Our View From Here

Perspectives of Five Women

Pain as My Motivator

on September 16, 2010

I used to be one of those people that always said they were going to get into a regular workout routine but never did. Sometimes I’d do really well but not for long. That all changed when I hurt my back.

My injury laid me up in bed for nearly 3 months.  I started physical therapy unable to touch my feet. I had to rebuild just about every muscle in my body. I went to therapy for seven months. I started out going three days a week then finished off two days a week. It was grueling but I knew it was the only way I’d ever function normally again.  It also helped that after a few weeks I could touch my feet again so I knew I was making progress. I literally cheered when I could tie my shoes. My physical therapist was fantastic and for the first time in my life I basically had a personal trainer who was making sure I did all my exercises correctly and effectively. I felt fantastic by the time I was done with therapy. I could go an entire day with out pain killers!

I’ve taken my therapy into the gym. Twice a week I try to go do my strength training and ab workouts. The other days of the week I throw in some cardio and work my abs even more. I discovered that these gym sessions not only helped my back but actually improved my mood. I’d go in stressed and aggravated from work and go home feeling relaxed and clear headed. I sweated out the negativity from the day and felt better about myself over all. I feel like I always exit the gym with a bit of a swagger and I think that’s just fine.

I wish I could say this fantastic feeling is what keeps me on track and exercising regularly. It really isn’t. I learned the hard way that I can’t skip more than a week of exercising. After my surgery my doctor said if I had waited a month longer to get it fixed I’d probably have permanent damage. Thankfully I escaped that but there are still lingering issues if I become a slacker. My back will start to spasm, the nerve pain will come back shooting down my leg and general back badness (as I lovingly call it). It is amazing how easy it is to force yourself to the gym when you know it is the only way to make the evil back badness stop.

So in the end there is a bright side to my back injury situation. I know me, this is probably the only way I ever would have gotten myself into a regular exercise routine. Thanks to this situation forced upon me by my back I weigh less than I did in high school. Its safe to say I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been in my life and I feel so much better about my body image. I’m not quite to my goal but I’m the closest I’ve ever been (less than 10 lbs to go!).

I still have days I skip the gym and some weeks are better than others. I’m the queen of coming up with reasons not to go. I honestly used “It’s raining” as an excuse one day, so pitiful. Fortunately, I can only go so long with lame excuses before I have no choice and need to work out. Pain really is a fantastic motivator.

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