Tuesday, September 4, 2012

[Girl♥Health]: The Thought Behind the Plan

Now, I'm not a doctor or anything, but I think something may be wrong with my back.

Just a hunch.

Things have been mostly fine since the last time I messed up my back alignment.  Maybe I've had a few aches and pains, but I haven't been laid up again until now.  In the last few weeks, there has just been more activity happening -- dancing at weddings, carrying heavy luggage, minimizing my belongings, going on 9-mile hikes, taking road trips, sleeping on uncomfortable beds.  I also haven't been stretching on a daily basis at all.  And now I'm paying the price.

I've been lying in bed staring at the ceiling for what feels like forever.

So as I start to plan out a new exercise regimen (because what else can you do when you're unable to move?), I think I should focus on one or two things: a main goals I hope to accomplish, and back health.

The Goal(s)
I actually have three goals that I hope this exercise plan with allow me to accomplish.

Goal #1 is bring my cholesterol down.  As I mentioned before, the last time I went to the doctor and had my cholesterol checked, it was high.  Scary high.  I was told that, unless I could lower it on my own, my doctor would recommend that I begin taking cholesterol medication.  She gave me this warning because doctors tend to not want to use this type of medication on women of child-bearing age since it has a tendency of making it difficult -- if not impossible -- for those women to have children.

I want children one day, so I want my cholesterol to be at a healthy level -- according to my doctor -- by the end of 2013.

Goal #2 is to run the 10k at the Dawg Dash next year.  I can't do it this year because I'm nowhere near in-shape enough, and I already have a job-related commitment that same weekend, so I'm looking ahead.  I'm hoping to run the entire 10k, which means I'll probably want to get in one or two 5k's as training runs before the Dawg Dash itself.

Why this particular run?  Because I'm a Husky!  Go Dawgs!

(Okay, yes, I know that was completely nerdy.)

Goal #3 is to hike part of the Pacific Crest Trail.  I'm reading Wild by Cheryl Strayed right now, so that's where the idea came from.  And I've been wanting to see the High Sierra's, but haven't felt in-shape or brave enough to make the trek.  I obviously don't want to do the entire PCT -- because that would be crazy -- nor do I want to do it alone (I think I've already convinced a friend to do it with me, but if anyone else is interested, let me know!), but I'd like to backpack along it for a few days.  I'd like to be fit enough to have the confidence to do that.

My goal is for this to happen next summer (or whenever the best conditions are -- I haven't done my research yet).

Back Health
Finally, I really have to figure out a way to manage my back because this just can't keep happening.  As you've just read, I have goals, man!  I have things I want to do, and I need a healthy back in order to do those things.  I can't have my back taken out by a mostly-flat 9 mile hike if I want to be able to do part of the PCT and live to tell the tale.

The problem is that I'm just not sure of my limits yet.  I know I can't lift heavy things -- but how heavy is too heavy?  I know I can't bend past a certain point -- but where is that point?  And does this mean I can't do pilates or yoga?  I didn't think sitting for long periods would effect me -- but am I wrong?  And will my hips always hurt after short hikes?  Does this mean I can't accomplish my PCT goal?

These are all things I need to figure out (read: ask my chiropractor) as I create this plan.

I also need to start stretching and strengthening my back daily.  To do that, here are some chiropractor-recommended stretches that I'm going to be incorporating into my daily routine:
  • Hamstring stretch: holding for 10 seconds; 4 times on each side
  • Hip rotator stretch: holding for 10 seconds; 4 times on each side
  • Knee-to-chest stretch: holding for 10 seconds; 4 times on each side
  • Quadriceps stretch: holding for 10 seconds; 4 times on each side
  • Prone press-up: holding for 10 seconds; 4 times
  • Partial curl-up (or crunch): 10 times
  • The bridge: holding for 1 second; 15 times
  • Wall slide: holding for 10 seconds; 4 times
It's a lot to think about, a lot to plan for.

But it's also a lot to look forward to.

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