This week, we are not at the clinic. We are at home. Putting our new skills into practice. Getting through the "everyday" of life, finding out what hurts. It is a week for being very observant of our behaviour.
The most important thing I have learned thus far is how I can get a great workout without having to go to the gym. Now, if you want to go to a gym, and be trendy (and all that good stuff), that's a good thing. But I've found that I can stay home and get a good workout.
That's one of the things on which the staff at the Clinic focuses intentionally. I could go to the gym and walk on the treadmill, or I could walk on one of the treadmills in our apartment building. Or I could walk the hallways in the apartment building. Or I could walk four blocks to the grocery store, and four blocks back home. It's all in the distance you cover when you're walking.
Then, to build up my heart strength (through cardio exercise), I could walk on a stair climber at the gym. Or I can walk up the stairs in the apartment building. Or, I could combine the cardio and strength by walking up a set of stairs, the along the hallway, then up another set of stairs, and along another hallway, then . . . well, you get the idea. It's all in your imagination, this business of how you want to get fit and stay fit. It's just simple — part of your daily life without need for special equipment or extra money. Your workout is a by-product of your daily activities.
And then, what about some weight lifting? Well, there are the weights in the laundry/exercise area of our building. Don't want to do weights downstairs? Fine. Lift cans of soup for your exercise. In the privacy of your own house or apartment. No, I'm not kidding. You can do things like biceps curls or military presses with a can of soup in your hand as well as anything. The total weight is not the important thing; the number of repetitions you do is the key item. But don't try too many too soon.
And what about warm-up and cool-down exercises? Worried about doing them and not having time for your exercise program? Hey, they are part of the exercise program. Bear gets up, has breakfast, has a shower and gets dressed in the morning. (Or, I could feed the cubs — if we had cubs — and get them off to school, and then have my breakfast and get dressed.) Then while my muscles are still nice and warm from the shower (or bath), I gently stretch those muscles and joints, and get them ready for the day.
One of the more useful developments so far in the program has been the goal setting process. The staff actually spend quite a bit of time on goal setting — real, practical, measurable goals, and how you build up to getting them done. I thought I was setting realistic goals. But, no, I was wrong. I was setting goals that turned out to be way too easy. But that's OK — early success is great. So now, I'll start goal three — working on the stationary bike in our apartment, to get ready for hitting the streets whenever the snow is gone. And do my cardio and strength training while I'm biking around the town.
Wow! I have found yet another way to terrorize the neighbourhood!
As I mentioned, this week is our "break week." No sessions at the Clinic. This is the week we try to put it all together at home. (Next week we go back to the Clinic, with all the questions we have about what happened during our home work.) I've set some additional goals for myself, and I'm waiting to see what happens!
One other really crucial thing. You're heard the saying, "No pain; no gain." Yeah, yeah, yeah. That's both silly and dangerous! You don't want pain. You want to exercise until you feel some tension in muscles. More action than that, and you're causing damage. It's that damage I'm trying to undo, through the training at the pain clinic. And, of course as I stretch those muscles, they start to get back into shape, and I'll be able to stretch them more. Meaning I won't feel the tension until I've gone past the spot where you felt the tension before. Now, is that easy, or what?