Hello my loves!
I am so excited to write this post today because I am going to talk all about how physical therapy impacted my life this past summer. I will tell you some of my story, and then my recommendations for how to live a healthy lifestyle…especially if you’re a busy bee, like me!
Where to begin?
Well, let’s go back all the way to freshman year when I started playing sports. I joined some intramural school teams like basketball, and in addition to my circuit training regimen, I ended up developing hip flexor tendonitis. I worked out hard several days a week and the impact took its toll on my body. I received my diagnosis from an orthopedist after a consultation and x-ray.
So, that really affected my health, but I didn’t know how to heal the tendon. I tried to rest and avoid high-impact exercise for a few weeks, and once some of the pain went away, I went straight back to cycling, HIIT workouts, yoga, pilates, running, you name it. And, without a doubt, the tendonitis came back.
Fast forward to junior year, when I began to notice an ache in my low back. This problem grew day after day until I was carrying my backpack around school like a hunch-back. I couldn’t sit in a chair for longer than thirty minutes without wanting to bend myself in half the other way to relieve the pain. These two big problems, in addition to small injuries that seemed to have no correlation (shoulders popping out, rolling my ankles, knees bruising up when I walked around in heels) are what landed me in physical therapy.
And then, suddenly, it all made sense.
My therapist discovered that my joint laxity and bone structure were causing these mysterious pains. Under his direction, I learned how to take care of my body and become strong.
So I did.
Going to the gym every day made me feel so good. I was finally working out because it made me feel good, not because I wanted to burn calories. I started strength training and learning how to maintain good posture.
While I still deal with these problems today, I finally have answers. I wasn’t just imagining the pain in my back- it was really there! I love working out because it makes me feel better than I have in years. Exercise isn’t a punishment anymore- it is something I enjoy! And, because I am being trained by a professional, I am not at risk for injuries anymore.
So, now we will get down to the nuts and bolts of it- what I’m sure you all wanted to see. These are my health and fitness tips!
- Don’t go to the gym if you are sick– getting over an illness counts!
- If you have an injury, consult a physician on proper treatment. I have learned that letting an injury get out of hand only leads to more injuries later down the road.
- If an exercise causes you pain (and not fatigue or soreness type of pain) avoid it and consult a doctor or physical therapist.
- An x-ray is not a full diagnosis. Some injuries are not visible on the photographs. A second, or third, or fourth opinion is never a bad idea. And never believe everything you read on the Internet!
- Strength training is more important than tons of cardio- stabilizing your body and building muscle is going to keep your body intact! I warm up with cardio and then do my strength exercises.
- You will gain weight when you start to gain muscle and that is perfectly fine. Health isn’t about seeing how much weight you can lose, it’s about how much strength you can gain. See the glass half full 😉
- Eat everything in moderation- cutting out food groups and ingredients does more harm than good unless you have a legitimate allergy. Opt for wholesome, unprocessed foods as much as possible, but…
- Don’t forget to indulge once in a while. You don’t have to cut sweets from your diet completely, just have a treat once in a while. And…
- If you are craving something, just eat it. Torturing yourself thinking about it will just make the craving worse.
- In order to have a healthy lifestyle, you must first love and accept your body. Health is not about appearance, it is about improving your quality of life.
Consider teaming up with a workout buddy to help motivate you!
What I do at the gym:
10-30 minutes of cardio on the elliptical machine
Four hip exercises- varying resistance forwards, backwards, inwards, and outwards on the hip machine
TRX pull-ups to stabilize my back
Back press-ups (think cobra pose in yoga) to align my spine
Planks in one-minute intervals
Side planks with dumbbells for stability
Stabilizing exercises on an exercise ball
Boxing- punching and kicking
Shoulder strengthening with varying resistance on a machine
Resistance exercises with a band around my ankles
Squats using dumbbells, flattening my back first to avoid putting a strain on my spine
Balancing yoga postures
Other exercises recommended by my physical therapist.
I hope this post was helpful to all of you. My fitness journey has been a long and confusing one, but if I found a routine that works, anyone can. And remember, you don’t need a gym membership to stay in shape. You can look up safe exercises to suit your conditions on the Internet and use items around your house, such as towels and mats, as props. Additionally, physical therapy is not needed for everyone. If you are hurt, you can always visit an urgent care facility or medical office covered by your insurance for a consultation. 🙂
Thanks for reading! 🙂
Disclaimer: This post is based on my experience in health and fitness. All opinions are my own. I am not a professional and I recommend seeking additional resources if you are interested in improving your fitness. 🙂
Special thank you to my family and my physical therapy practice for helping me get better!
Facebook: Heavenlee Penny’s