During this time many people are finding themselves working from home. This includes those who have never done it before to this extent. It is important to take breaks from long term standing or long-term sitting! Please move and stretch!
Review this past post for ideas on Working out while at work.
Read this article from NPR regarding chronic pain, exercise and movement.
My personal story… My blog posts are not normally about my personal experiences. It is true I have played sports all my life, however I’m not a hard-core athlete. We’re talking recreational soccer and basketball in middle and high school. In my 20s-40s, rec ice hockey. It is true I was a personal trainer for sometime, and spent a lot of time in the gym. I love the gym and the way it makes me feel, however again not hard-core. It was never my objective to lift the heaviest of weights. It was more about doing everything safely, being there for my longevity and vitality. Yet here I am with my story. Not knowing then, what I know now. Be aware that it is important!
When I took on more of a desk job, in my mid-30s, I looked at it as giving my arthritic feet a break because they hurt from all the standing I had done as a teacher, photo assistant, and photographer. I reveled in being able to sit for long periods of time. “Oh so nice! My feet no longer hurt, no wonder women can wear heels to work,” I naively thought. I still got exercise outside of the office, so I saw nothing wrong with sitting.
I began to feel something in my lower right back and hip area: stiffness, slight pain would cause me to get up. I knew I had some vertebrae in my back that weren’t quite in alignment, and a lot of people complain about lower back pain, so I didn’t think too much of it other than I needed to get up and walk once in a while.
True not everyone is going to have the trouble and pain I did. However, heed this; spine health is extremely important. It’s the core of your body, and the muscles that surround it to keep it aligned need to stay strong. If they weaken things can shift. Makes sense right!?
Fast forward to my early 40s, I took on a front desk type position. There it was very clear I could not sit for long periods of time because that pain was stronger and more frequent. I would stand up once in a while, and decided after a couple of months I needed a job where I would stand again most of the time.
The next position I was in, had me standing in one place majority of the time. This was very different from teaching, personal training, being a photo assistant, or a photographer. In any of those roles I was walking around and moving. I didn’t think of this difference at the time, until the low back and hip pain were to a point where I would feel some numbness down into my right foot. Further, trying to go out with people and sitting to be social, that area would stiffen.
As it became progressively worse, I left the job and went on to teaching once more where I was walking around and sitting in a nice combination. The low back still acted up periodically, however troubles with the hip reduced and certainly no more numbness in the foot. I jumped into stronger chiropractic care multiple times a week for about a month leading into this, and then moved into once a week once every other week. Then, moved on to once a month for maintenance. This was a great combination of keeping my back healthy, having a job where I was sitting standing and moving. Plus, I was doing strength and core workouts 5 days a week. I felt no more trouble with my back, which was a-m-a-z-ing. Made me feel I had some proof that if my core is strong, the back will stay pretty well in place.
After two years of that, I went back to studying which would be on the computer, sitting, while my exercise dwindled. I also purchased a standing desk. I continued to exercise lightly, not like I used to. I began to think I needed to stretch periodically. Doing squats with light weights in my house is pretty daily, not that many but some. Core body work and mat Pilates happen too. To be honest with you, I’m lax about it and do not do it methodically often enough.
The hip some days it’s worse than ever. I would say sitting in a certain position for more than five minutes will start the stiffness. I will feel pain into my upper thigh and the low back. Going to sleep at night can be a little challenging. There were some days when I got on the ice, and that leg was not reliable to skate confidently. The season is canceled for now so that’s not an issue.
My guess is at this point I did some tendon damage with stretching, or it’s my lumbosacral area that needs adjusting. A lot of adjusting to get back to where it needs to be! In addition to routine core strengthening exercises more seriously again. Now it seems I need some serious fixing and I can go back to maintenance.
Unfortunately with COVID-19 pandemic, my Lupus and respiratory troubles make me one of those who are considered immuno-compromised. I am afraid of how the Coronavirus would affect me!! I only know what it’s like to go to sleep at night feeling like I can’t take full breaths, not being able to get full breath in other situations with my asthma, and having to go grab my inhaler. I cannot imagine the fear and feeling people have with COVID-19, and lungs that cannot give them the oxygen they need.
I suppose overall this blog post is reminding everyone to take care of themselves, do that little bit of extra to keep yourself healthy. Now that I’m thinking about it, how ironic this is. We talk a lot about staying mentally healthy now. I love that mental health awareness has become so much more in the forefront for people, those of us with depression and anxiety are being heard more than before. It really has been and is a breakthrough for society to be acknowledging the troubles many suffer. And here I am reminding again to not forget about your physical health in combination. It’s all connected!! If your physical health goes down you get more depressed. When your physical health is up, in addition to being physically active, it fights depression and makes you feel better.
There are definitely no revelations in this blog post. No new news that is smacking me in the face of what to do, more what I could’ve done. This post is about me. It is also about you.
You need to stretch and move. Please. There is more to it than making sure you are doing both sitting and standing in one spot at your desk. That is the moral to this lengthy post!!