One foot in front of the other

One foot in front of the other

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by Alysa Bajenaru

Alysa is a freelance writer and dietitian who lives in Phoenix, Arizona, with her husband and two kids - unless, of course, it's baseball season; then, they could be anywhere. You can follow her on Twitter and at her blog Inspired RD.

I awoke this morning to a gentle whisper.  Not an audible one, but a quiet nudging of the spirit.  My body was asking me, in the nicest way possible, to get moving.

See, I haven’t been exercising lately.  As a health professional, that is a bit hard to admit, but there it is.

I have plenty of good reasons (read: excuses) for my recent inactivity.  My schedule is crazy.   I have two kids in two different schools at two different times.  My baseball coach husband has started Spring Training.  The weather is…oh, who am I kidding? I live in Phoenix – the weather is wonderful.

I think what really has me stuck is an order from my doctor to avoid any kind of intense exercise for a while because of some chronic injuries.  I am only allowed to do yoga, walking, and gentle stretching (not exactly my cup of tea).

So because I haven’t been allowed to exercise the way I want to, I quit.

Kind of the adult version of a temper tantrum, don’t you think?

I’m a person of extremes.  If I can’t go all out, I don’t want to do any of it.  Can anyone relate?

So this morning, my body said, “Come on, get outside, it’s a beautiful day, let’s go for a walk.”

Fine (grumble, grumble).

One foot in front of the other

It was a quick walk around the neighborhood, nothing fancy.  Towards the end my upper back started hurting a little, thanks to the weakness of bending over a computer/laundry/dishes all day. 

So I came home and grabbed an exercise band, did 10 back squeezes, 10 tricep extensions, and 10 half-squats.  Then I took the time to stretch (I usually skip that part) and foam roll.

Whew!  I did it.  And it felt good.  Now to do it again tomorrow, and the next day…

I know myself well enough to know I can’t do this on my own.  So I called a friend who lives nearby and told her I need a walking buddy.

Turns out she needed one too.

And so the moral of the story is: don’t let the inability to do everything keep you from doing something.  And if you need help, ask for it.  Chances are, the person you ask will need help, too.

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Comments

  1. Thanks for this. We have a LOT going on right now (completely unrelated to working out) and it’s a great reminder to just look at what’s directly ahead and take baby steps (a la What About Bob) instead of letting myself get overwhelmed by All of the Things.

  2. Seriously?

    This is SO me right now.

    I’m all or nothing. And when it comes to working out – I’m the kind that likes to sweat. I don’t feel like I’ve done much if I’m not completely kicked by the end of a session.

    But – I’ve been having some scary symptoms lately – pain in my joints, hips, back. And since I can’t do what I want to do – I do nothing.

    I can do yoga, pilates, light lifting – I just don’t.

    I so needed this today. So timely. Thank you!

    Blessings,
    Kate :)

    • Yes exactly! I want to sweat and run and do heavy circuits that leave me breathless. So I sit and throw a tantrum instead. Hope this inspires you to put one foot in front of the other… ;)

  3. I did my first Triathlon back in August at 52 years old. Ended up with chronic foot pain after my second Tri in October. I haven’t done one bit of exercise since then. Your article was very needed and timely.

  4. Your post came at a perfect time for me this morning! After having abdominal surgery 3 weeks ago, I have been struggling with wanting to do more than my body is ready for. I’m heading to the doctor for my post-op this afternoon and expect to be cleared for work & exercise (YES!), but probably still only the “gentle” sort (AARGH!). Thanks for the reminder about baby steps and doing what you can for the moment :-)

  5. avatar
    Carol in NM says:

    This is so timely! I’m 46 and after 2 months off cross fit during December and January due to illness, I went back to the gym, totally over did it and ended up with rhabdo. It’s been almost 3 weeks and I’m finally working out again. Cross fit is so intense and I like to work myself just about to death. However, having ACTUALLY almost done that, I’ve learned that I need to listen to my body and not try to keep up with the 20-something “kids” anymore! I’ve also learned that doing SOMETHING is better than doing nothing, even if that something is a far cry from what I am used to doing. Thanks for this post.

  6. Prior to becoming pregnant with kid#1 I did lots of running for exercise, especially trail running. I got to a point where I couldn’t run anymore because of shin splints, hip pain, etc. from being pregnant. I should have done more walking but I’m an all or nothing kind of gal too. Even now, two kids later, I still sometimes have a tough time forcing myself out the door because I remember the enjoyment of running up and down dirt trails, enjoying the scenery, and getting in non stop intense exercise. I go for runs now (not as consistently as I’d like), but only on pavement, because I have the double stroller. It’s different than before, but I now have two exercise buddies that will hopefully learn the importance of exercise and maybe one day will be nice enough to drag me out the door to go running with them. Thanks for your encouragement.

    • Before I had kids, I LOVED trail running. We had a huge hill at the end of the neighborhood that went down to a desert wash area. It was so fun to run around down there then finish with a butt-kicking hill climb on the way home.

  7. I think we all need a little kick in the pants in the winter when it comes to exercising. I have been trying to will myself to do anything physical! Go for a walk, or get on an elliptical a couple of times a week. I will say that I hate going to work out but I LOVE how I feel after!

    • It’s kind of opposite here in Phoenix. Winter is when we want to be outside all the time! Summer is when we have to drag ourselves out into the heat to do something :)

  8. Love my foam roller!

  9. THANK YOU for this! It’s perfect timing!!!! I’ve been on modified bed rest due to pregnancy induced hypertension, so my time to be on my feet is very limited (only 20 minutes at a time) and it’s usually doing stuff around the house or for the kiddos (homeschooled 5 and all boy 2). Since I haven’t been able to go on my super long, just for me and baby hour walks, I’ve chosen to do…nothing!!! Dr. says I can do some exercises during my allotted on-my-feet time, but it’s not what “I” want (can you hear the temper tantrum???). Thank you, though, for the nudge! It’s just what I needed!

  10. Such a great post, Alysa — thanks for sharing. I’m a certified nutrition consultant (IIN) and also struggle with similar stuff — once in a while I find myself getting lazy and not eating the best. Since I can’t take a walk outside because it’s freeeeezing in Chicago, I was able to run for a while this morning downstairs on the treadmill!

  11. I can relate but this is how I feel about exercise
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