My new favorite motto as of late is “use it or lose it”. Another gem of wisdom imparted upon me by my college professors, I always associated this concept with senior citizens and their ability to open a brand new jar of prune juice.
(“Dagnabbit if only I had stuck to my program of pumping iron…I’m plum tuckered out!” )
It was a warning against premature aging and atrophy; a term I threw around with my older clients who found themselves unable to easily pick a dropped item up off of the floor without moans, groans, and a fear of falling. It had nothing to do with me.
Until now, of course.
As I have hinted at a lot over the last few months, and specifically in the last post, I’ve found myself sitting a lot lately. A lot more than anyone should…and probably quadruple what *I* should. I don’t sit still very well, so needless to say the sitting has been far more detrimental to my brain than my waistline. I can almost hear every Grandmother that ever was yelling “staring at that
TV computer screen will rot your brain” and she/they are right. But what Grandma forgot to warn you about is how sitting in front of the computer screen all day will also rot your body.
I’ve got this new game I play with myself every single morning that I wake up: “Guess where the sciatica pain will manifest itself today!” The answer is always “the left side” but the real challenge comes in pin pointing the exact location. Yesterday it was my hamstring and achillies tendon, today it is my hip, hip flexors (Pectineus? Adductor? I can’t really tell), and eerily enough, what feels like round ligament pain. The same excruciating pain that I felt in the last few weeks of pregnancies, but I have absolutely no explanation for now.
Now, I’m not a doctor, but I am one of the millions of uninsured Americans, so I like to refer to “Dr. Google” when my medical maladies are not seemingly life threatening. Therefore, I’ll be the first to admit that my sciatica pain is completely, 100% self diagnosed. However, I have this bad habit of shifting all of my weight to my left side when sitting in my office chair…the sciatic nerve is in the left butt cheek…self diagnosis complete.
Self RX: don’t sit as much.
After three weeks of being completely sedentary and the second round of a 30 hour car trip, I strutted back into the gym ready to WORK. I got right to leg day, picking up exactly where I had left off almost a month before. I super-set squats with kettlebell swings. I combined deadlifts with plyo power lunges. I accidentally destroyed my legs and couldn’t move for the next 5 days, which brought me right back to square one: sitting.
This, my friends, has terrified me. At the ripe young/old (depending upon where you are in the age spectrum) age of 31.75, my body is falling apart from lack of activity.
And I don’t even drink prune juice yet.
The human body absolutely fascinates me. The other day I was saying to Geoff how it baffles me that not only can two microscopic individual cells grown into an entire human being, but more so that millions upon millions of us come assembled in the correct order. It would seem to me that with such an intricate, complex design, the odds of something going wrong would be vastly higher. Even more mind boggling is the fact that so many millions of us can survive while treating our bodies like crap…or at least not as well as they deserve. I, like many other young(ish?) people have had the pleasure of skirting by the first few decades of my life on luck and good genetics . Granted I typically exercise a lot, but I also stress more than I should, completely ignore the benefits of flexibility training, and have probably consumed enough high fructose corn syrup to last me three lifetimes. Sure, there are the occasional bouts of sluggishness or sleepless nights, but it’s nothing that can’t be fixed with some caffeine and a pep talk. But then you wake up one morning and something hurts. And then other things hurt. And you find yourself complaining about the simplest of activities or groaning as you get up out of a chair.
I don’t know about you, but that TERRIFIES me. Not growing older, no, age to me is merely a number. The thought of one day being unable to do the things I love: running, jumping, frolicking down trails, climbing over walls, taking a ridiculous parkour class just because I feel like it…that terrifies me.
And therefore, I wrote this entire blog post standing up.
I realize I’m a broken record, but I once again
sit stand here and wonder how many people suffer pain and other maladies due to lack of physical activity, that could be cured by physical activity, but reach for medications instead. My left butt cheek has reminded me that I never, ever, ever want to be among those ranks.
Use it or lose it. I’m off to the gym…