Time and Motion

I’m away house/dog sitting again this week and, as happened last time, I realise that I have let my step-count dwindle since I stopped wearing my pedometer every day.  It is difficult when I am working hard to build up my business which is mainly desk-based.

I have always struggled with working hard at work and working to maintain my fitness; getting home (or leaving the home office) after a busy day leaves you reaching for the quick and easy choice for supper, which is not always the healthiest choice.  When dragging your tired body out of bed ready to start another busy day the last thing I want to do is jump on the cross-trainer, even though it is right by the bed (which I try and avoid looking at so as to not feel guilty).  You may have the time, but don’t have the energy or you may have the energy but not the time.

I have been keeping up with the riding, which at times has been the one thing that gets me going through the day: my “raison d’etre” when I wonder what all the hard work is for.  I’m really enjoying the ‘map my run’ app on my phone and using it to track the rides we go out on – especially useful for tracking the fitness of the horses too, giving top and average speeds and an accurate track of our mileage (then you realise that the dog has also been coming with us on our 7-8 mile rides).  Having kept up with the riding, which is good all over exercise, I’m not so unprepared for the dog walking I do when I’m dog-sitting but I do need to make sure that I do 20 minutes on the cross trainer every day.

I haven’t been doing my EAP exercises, although I have been trying to stick to the nutritional plan and last week I had lost another couple of inches although the weight hadn’t changed much.  Not sure what this week’s measurements are going to bring as I fell off the wheat wagon and am struggling to get back on the straight and narrow.  I always find it difficult with the change in the seasons, not that we’ve really had a summer to speak of, when the nights draw in.

Since receiving my diagnosis of CFS and getting set on the road to recovery, I have always known that I need to prioritise my fitness as equally important as my work because without maintaining my fitness, I will not have the stamina and energy to do my work.  I have always hoped to be able to work not-quite full time in order to devote some of the time that would normally be spent working to building and maintaining my fitness.  However, to get to that point working for yourself means that you have to work more than full time to initially build up your client base which adds an extra challenge.

I’m now 3-years on from my diagnosis of Hypothyroidism and CFS and sometimes can’t believe how far I’ve come: from someone who was not far off being bed-ridden to someone who would be considered ‘moderately active’ (or ‘Active’ when I keep up with my step-count).  I still have a way to go to get to the level of fitness I want but when I worry that I won’t be able to get there, I just have to look at what I have already achieved – and also at the determination that kept me going before my diagnosis – and I know I can do it.   I hope it doesn’t take me another three years to get there but if it does then it does and it’s still a great achievement.

Conducting the music of movement

Sometimes when I’m riding I feel like my brain is a conductor putting on a command performance; with my body as the orchestra and the horse as the soloist. Especially when you are trying to correct your position! Keeping the pelvic floor and abs engaged to reduce the anterior tilt of my pelvis, making sure my toes and knees don’t stray out (although they are a lot less likely to do so since I started the EAP), not rounding my shoulders, but not tensing up either. Then you have the horse/soloist to think of, speeding up the orchestra or slowing down the soloist depending on what you’re trying to achieve!

Fortunately I have my physio sitting on one shoulder with her hints and tips, and Matt from the EAP on the other with more (whether I’m mounted or not) to keep my position in check! Fortunately this does not leave any shoulder space for that pesky demon whispering things like “chocolate, sweets, etc” in the style of the child catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

I’ve not had too many cravings for stuff on the “Trot” list (other than milk, I miss milk) over and above a brief ‘mmmmm’ when walking past the bakery with the kitchen extractor fan pumping out the smells of a fresh bake! With this crummy weather I have missed “stodge” for it’s warm and comforting properties. I did relent and get a gluten free ciabatta roll to have with my soup but next I think I’m going to try making some cornbread.

Speaking of the EAP, I’m now at the end of week 2, day 4 and it is still going well, had a sneaky measure and it looks like week 2 will continue the trend of a not insignificant inches loss! Scales won’t arrive until early next week so weight is still an unknown but that can vary so much due to factors other than how much you weigh that I’m more inclined to concentrate on measurements.

Quick tip for “spiderman’s hold” (or 4-point kneeling with opposite arm/leg lift) if you have trouble with an anterior tilt to your pelvis like I do, is to place a ball in the small of your back to ensure that you don’t either rotate your body when lifting legs or tilt your pelvis and go into extension when lifting the legs. Basically, if the ball rolls off you’ve got movement you don’t want: sideways exit = lateral rotation, concentrate on your core & pelvic floor to stabilise; backwards exit = pelvic tilt, don’t lift your legs so high and concentrate on the quality of the move in totality rather than the range of movement in the leg lift alone. I use a prickle ball because they are a little bit more stable and give you a chance to correct before you loose it.

Disclaimer: I’m not a trained fitness instructor, this is just advice gained from my personal experience.

Upcoming challenges: I think I have broken my little toe so that may prove somewhat of a difficulty. Hopefully I have only bruised the bone but it is still rather ouchy. With all the riding and exercise today, I only went and whacked it on my “mobile office” wheelie bag whilst doing my day job. How boring!