Hula baby!

An osteopath that I saw in 2013 suggested that, when I get shoulder / neck / back aches and pains, I should try hula-hooping.

That look on your face right now – that’s what I did, too. “Is this guy kidding?”

But two years later, my crazy-coloured £2 hula hoop still gets pulled out when I have the odd ache, and it works faster than taking a painkiller.

When I started hooping, I couldn’t manage more than a few seconds at a time before it hit the floor. Now I can go several minutes in spin-mode. And I admit that, when at work and feeling a bit achy, I do the hula hooping motion (in private!) to help me get through the day.

It also has the added bonus – when doing it regularly – of very quickly tightening up your belly muscles. The repetitive hip gyrations help strengthen your core muscles. And you can’t help but feel good and positive when doing it.

Has anyone else benefited from hula-hooping? Or something equally wacky?!

It's obligatory that you look this happy when hooping.

It’s obligatory that you look this happy when hooping.

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Physio exercises

I have seen my NHS physiotherapist three times now (over a period of 5 weeks). During the first session, we talked about posture and lifestyle (think I passed the test). He gave me the following 3 short exercises (10 repetitions of each) to do regularly (6-7 times a day).

1. Chicken Tuck

full-protraction       full-retraction

This counteracts the tendency we all have of allowing our heads to poke forwards in a poor posture. The whole movement is like the forward and back movement that chickens make. Hold the movement at the extreme of the backward posture for a few seconds.

This one causes me the most discomfort. It still, 5 weeks later, feels horrible.

2. Neck extension

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This is the movement of allowing the head to go back until the face is looking directly at the ceiling.  Allow your neck to ease back steadily as you do this, leaving your neck at the end of the movement for a few seconds.

This movement has definitely become easier for me over the weeks – when I first started, I had a fear of looking upwards – I realise now that my head won’t drop off when I do it.

3. Arm Stretch

OK so I couldn't find a proper photo for this one :)

OK so I couldn’t find a proper photo for this one :)

Sitting with a good posture, I am to hold my hands, palms facing forward and fingers stretched, each side of me and raise my straight arms in a circle until they are above my head.

This feels good to get the shoulder blades moving.

Verdict so far? I’ve been doing these exercises several times a day for over a month now. Numbers 2 and 3 feel good while I’m doing them, and I certainly don’t feel that they do any harm. But I’m frustrated that my neck doesn’t feel any different in-between exercising and I wonder if there should be any improvement in my neck pain by now?  I wonder how much success others have had with this kind of thing?

Source: thephysiotherapysite.co.uk

Urgh, exercise

So, after a few days of walking, I seemed to decide (not only partly due to the snow we have here) that I didn’t want to do it anymore. At least, not on a daily basis.

Since then, I’ve been swimming a couple of times – I swam half an hour each time (with short breaks for, you know, breathing). Both times, I quickly developed a specific pain across my shoulder / arm which didn’t go away until I stopped swimming. I think this is probably due to the position my neck is in (the “trying to keep my hair dry because it’s so cold outside” position typically favoured by blue-rinsed old ladies). So it seems if I’m to keep swimming, I need to find a new way of doing it (blimey, all this change is exhausting).

I’ve also (re)started doing a ‘Davina’ DVD with a ‘boxer-cise’ section. It’s kinda.. fun. And the action of boxing seems to stretch out my neck and back muscles, which feels good.

I think the answer to getting over my laziness might at least include a bit of variety. If I don’t feel like doing one, I can think about doing another…

Any suggestions? What keeps you going back for more?

Don't mess with me.

Don’t mess with me. Word.

Big. fat. failure.

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Why am I so reluctant to exercise? All I wanted to do was walk half an hour a day for seven days, and I failed on day 4! Pathetic.

Even though I know it will help improve my situation, I still don’t want to do it. Even though I know that I enjoy it once I get started, I still don’t want to do it. Even though it makes me feel empowered and positive and confident, I still don’t want to do it. What would it take?

So, why not exercise?

  • I don’t want to go out in to the cold (it’s so snowy and windy and horrible today…)
  • it takes too much time, I always have so much else to do
  • I don’t have the right clothes
  • I’m lazy…
  • I’m lazy…
  • I’m lazy.

So, how to get over this initial thought process every time..? Apparently, it takes 21 days to form a new habit.. how the hell am I going to get to day 21 when I can’t get to day 4?!

Day 3 Walking Challenge

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Day 3 of trainering-up and dragging my skinny pale ass out on to the streets.

I’ve discovered that;

once I get past the initial don’t-want-to-do-it-i’m-tired-it’s-too-cold-i-don’t have-time moment, it feels good to do something positive and proactive for myself

it’s actually nicer out there than it looks from the window of my central-heated pit, I mean, once you get past the initial cold and start warming up, it’s actually nice to feel a bit of sun on my face

good posture and a good speed make all the difference to how it feels (and presumably what good it’s doing)

Gosh, look at all those positive words I’ve inadvertently used about exercise.  Urgh, I’m disgusted with myself.  I’m still a lazy sod at heart though, I could quite easily never do it again and not miss it, I reckon.

That’s not me in the picture, by the way.  I mean, obviously I look a lot like that when walking.. maybe slightly redder in the face, wearing totally-sports-inappropriate clothing, and probably leaning over the fence a little to gasp for some air.. other than that…   (The only reason I’d look that happy when walking is if there were a Primark directly opposite.)

Walking for lazy people

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I know I need to change my lifestyle in order to heal, so I’ve committed myself to walking half an hour a day.  Just for a week.  Just to see if I can.  Just to see if I can finally develop and stick to an exercise habit for the first time in my lazy, slippered, seated life. 

I’ve just completed Day 2.  Half an hour of Nicki-Minaj-fuelled marching around the dog-shit-filled streets of Rugby.  Yay me.  (Am I supposed to ache this much?!)