Okay… I don’t do well with this locked inside and no activity stuff. I worked out Monday morning, and that’s been the extent of my movement for this week. Yesterday, I was a deadbeat all day. I watched movies, chatted on Facebook, talked on the phone and texted friends and cooked a few easy meals. I did a little yoga stretching in the evening because I was beginning to feel so tight from sitting/laying/vegging out all day. I was ready to bust out of this place by 8 PM. Instead, I decided to watch The Iron Lady off Netflix. I wasn’t prepared for how it would make me feel.
The movie is about Margaret Thatcher. Meryl Street portrays this dynamic, powerful world leader at the end of her life looking back. While I was watching the movie, I got really worried about myself as an elderly lady. She talks to her dead husband and spends lots of time reminiscing about her time as Prime Minister. Will I be all alone talking to dead husbands – and hearing them answer – for hours on end with nowhere to go and nothing to do? Or worse, will I be frail and all alone with nobody to take care of me? At least she had a daughter that would visit her. I put those thoughts aside and went to bed but was awakened this morning with a boatload of anxiety about aging and my physical condition. OMG … I panicked... I SIT all day long, and I’m already having hip issues with my running!!!! What if this is the start of my downhill decline, and my sitting all day at my job makes my ability to walk without a walker happen in the next few years? What if its over? I have GOT to get a new job where I’m out chopping wood or walking all day. This is not acceptable!!
I knew from experience that my anxiety had kicked up …. probably from sitting on my butt all day with no exercise, and it had decided to terrorize me with some obsessive, scary thoughts about how I would end up. So, I tried to talk myself down… alright , Sharon… she’s like 80 in that movie, and you are only 53. You have plenty of time to turn this around. Yes, I know that the sitting is a killer. I can research that – today – and find out some things that will help until I become a full-time wood-chopper that carries my wood to market on my back. This is NOT a crisis… it’s an opportunity.
Thank heavens I have friends who know me. It took a combination of three of them to assure me that I was not on my deathbed, and, if I was, I would have people that cared about me. Jo Ann assured me I could come live with her on a cruise ship where we would have free food and exercise classes. Michael assured me that if he ever moves back here to Louisiana, I could come live with him and Darren, and we can raise goats or run a plantation. And, Jessica… well … Jessica laughed and said I was in great shape, and I just needed to add a few things to undo some of the daily damage done by sitting. Come to think of it, she didn’t offer for me to come stay with her. Wonder what she’s mad about?
When I did the research on this killer sitting issue that I have, I found out that the initial studies on this health issue … and it is an important health concern … came out of Baton Rouge at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center. Jessica suggested maybe I could get in on one of their studies, but I’m afraid that they’ll study me for 10 years and then say, “yep, your screwed.” That won’t help my dilemma or my old age. The problem is that sitting causes your muscles to shut down and become inactive. The research into this is called inactive physiology, and it’s an actual science now. We sit so much, and not just on snow days, that we have health issues like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity and metabolic syndrome. Apparently, the exercise that I do after work does not counteract the damage done by multi-hour sitting. I have to break up the sitting with movement breaks. It’s not that big of a deal. I just have to do it…. and therein lies the problem.
The other issue that sitting causes is atrophy of my gluteal muscles. Ever wonder why running backs have such great butts? Well, all that running requires a strong gluteus maximus. And, me, with my marathon running, requires it, too. Since I’ve been in sitting jobs for a number of years, my gluteal muscles are losing strength as I increase the demand on them by running long distances. At some point there will be a breaking point, and, thus, I have a couple of hip injuries. It’s complicated. When I compensate for inadequate gluteal strength, I overwork other areas. When an injury shows up, I compensate yet again. One issues leads to another. I’m just really disappointed in this whole string of events, and even more disappointed that there’s not an easy answer. But, Jessica told me today I may just have to take some time to get things right so that I can run again later. I’m not a “later” girl. I want it now. But, in this case, I may have to rein in my desires for long-term gain.
So, she prescribed this MYRTL workout. It’s supposed to strengthen and stretch the hip girdle. When we sit, our glutes are stretched out, and our hip flexors are contracted. The body starts to get used to this because we sit for a long time, and we have to do things to counteract that imbalance. Jess is going to start doing the MYRTL workout on her run days, and I’m going to start doing it every day. I had hoped my stability ball would be all I needed, but I guess I have to ramp up the prescription in order to get back to running … or even walking at this point. I’m also going to continue my yoga and strength training to go along with it PLUS I have to move around a little at work every hour. Hopefully this will keep me from becoming old and frail at 53.
So, I’m in a better state of mind than I was this morning. Looks like even though I don’t have the traditional family setup to march me through old age, I might have some friends with alternative ideas. And, maybe I won’t be frail at all. Michael says his Aunt is 80, still does her own yardwork and could probably outrun him. I once knew a woman that bought a new car at 90. She was a whipper-snapper. Come to think of it, she was single with no kids, too. I just really don’t want to spend time talking to my dead husbands. We didn’t get along all that well the first time, although the first one did make me laugh. Oh, yeah … and if you know anyone hiring wood-choppers, please let me know. I know somebody that might be interested.
MYRTL Workout – Save Your Butt