Healthy Journey: Adding Intentional Movement

     What is it about deciding to work on one’s health that suddenly makes life turn against it?  My back started hurting a week ago.  On Monday, I was doing okay, walked with a friend around the nearby lake, and then in the evening it became almost unbearable.  I did a few choice yoga moves, felt somewhat better, and got a good night’s sleep.  The next morning I was stiff, but nothing those yoga moves couldn’t tame.  THEN, wham!  I don’t know what I did, but suddenly the pain became so bad I couldn’t breathe.  Every position hurt like crazy and I couldn’t walk.  For the rest of the week, I went from not being able to pick anything up off the floor, unable to find a position where I could breathe properly, and taking 5 minutes to walk to the bathroom, to finally getting so that I could do almost everything a normal human being should be able to do.  I still haven’t tried to sit on the couch, though.

Despite all this, I did stay on my water regimen pretty well, other than that first couple days of horrendous pain.  Not perfectly, but that’s okay; I’ll keep working on it.  So, it’s time to move on to the next step:  Adding some exercise.

My plan is to do 30 minutes of intentional, dedicated exercise for 5 days a week.  What do I mean by that?  I mean that I’m not going to count housework or picking up sticks in my yard.  It’s going to be time spent exercising for the sake of exercising.  I will need to go easy for my back’s sake, but I’m to the place where I can (and probably need to) get moving and stretching.  My plan is that it will be divided between yoga and biking, two forms of exercise that have served me (and my back and knees) well in the past, though I’m definitely a beginner in both of those.  I may do some walking as well.  I’m not going to set rules at this point about how strenuous it will be.  I just want to get back into the habit, so the discipline is what I’m after right now.

There is something about setting and meeting goals that makes me feel better about myself and more in control of my life.  It seems to have a snowball effect, too.  There have been times when I’ve felt hopeless about my life.  A simple goal like, “Get 10 minutes of sunshine every day” has been all I could manage … but it was a key step toward getting out of the Slough of Despond.  Once I meet that goal, I feel empowered to set slightly more difficult goals.  If they’re goals that are good for me, such as sunshine or exercise, they not only make me feel better about myself … they make me feel physically better and give me more energy to meet those more challenging goals.

Another thing that helps me is to very intentionally look for good things in life.  Sometimes, the smallest things, like spotting a pretty bird and identifying it, or noticing that the bushes in my front yard are blooming, make a huge difference.  I guess that’s what people call “stopping to smell the roses.”  Taking TIME to enjoy those little things that I might not otherwise notice or just acknowledge peripherally definitely brightens my day and gives me more energy to meet my goals.

What’s a new, small goal you can work on this week?  A habit you’d like to add to your life?

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