My free time is increasingly consumed by several kinds of physical and mental practice. These pursuits are designed to regain strength, mobility and fluency.
Despite half-hearted complaints about the time they consume, I do appreciate the results. These practices don’t turn back the clock, but (as my yoga teachers say), they’re juicy.
Contemporary lives are too sedentary, with bad long-term consequences if not counterbalanced by physical activities. I’ve learned this the hard way. I also watched my mother lose the use of one arm, as it became more and more stiff and stuck through inactivity. Sedentary defined her lifestyle…
Our high-tech culture is great for innovating…and triggering pain. Sitting perched over a keyboard or digital device for hours on end, day after day, sets you up for imbalances in muscle strength that may increase your risk for injury. Yoga can help.
“Balancing Act,” Yoga Journal, March 2015.
Step 1: Yoga
Like most of my cohorts, I have years of desk-bound work to overcome. So, eight years ago I took up yoga as a way of coping, but I’ve learned it’s not sufficient to counteract all my ailments.
When work and health permit, I practice yoga daily. Off the mat I’m trying to be more mindful.
Step 1: PT
Besides yoga, my daily life now requires a dozen-plus PT exercises — with therapy bands, balls and weights. My yoga room is now cluttered with therapy gear, vying for room with bolsters and yoga mats.
My therapist has prescribed specific movement patterns to rejuvenate a stiff thoracic spine, and heal rotator cuff issues that had led to a frozen shoulder.
I’m learning through practice that the right exercises can mobilize and strengthen “enchained” musculoskeletal structures — counteracting some of the consequences of aging and repetitive stress activities. And unhealthy lifestyles.
It’s taken months of focused work to restore mobility to my shoulder joint/capsule and upper spine; now I’m poised to begin strength building. I’ve been able to avoid surgery because my rotator cuff was compromised not by traumatic injury, but by normal wear-and-tear.
Thankfully, diligent PT practice can pay off. It’s no fountain of youth, but it can certainly make you feel and move like a younger self. This has been my experience.
My doctor discharged me yesterday, noting the beneficial impact of two+ months of disciplined PT. That said, he cautioned that I must faithfully incorporate PT exercises into my daily life, like flossing or brushing my teeth… If not, there will be many more flare-ups in my future.
Well-being is all about balance in life. Not just physical.