Exactly four weeks ago I started a big adventure. After an extended period of time struggling with permanent and inoperable damage on my left foot, I've gotten severely out of shape - being physically fit has proven to be important for both body and mind. So it was about time I started working out again. Here's my story - including a bit of background how I got here - of my first month of trial and error.
A short intro for the SportsTalkSocial community
At the end of 2015 I went on a sabbatical, which for me meant a 9-month travel adventure through Russia, Mongolia, South-East Asia, which was abruptly broken off because I got a diagnosis that 'something was really wrong' with my left foot.
Back home the first diagnosis appeared to be wrong - not really a relief, because the second diagnosis appeared to be just as bad. A broken fragment in my left foot that is inoperable would be stuck in there for ever and ever, scraping cartilage from other bones in that same foot. Yes, I have a pointy bone sticking out scraping away other bone.
Bone pain is probably one of the worst things. It freaking hurts whenever I walk, and it hurts even more once I finally sit down and the foot starts to 'relax'.
The only thing that can be done for now is preventing my foot from moving too much, which doesn't mean not walking per say, but I do have adapted shoes that make it hard to roll on the foot, so I don't irritate the pointy scraping bone too much.
Although I never have been super sporty, I enjoyed doing 1-1,5 hour walks about 2-3 times a week for a few years. It kept me fit and lean and mentally healthy. Now I can't, and I still miss it. Also: I've had to recover for 1-2 years (the 'progress' was so slow I really can't recall when it got better, because it only ever got better in terms of 100 steps more a week maybe), and after all that recovery I still couldn't walk daily.
So needless to say: 3 years later I'm not the fittest person in the world. I gained weight, got in a passive and uninspired mental state, and my heart-rate hasn't been challenged for way too long. And that has to change.
But how and where to start?
I started with some minor stuff: personal training (too expensive for an extended period of time) and then a very slow and controlled form of strength-training that I've been doing for the last 1,5 years.
Strength-training is awesome. I mean it. It strengthened my legs, back (!) and core so much that sometimes when I walk on uneven underground, stairs or even a rare adventure on moderate rock undergrounds, I can compensate the strain that puts on my foot with all those muscles.
So I'm terribly grateful for my 1,5 years of strength-training - but it gets boring.
Also: I need CARDIO! Feeling the longs fill with air, the heart-rate go up - it's important, plus has amazing health benefits for both body and mind.
Netflix for Sports
To mix it up and really get to know my limits (and possibilities!) I decided to give one of those 'Netflix for Sports' a try. This is getting more and more popular in bigger cities in some countries. In my city you have ClassPass and Onefit, and I chose the latter. What it offers is: unlimited classes per month, with the only limitation being that you can visit every location 'just' 4 times a week.
What this practically means: on every location available have a favourite class and you're able to visit it every week. If you want to do one form of sports twice a week you'll have to find two locations offering it though, as twice a week would mean 8 times at one location which is currently not possible.
So although this is a bit of a puzzle in terms of scheduling and finding out locations, it does provide me with a huge palette of stuff to choose from.
I decided to start quite safely and not go for full-on cardio immediately. After sitting a lot of the time for many many months (years!) I figured it was time to let my body get used to moving more. Also, for you, the reader, it might be hard to understand, but: the fact that I have to travel to these locations alone means that I challenge myself a lot already. All these tiny side-effects and frustrations deserve a separate blog, but for now it's sufficient to say that if I didn't do the sports and only the traveling to the sports I'd already double my steps per week, probably.
Here's my schedule of the first month of my Netflix for Sports subscription:
Week 1: Bikram Yoga
Week 2: Yin Yoga, Pilates
Week 3: Pilates, Swimming, Pilates
Week 4: Pilates, Pilates
I wrote an intense blog about my first Bikram Yoga class, in hindsight I maybe shouldn't have started with that as it does feel more advanced than I though it would be, but I'm still glad I did. It kicked of the subscription in an intense way and maybe even helped me appreciate the other classes more.
Pilates appears to be my absolute favourite. This is a way of moving that fits my personal fitness level, as I have a strong core but I'm not flexible, Pilates will help me strengthen my core even more while also adding to the flexibilty levels. It really focuses on getting a straighter spine, more movement in the back, neck and hips, and posture, all the while also challenging muscles in core, glutes, legs. Most of the exercises are done while laying on your back, stomach or side, so I don't need to use the foot too much!
Pain levels afterwards: Are reasonable but very noticeable. For now I am guessing this has to do with all the 'flexing' and 'pointing' that has to be done with the foot, because holding your legs up in the air with a pointed or flexed foot will use different muscles for each configuration. I'm not yet sure if the pain is okay and is something my feet will get used to, or if this is a part of the training I'll have to adjust.
I figured yoga would be amazing and I picked a kinder form of yoga after my first brutal Bikram Yoga class. This was nice, all positions were seated or flat on the back and you can support your postures with foam blocks or even rolled up towels during this form of yoga. It was maybe a bit too kind for my taste, and I'll go find another Yin Yoga class to see how much difference the teacher makes in the way I experience Yin Yoga. It was a nice lovely class of stretching and relaxing and breathing though, and it's great for relaxation while working deeper layers of muscles. But since I'm more looking for fitness right now I noticed I enjoy the Pilates class more.
Pain levels afterwards: Zero. This was just a kind way of moving and for resulting in no pain levels at all trying out Yin Yoga was a big win.
Swimming is my love-hate sport activity, as I love it, but I prefer swimming in outside waters where I can fight a little with nature and also don't have so many people surrounding me. The closest indoor pool from where I live can be quite busy so for now I'm mostly swimming as a way to find out which hours aren't too busy so I can freely swim at my own pace.
Pain levels afterwards: more than I thought. I always forget how much cold triggers my pain levels. And swimming water is cold enough to trigger my feet. With that cold even moving the legs puts pressure on the foot which resulted in some 'pain shocks'. Maybe I should warm up more and specifically the feet before jumping into the water? I'll do some more trial and error in the next few weeks.
Damn, here I am. That's a long post.
I didn't plan for it to being so long, but once I started writing, which I wanted to do anyway, I decided it was a good way to introduce myself on a new Tribe on Steem. I've looked around on SportsTalkSocial and I believe my content is not at all the average content over there, but hell, I believe sports can achieve many forms of accomplishments. While mine are mostly breaking down mental barriers and will show slow progress without any cool and epic footage, pictures or personal records to share, I believe sports is mostly about achieving personal goals, and I'm going to take you all with me in my personal goal of getting fit with limited mobility.