back, I believe shoes were the turning point for me. The pain controlled my life.

    Yay for you finding other exercise to keep going with. That's when I joined the Y & started water aerobics. Loved it.
    You're doing great with your weight loss anyway!!!! emoticon

    My mom is 87 & just broke her bottom vertabrae before Christmas.
    She had surgery last week & is recovering, but she's really ready for this to be done! We're in the process of building her a tiny exercise pool. Should be done just about the time she's ready to move that much.

    Keep up the good fight girl! You're winning! emoticon
    3709 days ago
    Oh, sweetie, so sorry about the back pain. Hope it gets better soon.

    You have been doing such a great job of being creative and finding those things that you CAN do! I'm proud of your tenacity. Hang in there... feel better... and be kind to yourself with whatever gentle motion you can pull off.

    emoticon emoticon
    3709 days ago
    You are talented! LOL---hope it feels better soon. Are you doing those foot exercises I told you about? and rolling it with an ice bottle several times a day? But I did something to my leg again---it hurts just like last year at this time---so I totally understand how just doing regular stuff seems to somehow lead to hurts. But keeping moving is surely the best thing for us----keeps that oxygen flowing thru out the body.
    3709 days ago
  • no profile photo CD6484093
    Yes, keeping active is key to living a long life. My DH's dad lived to almost 103 and my mom died a month shy of 93. Both were active and stayed fit as best they could. It's a good lesson to learn. And practice.

    As for your back -- sorry it's bothering you. Do you suppose sitting in that freezing room for the conference may have contributed. I've heard that people can get colds in their back. I've never had one, I don't think, but that thought did run through my mind as I read your blog. Anyway, I hope it's feeling better soon.
    3709 days ago
    I love the way Dory from "Finding Nemo" says JUST KEEP SWIMMING!
    3709 days ago
    Your women relatives are fantastic role models, the kind of women I want so much to hear about. My mother is 92. She hiked the Grand Canyon at age 80. But she had a few setbacks: at age 85 as a hospital volunteer, a food cart slammed into her ankle and she spent a long time recovering. She had to retire after that accident. Someone hit her Toyota while she was driving, and the airbag did not deploy. The steering wheel hit her chest, bruised her heart and damaged the part that controls breathing. So she has to use oxygen every day now. She still does her own laundry, and even drives her car! But those "setbacks" took their toll.

    In my observation many women allow their men to lift all the heavy stuff, when in reality women would benefit by doing some of it themselves -- just as your women relatives did!

    Thanks for sharing that valuable insight into maintaining fitness and longevity!
    3709 days ago
    I threw my back out while bellydancing. Still have problems. emoticon
    3709 days ago
    Oh, my poor friend! You've certainly had your share of difficulties lately.
    I hope your back is soon better.
    I finally purchased Anne Burnell's Stronger Seniors Exercise DVDs. I got Core Fitness (which is Pilates based, Strength & Stretch (which is a DVD of each) and Yoga. Each is at least 45 minutes long, but at a comfortable pace.
    I can really see a change in my core strength and flexibility since I've been using them. You might want to check them out.
    3710 days ago
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