I don't make these posts often because, frankly, they're a chore and not very interesting. However, I do believe it is important to occasionally make a note for my own reference of what I'm doing, and records of my exercise are sadly underrepresented in any sort of record of my processes.
Unlike most people who are trying to lose weight, exercise does not feature heavily into what I do. I don't get excited about it, nor do I hate it. I enjoy the movement, when I'm not in pain as a result of it. However, I'm not "Super Gym Girl" working out and building those muscles so that she can go around with hard, lumpy abs that one could use for beating a carpet on, or whatever they're supposed to be useful for. Frankly, I think well-defined stomach muscles are rather gross, even on men, but I realize I'm in a tiny minority. If you want a stomach like that, please don't be offended by my subjective observations. I'm just a crazy lady who used to weigh 380 lbs. (now 251) who writes a lot of navel-gazing posts and talks a lot about psychology. What do I know?
Here's the boring exercise record at present:
- At any rate, when I started, I couldn't walk 5 minutes without pain or 10 minutes without starting to feel out of breath. Now, I can walk without appreciable pain for up to 90 minutes and walk about 40-60 minutes most days. Sometimes I do that as a full circuit walking around my neighborhood and sometimes I take about 30 minutes and then walk in place while watching documentaries on my computer screen for as long as I want. The walking in place was something I started recently as the weather has gotten hotter and made longer walks outside unpleasant. Frankly, I think real walking is better and burns more calories. I have no evidence to support this (so don't believe me if you are skeptical... I'm not sure I believe me), but I think it has to do with balance and how you have to adjust and carry your body when walking around in the real world.
- I started off with no weight lifting, but about 6 months ago (maybe, can't recall exactly), I started lifting two 1-kg. weights for 20 reps and upped it over 3 weeks to 50 reps. This caused my arms muscles to burn for days and was clearly too much too soon. I rested until all of the pain was gone and started again with only 5 reps, adding 1 per day each time I had no pain. I'm now up to 30 reps for one type of weight-lifting movement, 25 for another, and 15 for another. I continue to add in or hold at a certain number based on the pain or burning I experience.
- About two weeks ago, I started doing some "in front of the computer screen" exercises to try and work some other muscles. I used to do sit-ups when I lost weight in college, but my back pain will not allow for that. To do something for my stomach, I've been working on a "breath and hold" exercise. I sit in front of the computer with a timer set for a looping 12 second countdown on screen. I start the timer and take a deep breath and let it out. When the timer hits "6", I pull in my stomach muscle as far as possible, trying to suck it back toward the back of the chair. I hold it for 6 seconds and do an exhalation/inhalation as the next 6 seconds pass. I repeat this through 20 reps (I started at 5). Because I concentrate on the timer (and whatever video I'm watching), I keep count on my hands. I start with both hands in a fist on my knees and open each finger until all 10 are out then close them again for the next round of 10. This makes it easier to focus on the timer since tracking two sets of numbers and a documentary on the history of Rome is a little too much to manage mentally.
- I started to do leg lifts from in front of my computer. I sit with my hands on either side of the chair and lift my knees up as high as I can 15 times (I started at 5). This seems to work my back as well as my thighs.
I will continue to add reps to all of these exercises as time goes by based on how much pain they cause, though I expect that I will have a maximum number (probably 50) based on the time the exercises take. I always start very low when I try these things because I've had enough experience to know that I'll suffer badly if I overdo it.
I walk nearly everyday (perhaps I do not do it 1 day out of every 20), because I don't have a car anyway and my bike is broken. I do the lifting and muscle exercises about 6 days a week, depending on pain or stiffness. I'll always take a day off if I feel my muscles need it.
I don't know if the exercises I'm doing really matter for weight loss. I do know that doing them makes me feel good and that it can't hurt to stretch and use muscles that may not see much use. I'm sure there are better and more productive things I could be doing, but I'm not yet ready to do them. It's not a mental thing, it's a physical one. I know my limits, and I am not going to push myself too far too fast. I've made that mistake before and seriously regretted it.
Phew. Boring bookkeeping post over. I will now return to normal programming.