Thursday, September 11, 2014

To Feel Well is to Be Well

Vanity's all well and good, but when it comes right down to it, I don't know if I'd be sticking to this New Regime if I weren't feeling so much fucking better on exercise that it's ridiculous.

Of course, my body is often sore and I'm constantly reminded of how much I allowed myself to lapse, but exertion is having a palpable effect on many of my recent struggles:
  • My cycles have lengthened by 3-4 days to bring them back into the distant realm of normal and the "hemorrhaging" is much less extreme.
  • I'm less puffy.
  • I have more energy.
  • My heart arrhythmia (which isn't terribly affecting but certainly makes itself known) is quieter.
  • My mood is improved.
  • I'm much stronger.
  • I'm much more flexible.
  • I feel strangely younger (not that I'm old...) - more vital, more agile...
I would have said that my headaches are less frequent and severe but I don't know that this is true. I've been dealing with a hideous one for more than a week now...

You can see why I'm throwing in the towel on just about every other discretionary activity in my life to continue on this path. Cuz, Lord knows, it's not improving my social life.

Mind you, it is a creative undertaking - even if there's no new dress at the end. Yoga brings out my problem-solving nature big-time. It tests my ingenuity, my ability to work in ways that create new pathways of communication within my body. And, really, there are few things that I love more than a good feedback loop.

But what about you? Today's question: What's the single most notable health improvement you've gained from exercise? I want to know!

25 comments:

  1. Oh dear! I just want to come over with expensive cheese and wine and make sure you are ok. Sounds like things at work and at home have been really intense!
    I have to say that working out regularly (which I've done for long stretches, and not done for longer stretches) has never affected my mood (well, except I'm REALLY bitchy after working out) but doing physio daved my hands and arms so that lifting a coffee cup didn't hurt, so I'm greatful for that!

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    1. I want some expensive cheese! Don't forget the wine! That's hilarious that you are bitchy after working out. I feel great until I realize I have 8000 things to do and my kid whines about dinner and then, I feel a bit bitchy too :-) BTW, I have certainly felt hostility from working out - usually when I'm off my game or if I'm confronted by a class that focuses on a pose (or action) I don't enjoy.

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  2. The last time I let my fitness lapse, I found myself experiencing joint pain (hips particularly) and losing range of motion -- happily restored once I started a twice weekly Pilates regime. Once I got some strength and flexibility back in play, I added the running as cardio and since then, I'd say I do better with mood management, have more energy, and I got through menopause with symptoms on the lower range (almost never had a daytime hot flash, for example). And my husband will testify that sex is always better (and more frequent) when I'm fit . . . (and that's some incentive, right?!)

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    1. The loss of range of movement is so gradual that one barely notices until she tries to do something, formerly easy, and it just isn't going to fly! And I say, anything that contributes to the enjoyment of sex is worth it. :-)

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  3. I agree with you 100%. Feeling better in my body and mood and improved sleep are really what keep me constant in my workouts. Because it's often a lot more fun to sit around and knit and sew all day! Except that when you feel like crap, those things aren't so fun either :-)

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    1. Hey G: So nice to see you! Hope you've enjoyed your busy summer...

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  4. Thanks to physio, I no longer hunch my back and curl my shoulders in. I'm still trying to get used to proper posture - it really feels like I'm walking around with my chest on display. It's hard to fight 20 years of 'please don't stare at my cleavage'...

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    1. I am all for good posture. It makes everyone look as gorgeous as possible. And I hear you about not wanting to lead with your boobs. But when they're in a good bra, and your posture is straight, it's all good!

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  5. I honestly attribute the very easy pregnancy I'm having to my activity/fitness level. Early on, a run/walk was the one thing that alleviated morning sickness and fatigue - while I was doing it and for hours after. And now at almost 30 weeks, when people ask how I'm doing/feeling, the answer is "pretty darn normal, aside from all the kicking". So, for me, staying active has made pregnancy at almost 39yo a joy and not a hardship. So, yeah, fitness for life is a great pursuit! And it is a creative pursuit!

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    1. It's interesting that you say this because I was never more fit than when I got pregnant (at 29) and I was as sick as a dog the entire time. Exercise only made me throw up more. :-)

      Of course, we're all different and I suppose, if one is destined to be sick through pregnancy, that's how it'll go. But, if exercise can forestall it (given body chemistry) and one does that exercise, then it's a great match.

      I won't ever know how sick I might have been if I hadn't been in the shape I was in when I got pregnant. I mean, my sister had hyperemesis gravidarum.

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  6. It's funny, my doctor JUST recommended on Wednesday that I start to exercise. I find it so difficult when walking to the kitchen exhausts me. But, your news seems to prove her point more. Glad you are feeling better!

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    1. Get yourself to a gentle fitness class soon!

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  7. Kristin, I'm so glad you're feeling better! "More energy" is my top reason. That's like gold to me... And I love that it brings out your problem solving. This is why sticking to same routines over and over or running have been hard for me. I've got to have something to think through!

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    1. Thanks Amy! Problem-solving is the best. I love being able to design my own practices because they're as broad as my imagination. Of course, I also like being told what to do - as long as I don't know what's coming :-)

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  8. One thing? Impossible. I used to be very active and fit, then i let life get in the way in a rather big way…. now I am getting back, albeit slowly. But one thing? No. Better movement, more energy, more focus, better mood, fabulous and restorative sleep, wake up with a song in my heart. So much to be said for the benefits of exercise. But I suppose all of that could be summed up as "youth" which is more an attitude and a state of being than a physical age.

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    1. OK, you don't have to settle for one thing! I love all of your things! It is about the restoration (and maintenance) of youth. I couldn't agree more.

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  9. I'm glad that so much have improved with your new regime. Have you conspired that the migraines might be due to muscular misalignment, esp, near the neck and shoulders?

    I've had killer migraines since 9th grade which after repeated chiropractic care gradually reduced in frequency and severity and now almost gone, except for once a month hormonal changes - only mild and bearable headaches.

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    1. It's possible. I've done acupuncture and chiro for them and I definitely have to be very careful about not engaging the muscles of my upper back in such a way that they seize. But, according to lots of peeps (and tests), it's likely triggered by hormones - which is why sometimes I can do anything and there's no headache, and other times they come when I'm as careful as can be.

      But good idea to consider returning to the chiro...

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  10. Regular exercise is directly to connected to my mental health. It helps me stay grounded and builds up my resilience, so I'm better able to cope with stress. I can feel the difference even after a week of taking the bus to work.

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    1. I totally appreciate what you say about being grounded. I spend a lot of time flying from one thing to the next. It's good to have the ballast of a body that's exerted itself.

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  11. Since returning to regular excercise I´ve experienced more strength, better moods, less flab and overall more confidence in myself. If I can run for 10 kilometers or lift (relatively) heavy weights, I´ll also be able to give a presentation at work. Apart from feeling happier in my body because it just looks more fit, the psychological effect of excercise is what makes me want to continue. (because yes, my sewing time really suffers)

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    1. Excellent improvements all around! I do love looking more fit, I won't lie. But I miss the time to simply sew...

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  12. I'm so glad to hear that you're feeling so like yourself again. Just the best news. And a great incentive for me to push through the physiotherapy I've just started. At the moment the movements are so tiny they seem ridiculous, but even those are having a positive effect. I'm not even allowed to swim at the moment so I'm being diligent because this lack of movement is not fun! Nor is this ridiculous excess weight. But...baby steps.

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    1. I'm glad to hear you've seen the back of those meds and that you're on the (gentle) journey back to your previous level of fitness. You're going to feel awesome in no time. You don't need to do it hard, you just need to build the strength in order to feel great.

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  13. I am 25, and looking to start practicing yoga. I have tried other times, but always end up hurting myself. What kind of practice would you recommend for a very poor 20-something woman with a fucked back and hips?

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