Sunday, March 11, 2012

A New Wrinkle in the Recovery

What is the fastest you have ever gotten into shape?

This whole back/hip saga has been a VERY long adventure--especially for someone A) impatient, and B) seemingly kind of stupid.  I just don't understand "gradual" or that things might take longer than I think they would, so I have caused myself all sorts of set-backs.  Since being able to add the gym to my therapy in an effort to "rebuild," I have dealt with my frustration by exercising for a minimum of 60 minutes.  Because everything had to be "slow" and "gradual" (and because I had been reprimanded twice for doing the complete opposite), it made me feel better to do slow & gradual for long enough to feel like I might really be strengthening my hip.  Since for a while I could only do the pool, I have been wrinkly and itchy most of 2012 so far, but it seemed to help, and I have been able to add recumbent bike and elliptical, combining them to get to 60 minutes.  Then I added weights after that, and decided since I was doing this anyway, I should do a complete weight workout--not just for my leg.  If stretching and strength can prevent ONE problem, it must be able to prevent a bunch of them, right?  So, gym visits have crept to 2 - 2 and a half hours.  

Since the hip itself is still pretty fragile, it really just didn't occur to me that any of this was really making any changes yet.  I still can't do the treadmill, still can't walk on uneven ground, still have to be pretty gentle with impact.   So I didn't notice when I could do the elliptical a little bit faster.  I didn't think about it as muscles became more defined.  I am still in "recovery," so I just kept assuming that I was barely getting a workout--even in 2 hour gym visits.  It was all still "easy" stuff!  So I was actually genuinely surprised this week to find myself struggling most of the week with low blood sugar.  I do not have diabetes, but most people will experience feelings of shakiness and dizziness after strenuous exercise if they haven't eaten correctly or had frequent snacks, and I know this and have usually been on top of it when I have exercised regularly.  I just hadn't anticipated getting to that level so quickly and while I still feel like I'm doing therapy rather than exercising.  TWICE I have had to cut the weight lifting short because I was getting dizzy and was worried about driving home.  (Wouldn't you think I would have learned after the first time?)  Suddenly I'm trying to shake the habits I've obviously developed while on the pain pills that caused loss of appetite and do a complete 180-turn to the "small, frequent meal" program to try to cope with a drastic change in metabolism, and it's driving me crazy.  It's like suddenly having a small child around who is ALWAYS hungry, and mentally I just can't make the switch that fast.  Andy has even overheard me arguing with myself, saying "you can NOT be hungry already.  We just ate!"  I have been in much better shape at points in my life, but never have I gone from mostly inactive 60 days ago to pretty seriously fit now, and it's very confusing and actually annoying.  For the first time in my life, I think I really might hate food.  I did NOT believe that would ever happen.

1 comment:

Abby said...

My two-cents worth: You might be eating too many carbs (which can mess with your blood sugar, especially refined sugar) and not enough protein. Also, alternate weight-lifting days with rest days, to give your muscles a chance to rebuild. Not enough fluids may cause dizziness as well - stay hydrated. I find that although I have successfully completed PT for my back, I still have days when it feels fragile. Find a level of exercise that you can do for the long haul because you will need to keep at it FOREVER. Good luck!

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