Pandemic Silver Lining
Sunday, March 14, 2021
When the Pandemic hit a year ago, March 2020, going to the gym became sporadic and then stopped completely. At that time, my lower back pain was fairly constant. I would wake up in the morning and think to myself "is this pain going be with me for the rest of my life? Now I know why they have 'Pain Management Clinics'". At the worst times I was sad almost depressed to think that I would never be able to work out like I used to - like I loved to do - lifting weights, feeling the resistance, pushing through that last rep. I would leave the gym feeling so strong. The Pandemic made be feel so grateful for so many things - I still had a job, I could work from home, I could work from my mom's house and help provide care for her. As the worst of the Pandemic news was coming out, not being able to go to the gym was trivial. And as I stayed homebound, I paid more attention to my back and how it felt. Sitting makes it feel bad, stretching makes it feel good. Moving is better than not moving. My weight wasn't changing too much but I was definitely getting flabbier and clothes were tighter. Thankfully, I already had some basic exercise tools, dumbbells, a 20lb bar, ankle weights (which I strapped on to the bar), a bosuball, a 10lb medicine ball, mat and resistance bands. I did purchase a basic spin bike because the California fires made hiking or walking outside impossible. These last few months, I've figured out a decent living room workout to try and get back into some decent level of conditioning. The first time I tried the bike I almost gave up, I was so weak and it felt so hard I didn't think I could go for the 22 min routine that I was following in the Workout Trainer app (by Skimble). I had to do some serious pep talking to myself to finish the routine. I kept telling myself "I have a choice, I can continue to be a slug and gain weight and not fit into my clothes and be unhappy or I can start moving more which will make me feel better and I'll get stronger and eventually leaner and more fit and I'll be happier" So now, I am stronger, I can feel it. Weights that I used to struggle with feel comfortable. I haven't lost much weight. That's ok. Clothes are fitting a little bit better not there yet. But the most amazing thing that I've noticed - my lower back pain has calmed down considerably. I don't get the flare ups that I used to get and even when I do (for doing something I shouldn't have), the flare up is limited to a day rather than a week. Yesterday I went to the gym and did 3 sets of barbell squats (just the bar for now). My back is feeling good, just a little tight. My knees feel good, they were achy on the first set and felt better on the next sets. It wasn't the heavy duty resistance that I would feel when I used to squat 155+ but I'll take it! If the pandemic hadn't closed the gyms, I might still have been over-doing it and making my injury/pain worse.