Exercise, Again

It's not easy to get into an exercise routine. For anyone. But you've got to be strategic. It's got to be right for your body type, something you actually like doing and the right frequency to keep you from just giving up.

As you may know, I am now recovered from what was a terrible problem with my posture that resulted in muscle imbalance and pain. Unfortunately for me, after recovering, I had a few set backs, including a tonsillectomy and then a back injury last summer from moving house that was totally unrelated (apart from the fact that I am hypermobile, which means I will probably always be a little more prone to injury than most people).

So it's been a long time since I've had a regular sustained exercise routine for more than a few months – besides walking. And that's been tough. Both physically and mentally.

But last October, the stars finally aligned and my physio cleared me to start exercising again. First, I started going back to Bikram yoga. I was thrilled– but had to remain calm about the whole thing and not overdo it. I just went once a week. I also went back to my tap dancing class. This was all amazing.

And then, it got better! I was cleared to do some aerobics again, so I started getting back into Zumba (a dance exercise class). This trio of activities got me through the five months prior to the wedding.

So what happens now? I've been getting stronger and although I don't want to overdo it, I wanted to up things a little more, considering that tap class doesn't happen every week and sometimes we don't even really work up a sweat (we all usually just wear our work clothes). And even though I'm not sure I'll settle at this level, I think exercising three to four times per week seems like the right amount for me.

I'd been toying with a few ideas – including going to yoga twice a week. I tried it, but it was just too much for me. I know that the Bikram yogis swear you have to go at least that much, if not everyday, but it's expensive, and it's time consuming. Apart from being a 90-minute class, you get so sweaty that there's no way you can leave the building without a shower. Plus there's the 15 minutes I spend after class sprawled on the floor unable to move before I can even get to the changing room.

Going once a week is still really challenging, but I also don't dread it. For now, that's my Bikram yoga equilibrium.

One thing that has influenced my decision about what to add in next is a pesky bit of a click in my right shoulder (not sure how else to describe it). According to Super Physio, this will go away once my right deltoid (the big shoulder muscle) gets just that bit stronger to hold one of the joints in my shoulder together better.

I have weights that I use to do specific physio exercises with, but SP said that I need to do more varied work (i.e. faster and in more directions) to actually get that deltoid muscle as strong as it needs to be to stop said pesking 'clicking'. And this doesn't mean I need to become a body builder – no, it means going to Zumba and waving my arms around more and doing things like swimming or tennis or golf.

So I've now started adding swimming back in on Thursday nights. In the past I've struggled a bit with trying to incorporate swimming into my routine. But I am pretty interested in getting rid of that click and I think it's probably the safest bet right now as I don't feel ready for tennis or golf yet. Also, there's the added incentive of a little lie down in the sauna afterwards.

There's a lot to think about when it comes to exercise for me. I can't just plow ahead and try out every new exercise fad that comes along (and who really wants to fly with Jukari or throw those kettle balls around anyway?). Sometimes it stinks, but I know that in the end my body will thank me for it. I have to be my own expert, as only I know the type of exercise that works best for me, what I really like and how I can make it sustainable. And I think that might even be true for everyone, even if you don't have a pesky shoulder click.

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