Category Archives: Exercise

Is My Back Pain My Own Fault?

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strong man and pig postcardI am one of the millions or zillions of people who have a back ache, or can get one easily by lifting or twisting awkwardly.

It would be easy enough to blame the heavy box, or the pillow, or the mattress, or the garden,, the car… or…. or…. you get the picture, blame anything possible. But, I suspect I am really the root of this back problem. Maybe you are young, and thinking back aches are for older people, and this blog post is not for you. But, you read on too. NOW is the time to take care of your back, because back aches aren’t for older people either. Many of us actually CAN do something about the condition of our backs, even if they seem irretrievable. I’ve gotten sick of the back problem, and I’m doing something about it. I’m already starting to feel better, and it has only been about 5 days or reclaiming my rights to my own back.

I don’t want to make anyone feel guilty here, for example my husband has a bad back as a result of a car accident. He broke his spine completely in half, and is paraplegic. But even with a seriously messed up spine, he does everything he can to make sure to keep his body strong and healthy. He is an amazing example to me. He rode a hand crank bicycle 20 miles today. Given what each individual has to work with, we have to do our part to get or keep ourselves as healthy as we can be. Often as we start down this road, we soon learn that we have access to better health than we had formerly believed possible~! Be encouraged~! Catch a strong wind of motivation, and take it to the next level.

Recently, I’ve been waking up with a back ache. I get up an hour early, unable to take staying in bed any longer. Of course that would lead me to believe that my bed is to blame, but that probably isn’t the whole story. Actually, the bed I have is a top recommended mattress for conditions like back pain and arthritis. I just bought it 6 months ago thinking my OLD mattress was causing my back pain. That didn’t solve the problem. Bummer~!

Fed up, I ended up on the Healthy Back Institute website (AKA: losethebackpain.com), and found lots of information that made more sense than killing myself with ibuprophen. I watched some of their videos, and found out that my hips are sinking too far into the mattress. This tends to be true of almost all mattresses (even my tempurpedic) , since humans are generally heavier in this area. A simple solution: I can put a folded towel under my middle, and my spine will tweak a bit less while I am sleeping. I also learned some specific stretches for lower back pain. They have videos about neck pain, sciatica, and more. I’ll be watching more of these videos over time.

I posted a blog last year about doing more core strengthening exercises “Being Spineless“. I would like to inform you that I have developed the habit of doing some of these. But, I need to go farther. Five minutes a day ins’t quite enough. The time that I am spending sitting so much of the day has to be counter-balanced.

While clicking some links on the Back Institute website, I came upon the best lower back pain stretching & strengthening routine I have encountered to date. Just exactly what I needed. It has me quite excited. I plan on having a stronger back in the upcoming weeks and months~! Here’s a link: Great Lower Back Relief Video. If you like this instructor, you can search for more exercises by her specifically. She sure looks fit. It turns out that youtube is a great resource, so do other searches, too~! NOW… remember, you aren’t likely to feel the full benefit of exercise right away. AND… avoid the temptation to do the routine 5 times the first three days. Don’t hurt yourself by stretching as far as you USED to be able to stretch a while ago. (I make this mistake every time; that’s why I’m saying this.) You’ll get back in shape soon enough if you stick with it~!

Hey… recommend more links and resources for back pain relief in our comments section, please~!

(The postcard art in the picture above is for sale at: La Cabane En Voyage. I love this image~! It makes me smile.)

Feeling Stronger? …core strengthening exercises

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Well, I have done some of the core strengthening exercises since my last post.  

I have to confess that I haven’t figured out how to fit them into my daily routine yet. So, mostly I forget to do them. As a result, I’m not feeling stronger just yet. I am not opposed to the 5-15 minute commitment it would take to have a stronger mid-section. I just plain forget to do my simple exercises. So, rather than feeling stronger, I’m feeling stupid~!  How hard is it to remember this?  Actually, that is a bit of a joke. I’m not beating myself up here.  But, I do need to figure this out.

Anyway, when I did do a few rather simple exercises, I was amazed to get the sore muscles. That let me know 2 things. 1- My middle definitely needed some help. 2- The exercises are working~! So, that is good news.  Today I did remember to stretch… with dogs jumping on me… a mixed blessing. Later on my husband and I will go for a long bike ride. So by tonight, I should be feeling strong, and tired.

Maybe a theme song? Would “Gonna Fly Now” be a cliche? Hmmnn…. probably….. I actually went on youtube and searched “exercise music” and got 82,000 results~!  That’s funny.

Link

I went out with 2 friends last night. We had Kenyan food. It was new to all of us. So we all ordered something we’d never eaten before, and each tried everyone else’s flavors. It was fun to learn something new. (This is a happiness tip~!) While we ate, we talked about all kinds of this & that.

I was expressing how much I would like to do a mere 15, or so, minutes of stretching and core strengthening exercises each day. I do ride my bike 2 to 4 times per week, fairly long rides (today was 22 miles). Seriously, it is the most humane form of exercise, and is often quite fun. But, I am not doing much of anything for my core or my arms.

One of these friends is very into yoga (& has the body to prove it), so of course she had valid suggestions. The other does a good assortment of exercises. That 2nd friend recommended the Arms/Abs/Buns of Steel workouts. She said they are 15 minutes each, and she rotates them. That seems reasonable.

I’m not sure what I’ll end up doing yet, and how I’ll squeeze this into my daily routine, but I really DO need to get the middle of my body stronger. It is not fair to my back and spine, and ultimately to myself to let this get a tiny bit worse each year.  WELL….  good news. I looked around youtube.com today and found hundreds upon hundreds of exercise videos waiting for me. I admit, I was amused to sit and watch exercise videos, and fast forward through them, too. But, I’d like to find my own perfect custom mix of stretches & core strengtheners. I thought you’d like to know that youtube can be a great resource for adding new or varied exercises to your daily routine…  for FREE~! 

For starters, I liked this one:  Lance Armstrong’s Three-Phase Program – Base Training: Core

Here’s a glimpse of the: Arms of Steel Youtube Sample Video  …. looks pretty good~!

Here’s a Link to Mayo Clinic’s: Slide show of Exercises to improve your core strength