Mental Health · Mom Life

It Hurts to Sit Down & That’s a Good Thing

I feel I should start by saying this is not the post I had planned to post today. However, it is something I keep meaning to write about, so I figured I should write about it now before I forget (again).

Current status of my life: sitting down is painful. This is not because of my auto-immune disorder, or my arthritis, or any of the other myriad of health issues I have (which is another post I still need to write, along my recipe for homemade chocolate syrup…because chocolate makes everything better). This is because right around the time I quit my job and reclaimed my life as a 40th birthday present to myself, I also started going to the gym on a regular basis.

And by “regular basis” I do not mean every single day, or every single weekday, or even three days a week. I mean, I made an effort to go whenever I could, which some weeks was three days a week, and some weeks was not at all because we were traveling or people were sick or it was the holidays. Three times I made it as far as the parking lot before life intervened and I ended up not going inside.

However, I kept trying and I kept going back. Part of my early reasons for not being able to go was injury, as my aforementioned body is old and broken and I had to figure out the best way to workout around that (treadmill-no; bicycle-yes!). At one point I had a brace on each knee, kinetic tape on my ankle and shoulder and a brace on my wrist, but I didn’t give up. I simply hit the pause button until my body recovered and went back. Again and again and again.

Until, two months later I wasn’t hurting as much anymore. Until, I went from dreading having to go (but feeling better after I went), to feeling like crap before I went but feeling better after I went, to needing to go as a way to burn off stress, to needing to go because when I don’t go, I feel like crap. And now lately I’ve nagged, whined and guilted my hubby into joining me a few times even. Because I’m become a workout addict. Yep, I’m one of those annoying people now.

It’s not that I’m trying to lose weight or be a certain size. I’m never going to be what the rest of the world calls “thin”, but I never have been. I developed curves when I was 16 and haven’t seen a straight line on my body since. My reasons for working out are more to help me in my physical health (because staying active helps keep the worst of the auto-immune disorder at bay-and works better than any pill I could take-at least according to my doctors); and my mental health. I don’t just physically feel better when I work out, I mentally think better as well.

That’s not to say I’m not still hurting. Only now it’s not from injuries caused from pushing myself the wrong way, it’s from pushing myself to do more. Which is why I currently hurt every time I sit down, or stand up. Monday I woke up with the beginning of my husband’s cold (thanks for sharing honey!) so didn’t venture out to the gym. I had a low-grade fever so I decided to stay home and not share my germs (you’re welcome). Instead I took a fever reducer and went back to bed and when I did finally get up I decided to do a quick workout at home, in the form of some good old fashioned dance-party choreography.

Now, as a former dancer this is nothing new to me. But it had been a while since I did that much dancing, including some deep-seated squats when the song said “not gonna stay down” or something like that (I honestly can’t remember the song, but I do remember the squat-to-standing motion I did repeatedly with the lyrics). And since squats aren’t a part of my normal fitness routine (until now), I woke up the next day and could barely stand.

I’m old, my thighs are old, and standing up and sitting down are way overrated. At least that’s how I felt. I still got up, went to the gym and worked through the pain, and two days later it’s almost all gone. In the meantime I’m bemoaning my habit of drinking about 64 ounces of water before 10:00 am everyday, as it means multiple trips to the bathroom and sitting on a toilet is achy.

BUT….the best way to get over this pain is to NOT stop moving. It’s to keep moving, so I will. I not only went to the gym Tuesday but also yesterday and today. And even though the leg presses yesterday went a bit slower and the bike today was a bit of a struggle, I’m proud I did it. Being more active the last two months has already paid off in both small and big ways.

I think better, I sleep better. I was able to take a photography trip to Baltimore and spend two days just walking around neighborhoods, up hills and down paths and was able to capture some great shots. I cleaned out both cars right after Christmas and was climbing in and out of my minivan with as much energy as my four year old (and cursing my four year old at the same time because of his mess I was picking up!). I’m in the middle of translating and editing several projects and getting ready to start a HUGE endeavor and the mental clarity to focus has been amazing.

So while it does hurt to sit down-that’s a good thing. And I’m going to keep sitting, and standing and yes-squatting every day because I may be old, but I’m not dead.

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