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We have one week left for the October Health and Wellness Challenge. I chose to do a fitness challenge. Although things didn’t turn out exactly as I had hoped, I have still made some strides toward better fitness and wellness.
Sadly, my body is not ready for regular exercise on my road bike.
I had a lot of side effects each time I tried, which indicate to me that I need to do more to improve my overall strength and fitness before I move back into using it regularly. But that’s ok. I will still ride it, just not daily or 3-5 times per week as I planned.
I’ve created morning and evening routines that have helped me tremendously.
Starting a new fitness program can cause a lot of aches and pains. I started adding some small things into my daily routine. Of course, it has meant that I start working a slightly later, and that I have less time in the evening for other activities (like working on the blog). But my health has to come first, and it’s been totally worth it.
- When I wake up, I tend to have pain and stiffness in all of my joints. I start doing some gentle movement before I even get out of bed. I gently rotate all my joints with circular movements. According to a Doctor of Osteopathy who used to treat me, this is supposed to help lubricate the joints with synovial fluid.
- I drink a full glass of water when I sit up. There is always a bottle of water at my bedside.
- I do a tree pose for 30 seconds on each side, then a set of Sun Salutations (yoga).
- I drink more water and eat breakfast.
Throughout the day, I try to do lots of walking. I get up and stretch frequently while working (and during my conferences, which started yesterday).
- We try to visit the hot tub every night for 10-15 after we’ve taken care of dinner, our pets, etc. Sometimes I will also take a short swim in the pool. While in the hot tub, I will do some more joint rotation and light stretching, and try to get the jets to hit any sore muscles.
- Back home, I take a shower (I do this even if we didn’t visit the hot tub).
- I take out a tennis ball and put it on the floor. While sitting, I floss my teeth and roll the tennis ball under my feet. Multitasking!
- I brush my teeth and do anything else I need to get ready for bed.
- If I have time and am not too tired, I will read a book for 15-20 minutes.
Improvements I’ve seen in my overall fitness:
- The amount of time I spend feeling stiff and sore in the morning is greatly reduced. When I do my first forward bend, my fingertips don’t even reach my ankles. By the last one my hands are flat on the floor.
- I am actually stronger. The conference is in a casino that has a parking garage, but you have to walk ~1 mile through their mall in order to get to the conference area. I bring my work laptop, which is quite heavy plus a water bottle, some snacks, etc. The backpack is the most ergonomic way to carry these items (short of a rolling briefcase), but it still probably weighs about 15 pounds. Previously when I carried this much weight I would end up with neck pain and a headache. Not anymore!
- I am able to be more active during the day. For the past 3 days I’ve walked over 12,000 steps each day.
- I am gaining muscle strength throughout my body. I can feel muscles sore that were not sore before, so I know they are working.
Other wellness side effects:
- I fall asleep more quickly and sleep better throughout the night. I also spend less time in bed because my sleeping is more efficient.
- In the morning, I am able to wake up earlier because I slept better. I’m not dragging myself out of bed at the alarm or hitting the snooze button.
- I actually look forward to waking up. Yoga has built-in meditation and focusing on proper form means I can usually block out any other stray thoughts.
- I feel routines are important for someone with my personality, that tends toward wanting to be organized. Having these systems in place makes me feel more comfortable and reduces some of my stress.
- I had been feeling lately that I was neglecting my health, despite my best efforts. I don’t feel that way anymore.
- The whole process takes about 1 hour each morning (including breakfast) and 1 hour each evening. Totally worth it.
When I started out October, this was not the fitness routine I had planned. I am glad that I was able to find an alternative that works for me and still move toward my fitness goals.
Have you been working on any goals of your own this month? If not, remember that when October ends, it doesn’t mean that the opportunity to take care of yourself ends. You have a chance to make a change every day!