I remember the days when I was so fit that a sports injury was always looming but it was only temporary. My fitness and wellness aided and accelerated my recovery every time–even if it took just a little help from a doc or surgeon.
As someone who’s super-size and who needs to lose ~100 pounds–someone who wants to get back into a delicate rowing single shell that demands a much thinner frame–I have been getting quite a few more incidental sedentary injuries–injuries that seem, so far, to be random and annoying but might be trending towards being chronic and a premature sign of aging.
I write this blog because I am fatter than fit and more sedentary than active. My athletic life used to be about getting as much performance out of my body between sports injuries; now, however, in my heavy weight and limited mobility, fitness, and strength, it’s now about getting as much performance out of my body between sedentary injuries.
For me, sedentary injuries are defined as those awful debilitating things that happen when I’m doing absolutely nothing at all.
For example, a sitting injury in my hip or sciatica, a standing injury including an aching lumbago, a sleeping injury in the form of of a pinched nerve in my neck; or, the worst, a lower-back pinch. Sometimes I’ll even get a sore hip just from sleeping on my side.
Oy vey ist mir!
Speaking of sitting injuries that can easily be prevented from an active lifestyle is hemorrhoids. Last month while sleeping, I pinched a nerve in my lower back. I took some days off from erging on my Concept2 indoor rower to allow the muscle spasm in my back to release.
Once that happened, I was about to jump back onto my treadmill desk and my Concept2 and even swing my kettlebell and, all of a sudden, I got my very first serious attack of the hemorrhoids. Yes, the piles!
They grounded me and made me feel more desperate, blue, dark, and depressed as I’ve ever been from an injury. I was in inconsolable pain for a couple weeks, the sort of discomfort that isn’t just worked out on its own from walking it off or even from a nice walk on my treadmill desk. Now I am thoroughly stocked with various and sundry Preparation H products and wipes and, again, so grateful, as always, to A+D Ointment.
Now that I am well again and all these sundry humiliating bottom, bum, back, and neck pains are dormant, I need to take this time to get profoundly in shape. Being extremely fit as a baseline is essential.
Having a default of strength, health, fitness, and leanness means that there’s a much better chance that my strong core, strong abdominal floor, strong legs, glutes, quads, back and neck will be able to better stabilize my skeleton, spine, neck, and scull, actively preventing chronic sedentary issues such as: neck cricks, hemorrhoids, sciatica, and even: oy, my lumbago!
Ok, here’s the rub. As you and I progress from couch potato to athlete, there’s a danger zone between the two, when you’re not fit or strong enough to support a hard core, when you’re vulnerable: you’re still sedentary so all of your new athleticism will put quite a strain on you.
Take it easy and spend a lot of time stretching after working out and between sets. Mobility and flexibility are earned and not a given. When I jumped into swinging my kettlebell for 90-seconds every hour, I didn’t remotely stretch enough after each set and at the end of the day.
What happened after putting this extra stress on my body, out of nowhere, is a real pain in my ass: both lower back pain and sciatica.
Luckily, I bought myself a bunch of massage sticks and foam rollers and was able to calm down the inflammation leading to the pinch but it would surely have been better if I prevented it all by making sure I spent a good ten minutes slowly warming up and then some serious time stretching and working on my mobility and flexibility.