Wednesday fitness update: January’s “Don’t break the chain”

I’m heading to bed in a couple minutes but let’s see what I can write in that time! 🙂

I started the “Don’t break the chain” thing on the 6th of January, and in that month I only missed 3 days after getting it going. The first day was a long day at the end of a long, frustrating week. And then I just kinda forgot the day after? It was weird and I felt badly about it at the end of the day. And then the 31st, I had plans to do stuff, and then ran out of time because we ended up running errands and stuff most of the day.

I also missed yesterday, Feb 4th, and that’s because I was at work late and then when I got home, Justin met me outside and we worked in the garage until after 8:00 and then we had to figure out dinner and that was the end of my evening.

But only missing 4 days of the last almost 5 weeks? I’d call that pretty darn good!

And I’m feeling really good about it. I was able to walk almost twice what I used to be able to walk and a whole lot faster than I used to be able to do it, and with significantly less swelling in my knee and generally feeling all over better about the whole thing! Seriously, I’m walking so much faster lately, even around work. And my flexibility is getting lots better since I’m stretching after I’m done walking, and that’s doing loads of good for my poor QL muscles in my back that are always seizing up. And I’m starting to see a little tiny bit of definition in the muscles in my legs! And my core strength is also improving; I’m doing a Pilates video some of the days when I’m just not getting out walking and that, plus the walking, is helping there.

Once my core is a little stronger and the daylight is staying a little longer, I’m going to get back on my roller skates. But I’m currently afraid of my lack of core strength and hurting my back while trying not to fall over. My chiropractor scolds me when I fall over…

OK! That’s all the time I have! Time to head to bed. 🙂

Wednesday fitness update

I think I might be better about writing if I have a specific thing for each day of the week to think about writing. Not that I’ll always have to write about that thing on that day instead of another day or maybe just write about something else entirely, but it’s a starting point, right?

Anyway, for right now, Wednesday is going to be fitness updates.

I’ve been very mindful for the past week about making sure to get 30 minutes of exercise daily. It doesn’t have to be much, just a walk down the street and back, something to make sure I’m moving more than I have been all the rest of the day and try to improve my current fitness levels.

This has been the most I’ve exercised consistently in a long time. And I can tell the difference in just the few days I’ve been doing this. My knee isn’t hurting as much, I’m able to walk faster and get further during those 30 minutes than I did last week. I’m feeling good!

It’s been a challenge some days when I just really don’t want to go back outside again or do anything other than sit on my butt and read. Especially with the longer work days, my evening has gotten shorter and giving up what is essentially an hour for this goal is something I have to really set my mind to doing. (It’s 30 minutes of exercise, bracketed by a couple minutes to change, and then stretching and showering afterward.)

But I’m giving an hour now in order to be able to do things later that I really want to be able to do, like hiking in the mountains and donating blood, which I can’t do right now because my blood pressure is too high, and, you know, live longer and be happier!!

So, today I walked down the street from our apartment complex toward the next housing division down the street. When I started doing this last week, I just barely made it to the entrance to that housing area. And today, I made it 3 lamp posts past that, nearly halfway to the next housing division! And my knee wasn’t nearly as swollen and I wasn’t nearly as painful the whole way there and back. Progress!

Update for today

Starting on Monday, my work schedule shifted to being four 10-hour days Monday through Thursday. I had been working four 9-hour days Monday through Thursday and then 4 hours on Friday. But, for the moment anyway, they’re changing it to 4×10’s. And while a lot of people are really excited about that, and while I’m looking forward to 3-day weekends being the norm, I’m not excited about the longer days. I start at 7:00 and get off at 5:30, so it’s dark when I go and dark when I come home and it’s just a long day.

So when I got home today, after a long week of people getting back into the swing of things at work and freaking out about a variety of different things and talking about schedules that were scheduled without the actual help from the Scheduling Person (me), I was tired. My back has been hurting. My knee has been hurting. I missed Justin and my puppies. I didn’t want to do anything other than sit on my butt and chill with my boys.

But this dang calendar. It’s so cute. And surprisingly good at nagging.

So I went for my walk anyway. And then I took a bath.

And now I’m pressure cooking squash.

Erica, this is that squash I was talking about: Kabocha squash. (Wikipedia link) It’s very yummy, but I don’t see it at the grocery store very often.

2020 goal: Get more fit

I currently weigh upwards of 260 pounds. What’s amusing to me about that is when I stepped on the scale for the first time this year, the number that I got was the same number that I got at the beginning of last year. So, for not working on this last year, I did darn good at maintaining this weight.

It’s not great. But it’s something. Gonna take what I can get.

So, it being January and all, a lot of people are thinking about trying to lose weight and get more healthy and all those wonderful / awful things. And I’m no exception. I really thought that I’d be able to get my weight down before this point. I was doing so good about it back in … 2016.

I was quite proud of what I had accomplished that year. And then I hurt my knee and I had surgery and I got depressed and … I stopped trying.

But you know, I’m really tired of being painful. My back was a lot less achy when I was more fit. And I liked the items in my closet a lot more. And I was able to do fun things that I really enjoyed doing. Yeah, weighing less would be nice, but it’s the other stuff that I really miss more than anything.

Like walking? I miss walking without it hurting.

Justin told me about this thing called “don’t break the chain” for accomplishing goals. The idea is that you have a calendar and every day that you accomplish your goal for that day, you put a big X across the day. Then the next day, accomplish your goal again, and put in another X. And you get a chain of X’s. And the idea is to keep that chain going as long as possible.

So I got a calendar and Justin put it up behind the bathroom door where I put all my clothes for the day, so I can see it every morning. And my current goal (it’s going to sound so small) is to walk for 30 minutes. And if I can’t walk for some reason, do something else for exercise for 30 minutes. Just 30 minutes of light exercise every day. And just that right there is so much more than I’ve done in the last several months. And that 30 minutes of light exercise is a lot harder than it should be for someone of my age, but after I get home, I have to sit and ice my knee because I cannot bend it due to the swelling.

But, you know, everybody has to come from somewhere and this is where I’m at right now. It’s not a start or a starting-over or a “fresh start!” or anything like that. It’s just where my journey is at the moment.

In regards to my knee

Some of you (All of you?) know that I’ve been having trouble with my knee. It’s not super interesting, but in case you were wondering, here’s the scoop on that.

Back in January, I stood up from the sofa to shut the blinds on the window and my knee wouldn’t support my weight and I fell over. I don’t remember now if there was pain in my knee before that point or not, but I know for sure that there was after that point.

We went to my chiropractor in the morning to see if he could do anything about it and he adjusted it so I wasn’t in so much pain and I was mostly able to walk on it again and I put an athletic brace on it and walked with a cane when it was really painful and iced when it hurt and didn’t do much walking on it and hoped that it would stop hurting and get back to normal. Because hey! The human body is AMAZING and will heal things that are damaged. It’s amazing to think about it sometimes: Things that are alive can heal from injury!

Um, except that in my case it wasn’t working. I thought it was, but if I walked too much or tried to exercise, the pain would come back, with swelling and not being able to walk without pain. It was getting really frustrating. When I decided that I was going to cut back on my hours at work, I also decided to start doing things to improve my health, mentally and physically, so I went to yoga and I couldn’t do it! I mean, I could, but I HURT the day following, which was ridiculous. The yoga wasn’t that hard.

So I went to my usual doctor, PA Lovato, and talked with her about it and she said that I should get an MRI and see what was happening inside my knee. So then I went to get an MRI, which was interesting. They had me lay on this table thing and take a very still nap for about 20 minutes while the big camera computer machine beeped and buzzed and made a whole heap of noise, making it hard to take my nap. And then they gave me a CD of the results and sent me away. A day or two later, my doctor got a report that said that nothing was torn or broken, but that there was swelling. Which we all knew already just from looking at my knee.

So my doctor, not able to see anything wrong, said I should see an orthopedic surgeon and get that person’s opinion. So I scheduled an appointment with Dr. Hoffman, a highly recommended doctor in Savannah, and waited a few weeks for that appointment. Meanwhile, I went to see Kamaka, my massage therapist and she recommended that I see Stuart Fife, a physical therapist in town who she and the chiropractor she works with always recommend. So I went to see him and he put these little sensors on my legs above my knees and below my knees and on my feet and had me walk on a treadmill to do an evaluation of my gait. And he said that I walk with my legs at an inward angle of 10 – 15 degrees, which is a lot, and that if I strengthened the muscles in my hips and butt, then it would be greatly improved and solve my knee and my back pain and reduce the risk of tearing my ACL (I think).

So I went home with exercises that I haven’t been doing because they’re painful and frustrating, but I know I should be doing because I paid a lot of money for that evaluation and I should heed good advice when I get some.

Then I went to my appointment with Dr. Hoffman, who took an x-ray for no good reason and then looked at my MRI and said that I have a small tear in my meniscus that should be healing on it’s own except that the swelling is so much that it’s not. So he gave me a shot of a steroid in my knee, I’m assuming it’s cortisone because it’s always cortisone, and said if it’s still hurting in 4 weeks, come back and he’s got a surgical option he could do, but we’d both rather not have to do that.

And since the shot, it’s been so much better! I’m still wearing the brace as I start increasing my use of my knee. I’m going on walks and NOT BEING PAINFUL and it’s the first time it’s happened since January! I’ll get back to doing the exercises recommended by Stuart and that will, hopefully, take care of the whole problem. I’m hoping to be back to doing my aerobic videos by July, which is good because I’ve gained back more weight since November than I’d like.

So that’s that! That’s what happening with my knee.