Archive for December 2nd, 2012

My Poor Old Body

on December 2, 2012 in Misc 15 Comments »

You know what?  We writers sit way too much.  Especially when we also have day jobs where we sit all day at desks.

Too much sitting isn’t good for you.  It lowers your metabolism. It can lead to diabetes and other medical problems.  And in my case, it has shortened certain muscles that hurt like hell to stretch out again.

Remember my left leg and hip problem?

I told you a while back about how they were hurting.  Besides too much sedentary work, what hasn’t helped me is being a fencer, which means moving and lunging only on my right side.  Then there’s the very slight (3/8”) differential in my leg lengths.  So maybe it shouldn’t have been a big surprise last August when my left hip started giving me screaming aches and pains.

Okay, maybe I wasn’t screaming.  But I’m a writer and like to be dramatic.

Well, I ran through my insurance-allotted 12 physical therapy sessions pretty quickly, and some nutritional supplements also helped.  Now I’ve discovered that I only feel better not only when I keep up my therapy exercises but when I get into certain stretching positions and hold them … and hold them… and hold them….

Talk about a real pain.

See, the therapists were having me do a couple stretches that last 45 seconds, switch legs, then do again.  But for my body this is too wuss.  Instead I’ve found I should get into several different very uncomfortable positions and stay in them for three to six minutes each.  Then repeat that night.  And do other stretches during the day.

The funny thing is, I’ve always done stretches and have long considered myself to be fairly limber.  But it turns out I’ve only been taking care of this big muscles over here and that one over there, and meanwhile these little funky muscles I never knew about were shrinking like wool in hot water (aggravated by sitting and normal aging), and since everything in my body is connected, this shrinking muscle pulled on that one, which tightened up a tendon, which pulled another muscle out of whack… and so forth.

One small bonus:  I can only do these stretches while watching TV, and that gives me an excuse to watch some shows.  This is because I’m literally in a position where I can’t do much anything else because I’m on my floor mat in various pretzel positions and gripping certain body parts.

Anyway, I really am lucky.  I mean, it’s just aches and pains.  I know so many people – including teenagers – who’ve had knee replacements, or have blown out their knees skiing, or needed shoulder surgery, or elbow surgery, or their backs have hurt them for years.  One older guy in fencing has a bad back but he can still whup the tar out of me in every bout.

So let my sorry, sore body be a lesson to you.  As you sit at your computers and write your novels, get up frequently and MOVE and STRETCH and RUN AROUND THE HOUSE and whatever else feels good.  Your body will love you for it.