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Monday, October 5, 2015

Classical Stretch

I'm turning 44 this month. In my family, that means I have more than half my life ahead of me, barring accident or apocalypse. This is the first year I've started wishing that isn't true.

I may have had aches before, but this is the year I've noticed. I went to physical therapy for the first time for neck pain (didn't help). I've been using oils, back and body aspirin, NSAIDs (not all at the same time), and glucosamine chondroitin. Hasn't helped. I wake up in the middle of the night with back pain, if I'm lucky, because not waking up then means I wake up with worse pain when the alarm goes off.

Many of my Friends suffer chronic pain. I'm not saying I hurt like they hurt, but I don't like hurting at all, so a 3 - 4 on the pain scale is way more than I want to experience in a normal day. Especially when I haven't done anything to deserve it aside from folding laundry (the latest cause of my latest back spasm).

Working in The Swamp helps, but that is a one to two season activity at most in Kansas. Winter and Summer just don't lend themselves to Swamp activities on a daily basis. I used to do yoga, and I've considered Tai Chi, but I have reservations about meditation practices of false religions, even if they might help my back. The mind leads the body, but the body leads the mind, too. Paul the apostle's words in Romans about eating meat sacrificed to idols being meaningless when you give it no meaning is one thing, yet I notice that was one of only two practices forbidden by the early Church for both Jewish and Greek converts. Is my faith really greater than Peter's?

Shuffling around the house about a month ago, lamenting the state of my back yet again, I accidentally turned on PBS (a channel I strenuously avoid nowadays). I caught the tail end of a Miranda Esmonde-White Classical Stretch routine. Zero impact cardio - fabulous for my rickety knees and traitorous hips. Lots of stretching - like yoga without the religion. She emphasizes relaxation, something I've had several highly paid professionals confirm is an issue of mine.

I found two reasonably priced used DVDs for core strengthening and back pain relief on Amazon, and set my alarm for 4:45 so I could be up and ready when her PBS program comes on at 5 AM. I've been working out with her for 7 mornings now, and twice this weekend when the DVDs arrived, and it has helped. My posture is better, the pain is less when I wake up, and I feel more relaxed.

Once again, I run the risk of being the alcoholic who knows everything after one meeting (or, in this case, 7), but this may the exercise habit I've been looking for. I'll let you know in a few months.

Applaud the jellyfish.