physical therapy

First Ride and an Update

First the update.

My back: it’s finally feeling better! (I sure hope I don’t jinx myself.) I’ve been going to physical therapy, massage therapy, and chiropractor. I got a standing desk at workΒ and I was taking a break from certain activities (no yoga since this all started, so 3 months I think?). It was really really frustrating but I think I’ve turned a corner.

The week before I went on vacation my back was cranky. Flying didn’t help it; but once I got to Arizona my back felt really good. (Actually most of my aches and pains went away in Arizona.) When I got back I had a really good week with no back pain and then last week was even better! I am able to move around and sit for longer periods without feeling pain–there are even days where I even FORGET I had back pain. YAY!

A little while ago I decided to test out kettlebells to see how it felt. The first time I did a traditional swing with a 15 pound kettlebell – 3 sets of 10 reps. I did my PT stretches in between each set. First, the 15 pound kettlebell was worthless. Too light. But I didn’t want to push it. Second, I didn’t feel pain while doing it. Third, I didn’t feel any pain afterward. The only thing I felt was normal muscle fatigue. The next day I gave it another try with a 20 pound kettlebell and same. Feeling good!

I am starting to incorporate the swing back into my weight lifting set. Not doing too much yet, but easing into it. My goal is to get back to the Warrior Room this summer/fall. I may have to modify a lot of activities in the classes but I am going to try!

The next thing I wanted to test out was cycling. I’d talked to my physical therapist and chiropractor about it a month ago and they were both like….meh I’d wait. Since I have a road bike and will be a little bent over while riding, they didn’t think it would be a good idea yet. The therapist said I should wait until I was pain-free for 10 consecutive days. Well, it’s been several weeks now so I am trying!

I am LATE TO THE SEASON this year. πŸ™ It’s a bummer. But it is what it is. Usually I start biking to work at the beginning of May.

Morning Ride

So…here we are, almost mid-June and I had my first ride to work. I drove part way and parked in Sellwood.

It was a little cooler that morning that the previous mornings in our first summer heat wave. As I set out on the bike I was a bit cold! I wished I’d had my compression tights on but I tried to suck it up and once I got out of the shade it was tolerable. Chilly but not miserable.

I biked up the Springwater Trail, which was pretty empty. My back felt a little tight in the beginning and I thoughtΒ Oh no, maybe this wasn’t a good idea… πŸ™ But overall the back felt okay once I warmed up. Perhaps I should have done some stretches before getting on the bike (but I felt rushed and late and anxious!).

I biked by the new Max station! It’s not up and running yet, supposedly this Fall. It looks shiny and new!

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Feeling pretty good thus far: back okay, knees okay, trying not to push myself too hard and just bike. I felt slower than I ever have in the past, but that’s ok. I think it’s been since August since I was on the bike!

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I decided to cross the Hawthorne Bridge because I thought I was short on time (I wasn’t in reality) and didn’t want to take the Steel Bridge. I hate biking across the Hawthorne Bridge. It gives me so much anxiety. It’s absolutely crazy. Super busy, aggressive bikers, crowded with runners and walkers and just chaos. It feels dangerous so in the past I always biked that little extra way and crossed the Steel Bridge instead. This time, it wasn’t too bad. I think it was early enough that it wasn’t that busy yet.

ride2You can’t tell from the picture but the cycle counter was nearing 700 riders for the day by the time I crossed! Here are my stats for the morning:

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Morning Stats:

Miles: 5.39

Time: 23 minutes of active cycling

Calories Burned: 252

I felt good when I got off the bike at work.

Afternoon Ride

All day I was hungry. It’s weird, it’s not like I burned a ton of calories on my morning ride in but I felt like I was chasing food all day long. I was hungry at least an hour before each snack or lunch time came around.

I spent the majority of my day standing at my standing desk and tried not to sit too much, just to be sure my back was okay for the ride home. When it came time to go home, I was a bundle of nerves and anxiety, which is typical when I first get back into riding.

I biked across the Morrison Bridge and made it across the river in no time. The ride back on the Springwater was pretty easy. I was a tad on the slow side, my sit-bones were SORE (being saddle ready is not something that just comes easily), and my neck and shoulders felt a little tight.

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Despite that my knees and back felt decent and I was able to bike back to the car without any issues. It was weird…even though my body wasn’t quite ready for a long ride, my mind was. The closer I got to the car I kept thinking,Β maybe I should turn around and do it again…Just add a few more miles. But alas, I knew my body wasn’t quite ready for that. So just as I was getting into my groove, the ride was over.

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AfternoonΒ Stats:

Miles: 5.05

Time: 22 minutes

Calories Burned:Β 218

Total Miles: 10.44

Almost 10.5 miles roundtrip! It was a good decent ride for my first time out. I’m looking forward to doing it again next week and slowly building up my mileage again!

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Dinner was leftover chicken with steamed snap peas and a green salad on the side. I iced my back and knees, I took some advil, I did my PT stretches for my back and called it an early night. (Michael was just as exhausted as I was but he did twice the miles as me and they were all hills!) I should have used my foam roller before I went to bed but forgot. The next day my body felt pretty good other than the usual soreness after a new activity. My thighs, neck and shoulders were sore from riding and my hips were a bit tight and achy.

But I would call this a success!

Sitting Too Much

With my recent back issues it was suggested to me that I get a standing desk at work. I liked the idea of being able to between sitting and standing to break up the day and several coworkers had various types of standing/sitting desks that I eyed. In order to get the new desk I had to have a doctor’s note, and then it took several weeks for them to order it and then install it.

Recently I came into work surprised to see it installed! (And my desk in total chaos and disarray. Had they scheduled it and let me know, I would have moved everything, but who am I to complain? At least it’s installed FINALLY.)

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I consider myself pretty active. I do a lot of walking, I work out 5 days a week. My fitness is pretty diverse. I’m a gym-rat, but also do things like hiking and I bike to work in the summer time. When I’m at home I’m usually busy doing stuff. But at work? I tend to sit a lot. Sure I get up and walk to the printer (A LOT, I’d say every few minutes or so) and when weather is nice I walk on my lunch break. But still, I’m sitting for long periods of time.

When my back was acting up and clearly sitting for long periods was aggravating it, I was forcing myself to get up and do my PT stretches a few times an hour. It helped but didn’t fix the problem. Not only that, by the end of the week, my back would be CRANKY.

How often do you get up from your desk at work? What do you get up for? Bathroom break, coffee, maybe walking to the printer. Some people may have all that stuff at their desk/in their office which makes it unnecessary to get up for on a frequent basis.
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Sitting is definitely detrimental to health. While part of me feels like it’s the new “fad” in the news (sitting is the new smoking, blah blah blah) I do agree that being sedentary is not going to positively impact your health. It just can’t. Our bodies aren’t built that way. We’re hunter-gatherers-farmers who no longer do those things because of modern life.

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Shocking isn’t it? We really do spend most of our time sitting! Not good. This video was really good:Β WATCH: The damage sitting does to your body explained in 60 seconds.

So how is my standing desk?

It was weird and awkward at first. I had to re-arrange my desk to make it work right and move things I use all day since it wasn’t in the right spot anymore. My goal was to spend half the day standing and half sitting, at least at first. I thought that was a generous number. So I stood about 20-30 minutes out of every hour that I was at work.

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Like I said, it was an adjustment. I found that I wasn’t finding that sweet spot of howΒ to stand. I didn’t want to shift my weight on one leg and I found myself doing that often. I also didn’t want to slouch and I wanted to make sure my posture was good. Slouching wasn’t going to fix my back problems!

I am conscious of how I stand and try not to bend over too much.Β So it took awhile to get used to. It’s been about two weeks now. The first week I had some other issues–my feet hurt at the end of the day. I need to experiment with wearing different shoes at work and see if that makes a difference. Despite the foot fatigue, my back did feel a little better standing most of the day. I will continue to do this and my PT exercises. It might take time, but I hope this helps my back.

Do you have a standing desk at work? What has your experience been? Tips? Tricks?