I’m back from Haiti

I have been away from my blog and away from my comfort zone for a while. I’m back. I’m processing. I will be posting some of the stories over at my other blog, ChanDeereGreen – when I get some things sorted about applications to wellness and self-care of ADHD/Fibro/Insomnia/’allergies/detoxing, I’ll get something coherent written here. Pinky promise.


NTT: A retrospective

I’ve been doing stuff, and not blogging about it … bad blogger!  Bad! I don’t have a good excuse – just the regular one. I have AD/HD, and I got distracted. Lame, eh?

In two months, since I decided that it would finally be worth my while to start doing the work of purging toxins out of my life, I have so far managed to:

  • Join a CSA, which is now allowing me to eat organically raised local seasonal produce all summer long for about 2/3 what I would pay at the grocery
  • Find a local rancher who will supply my family’s needs for grass-fed/pastured meats
  • Commit to only buying wild-caught fish, mostly local from a fishmarket that I drive by every day (I’m so spoiled) but some of it is not local because I am not yet willing to give up salmon, and there is no wild-caught salmon on the east coast. So I buy what my grocer imports from Alaska.
  • Eliminate fabric softener, both liquid and dryer sheet type. I still love my dryer balls, and if I want a little more softness I spray the wet clothes with apple cider vinegar before I toss them in the dryer.
  • Got rid of the following home products and replaced them with super-easy, mostly cheap, mostly homemade alternatives (net effect = almost entirely eliminating artificial fragrances from my home):
    • Shampoo and conditioner
    • Skin creams and lotions
    • Bug spray
    • Dishwasher soap
    • All manner of cleaning sprays – window, kitchen, all-purpose
    • Sunscreen
  • Got rid of the Ambien XR, the most insidious and hardest to discard of all of the prescription meds I was taking. (I got rid of them all, actually, but the others were pretty easy so I didn’t blog about them – I couldn’t think of anything even remotely interesting to say.)
    So far, so good. I still sleep poorly some nights and really well other nights. The most effective strategies for good sleep I’ve found so far for me are:

    • Hot epsom salt baths before bed
    • Earthing
    • Keeping my sinuses clean – I finally got that Neti pot, so very awesome! When my allergies or any other irritation blocks full breath in my nose, I become a mouth-breather. For me, this means waking up in the middle of the night with a horrible taste and dryness in my mouth and desperately thirsty, and then waking up an hour later (if I go back to sleep at all) desperatly needing to pee.

Next up on my list of baby steps towards a non-toxic life:

  • Laundry soap – I’m using Seventh Generation now, and I really like it – no irritating fake fragrances, at least. But it’s a little expensive, and it still has some things in it that I prefer not to use if I can help it, like sodium lauryl sulfate and synthetic preservatives. I have been toying around with making one of the many recipes for laundry soap that are running about loose on Pinterest (I even got gung-ho ahead of myself and bought a few bars of Fels Naptha!), but they all seem to be a lot of work. I know me too well. I won’t do it if it isn’t easy. I think I’m going to try the soapnuts.
  • Dairy- I haven’t fully got that one sorted. I buy organic milk, and one grocer near me has begun carrying a little bit of organic cheese and grass-fed (Kerrygold) butter – but there are no dairy farms near me at all, much less grass-fed, so for milk, yogurt, and cheese it’s “USDA Organic” for whatever that’s worth, and always ultra-pasteurized. And I live in one of those states, where raw milk/cheese/butter is criminalized (unless literally I get my own goat. Sadly, that goes back to the “not easy, won’t do it” problem). I really haven’t figured this one out yet. Anyone have any great insight for me?

Do you take any specific actions to limit toxic or potentially toxic chemicals in your life?

Learning What We Already Know

Disclaimer: I am not a trained, licensed, or certified health practitioner of any sort. I am a pathologically curious research freak, a willing human guinea pig, and a chronic pain/ADHD/insomnia patient looking for alternatives to treatments that have not been effective for me. This blog represents my own musings, literature review findings, and experience. It does not in any way represent or replace advice from a qualified and trusted professional.

Fibromyalgia is a very new diagnosis – less than 25 years old. It is a clear, well-defined syndrome with very specific symptoms, often including: widespread chronic pain, insomnia, chronic dry eyes, irritable bowel symptoms, painful menstruation in women, numbness and tingling in hands and feet, and concentration/memory problems cutely referred to as “fibro fog”. 

One of the most distinctive symptoms/diagnostic criteria for  fibromyalgia is heightened sensitivity/pain in several of 18 specific “trigger points” or “tender points” as shown below.

Trigger Points

Fibromyalgia Trigger (or Tender) Points – image source: WebMD Fibromyalgia Health Center

I have used certain acupressure points successfully in the past, and even worked with an acupuncturist once (that was a negative experience, but in my opinion it did not reflect poorly on acupuncture or acupressure, only on that one practioner.) My husband has had successful and positive experience with acupuncture. So I looked around a little last week to learn more about various acupressure options for treating insomnia, pain, stiffness, fatigue, irritability, and headaches. Funny. Not funny “ha ha” – funny “gee, wonder how I missed that?”

The way that the graphic of the trigger points was created made it difficult for me to be precise about the points at the base of the skull, and at least four trigger points do not appear to correspond directly.

Still, though … I am wondering more and more if way too much of the wisdom that the Lord has made available to us has been pushed aside and labeled “New Age” or “snake oil” or “quackery” (funny terms to apply to healing arts that predate modern medicine by many centuries).

Perchance to dream …

I am divorcing Ambien XR.

It has been almost a week – I haven’t taken one since the night of April 29. Lots of random little reasons, the simplest being that I no longer trust the doctor who promised me that they are not addictive, the mass quantities of pills on my bathroom counter don’t help me feel good about my health, and they are expensive even with good insurance.

I had to fight the temptation to immediately try every natural or gentle sleep remedy I’ve ever known all at once. Honestly, after years of insomnia and chronic sleep deprivation, I was terrified of going more than a night or two without some kind of guarantee of at least 3 or 4 hours. But in the interest of knowing what really works for me and what doesn’t, I pretty much forced myself to try one thing at a time. Except the earthing – I have already been spending every possible second outside and barefoot for over a month, and I already saw some positive impacts on the quality of my sleep even with the Ambiens, so I didn’t stop doing that.

Here’s what we have so far:

April 30 – nothing in particular, just the earthing. Slept pretty well, but had to pee @ 1 a.m. and then noticed I was starting to get a sinus headache. I may have forgotten to rinse my sinuses before bed. Went back to bed and was able to meditate/pray calmly until falling asleep about an hour later. Felt groggy with definite afternoon slump.

May 1 – lower back was very painful, did some light stretching and yoga poses, rubbed lower back with arnica gel. Tossed and turned, very uncomfortable most of the night. Exhausted next day.

May 2 – had a cup of Bedtime tea with raw honey. Fell asleep quickly, woke around midnight drenched in sweat even though the house was comfortably cool. Took a shower, slept well the rest of the night. Was functional and alert most of the next day, still with afternoon slump.

May 3 – took a hot Epsom salt bath before bedtime. Slept like a baby, woke up about half an hour before alarm went off, felt great.

May 4 – didn’t do much of anything special, meant to do the Epsom salt bath thing again but the hubs shot a wedding last night. It was the daughter of a good friend so I went too – by the time we got home I was lazy, plus the hubs’ back and toe hurt a lot (always do after a wedding shoot, it’s quite a workout) so I gave him an arnica massage, then rubbed a little of it on my back and passed out. Slept great until the stoopid cat walked on my head about 4:30 a.m. Forced myself back to sleep (bad idea) and woke with a headache, I may not have had enough water yesterday.

I think my plan for now is to stick with the Earthing, Epsom, and Arnica combo for a week or so and see what kind of sleep pattern I settle into before trying anything else as needed. Other things that I will add into the regime, as needed:

What do you use and recommend?

Bright light. Bright light! Fluorescent and xenon lights make me crazy

Here’s an interesting question to ask yourself.

Where do I have the most stress, or feel the most unsettled? Not when. Where? Stressful times and events are much more complex. But stressful places … think about it.

For me it worked out to be:

  • Big-box stores and groceries – especially Wal-Mart, probably because that’s the one I used to spend the most time in
  • My office – despite the fact that I love my job
  • My kidlets’ schools, back when I used to be on the hook for parent-teacher conferences on a terribly frequent basis
  • Doctor/dentist offices, hospitals, and waiting rooms (I have had seasons of life marked by WAY TOO MUCH time in these places)
  • College classrooms  (in retrospect, my poor freshman stats professor probably did not deserve that harsh critique)
  • In front of my computer screen, if I’m here for more than about half an hour at a time
  • Driving at night when another driver approaches me bearing Xenon headlamps. (RANT ALERT: I hate hate hate hate hate those horrible blue lights. Despise! Seriously – wonderful that you [the driver of the xenocar, not you personally dear reader-friend] can see further, but how in the name of my great-aunt Irma can it be a “safety feature” to blind every other driver on the road?????

    Insanely bright xenon headlamps

    I don't *know* that these are a tool of Satan's minions designed to increase my desire to commit murder. But I believe that they might be exactly that. In case they are, I need to build my prayer defenses ... because they are working.

Well, a couple of years ago a faculty member at my school saw another education specialist about his dyslexia and other reading disabilities, and she showed him how to use colored transparencies to dramatically improve his reading. By *dramatically* I mean – this man had never even considered higher education before and is now pursuing a bachelor’s degree, after a few consultations with a specialist just a couple of months ago. Furthermore, he enthusiastically told me “I am reading… and LIKING it!”

As an EdSpec myself, how could I help but be intrigued with something so effective recommended by a respected colleague?

So I did a little digging and found references to “The Irlen Method” based on a contention by author/therapist Helen Irlen. Her work has been dismissed by some as sheer quackery, but my friend’s success was so dramatic that I had to at least check it out. So I ordered, received, and read this:

The Irlen Revolution: A Guide to Changing Your Perception and Your Life

The next morning, after yet another sleepless night, I got up and started working on my homework. I immediately (as usual) became irritable, distracted, edgy. At first I assumed it was the subject matter – my final exam for Conflict Resolution was a very long paper on the Virginia Tech mass murder, hardly a cheery topic. In my usual AD/HD manner, I was reading some of the reference material, writing a sentence or two, checking my Facebook, playing a FitBrains game, reading a little more, maybe writing a little more, checking my Twitter feed … well, that is what I almost always do at homework time. And work time period, come to think of it.

As it happened, I was reading/gaming/surfing/ostensibly “working” under CFL lights in my kitchen, and my laptop had the screen brightness set as high as it would go. This background information will be relevant soon, trust me.

When my computer froze up (because I had about 15 windows and tabs open) I needed a new distraction while he re-booted. So I picked up the Irlen book, and opened it to the “Attention Disorders” chapter. I didn’t read, I skimmed – but it did not take long to get the gist of Irlen’s theory. In a teensy weensy nutshell, here it is.

Some people are extra-sensitive to harsh lighting.

So for those people (and, apparently, for me :)) going to school under bright harsh fluorescent lights, or sitting in waiting rooms (fluorescents), or shopping at mega-stores (yep), or driving at night past people who have those HORRIBLE headlights, or reading things that are printed in black ink on bright white paper in bright light = overstimulating, distracting, and crazy-making.

One of the main criticisms of the AD/HD diagnosis is that it is becoming more and more common as the years go on. Twenty years ago it was very rare. Fifty years ago it was unheard of. Detractors have used this argument to contend that there is “no such thing” as AD/HD: discipline in schools is just getting worse or teachers are getting lazier and can’t handle normally active children or whatever. I know these arguments. I have MADE these arguments, which is a huge part of why my baby boy was not diagnosed until after he was required to repeat a grade (bad mommy!)

But what if the dramatic increase has more to do with how many schools and other public buildings have converted to cheaper but harsher fluorescent lighting in the past twenty years? The number of children who actually, no kidding, have AD/HD could have remained perfectly stable – but the number who are extra-jumpy and twitchy from the lighting would have increased dramatically, would it not? And now we are all being encouraged to switch over to compact fluorescent bulbs in our homes. I smell trouble!

I also recalled something my own mother said to me about eight years ago when she visited here in NC. We had a need to purchase some things, so I drove to Wal-Mart. It was a gray, dreary sort of a coastal day, so neither of us was wearing shades, but as we walked in the front door, she put her sunglasses on.  She explained to me that because of her (self-diagnosed) ADD, Wal-Mart made her crazy – but if she wore sunglasses to cut down on the visual stimulation, she could handle it.

So for the past few years, I have diligently:

  • worn polarized prescription sunglasses when driving during the day
  • kept the blinds open for maximum daylight, and my overhead lighting OFF, when in my office at work
  • used natural daylight to the maximum extent feasible at home
  • replaced all of my CFL bulbs with regular or LED bulbs as they burn out, and rotated most of the hold-out CFLs into the outside, garage, and porch fixtures
  • used a colored overlay when I have to read black type printed on white paper in bright lighting
  • Set the screen brightness as low as my computers will allow
For my fellow research addicts, here’s a fun quote: “Exposure to cool-white fluorescent lights appears to affect learning ability in children, and research suggests that it may also be linked with the incidence of attention-deficit disorder and hyperactivity. One study showed that there was a 32-percent reduction in hyperactive behavior in children when fluorescent lighting was removed from their classrooms.” (Barnard, Pellow, & Solomon, 2011).

Do you react to lighting? How do you deal with it? Does anybody have any suggestions for dealing with the xenon road demons (besides the obvious but slightly scary Corey Hart solution)?

  1. Barnard, C. N., Pellow, J., & Solomon, E. M. (2011). Complementary and alternative medical therapies for children with Attention-Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).  Alternative Medicine Review 16(4), 323.
  2. Weston, P. (2008, June 22). Secrets of a stress-free classroom: Mood music to calm hyperactive pupils. The Sunday Mail, p. 38.
  3. Veitch, J. A. (2001). A critical examination of perceptual and cognitive effects attributed to full-spectrum fluorescent lighting. Ergonomics 44(3), 255.

Terrain and the Trifecta: Sleep, Pain, Focus

Which came first, the chicken or the egg or the chicken feed?

My “personal” trifecta of insomnia, fibromyalgia, and attention deficit disorder is not uncommon. Why are these three conditions (and a host of others including depression, chronic fatigue, and anxiety) so frequently comorbid? Theories abound:

  • Chronic sleep deprivation/REM sleep deprivation may cause executive processing malfunctions and contribute to increased perception of pain by the central nervous system.
  • The stress and chronically elevated cortisol of constant pain may disrupt sleep cycles and brain functioning.
  • The stress of living with attention deficit disorder, trying to make the classic ADDer “big picture, non-linear” thought patterns function and fit in a largely detail-oriented and linear thinking society could disrupt sleep and increase sensitivity to pain.

I’m oversimplifying. My point is that I don’t personally care which caused what. I have extensive symptoms of all three imbalances, and the more effectively I address all three the more I can reasonably expect to function on a high physical/emotional/intellectual level, serve God more fully, and enjoy my life.

I’m reading this book right now:

Joel Salatin

The Sheer Ecstasy of Being a Lunatic Farmer, by Joel Salatin.

 One chapter starts off with an anecdote about Louis Pasteur and his contemporary,  Antoine Bechamp, (who Salatin and some web stories refer to as Michael Beauchamp). The Reader’s Digest ultracondensed version of the point: Pasteur advocated a paradigm in which germs are The Bad Guys, and we need to kill them before they kill us. Hence, pasteurized milk, prophylactic antibiotics, and Lysol. In other words, we are VICTIMS of the Evil Germs and must be constantly defended from them.

File promotional image from movie "Osmosis Jones"

Osmosis Jones

The contrast presented by Salatin is to Bechamp’s biological terrain model. In an itty-bitty nutshell, the concept is this: bacteria, viruses, protozoa and a variety of other germies (his term for them is microzyma, but I prefer “germies”) are in everything. Everything. Living or dead. How the germies behave and what effect they have depends on the condition of the terrain – the health of the cells of the body/object that they are living in. Germies act differently in a diseased, poorly nourished, damaged terrain than in a healthy one. Actually his theory is much more complex than that, but I am trying to learn to be concise.

Please, before I am too broadly misunderstood, I am hugely grateful that medical professionals sterilize surgical instruments and that our society expects us to wash our hands after visiting the bathroom. I am not trying to suggest that we should deliberately wallow in filth or introduce dirt or bacteria into open wounds. I’ve had plenty of unpleasant infections! In fact, hubs and I watched the Season 9 episode of M*A*S*H last night where the 4077 crew pours a concrete floor in the O.R. to prevent infections that were contaminating surgical patients via the old wooden floor. Cleanliness. I’m for it.

Victim mentality “I fear germies and what they can do to me” versus wellness mentality “I will take responsibility for my body and strenthen it so that disease and the germie behaviors that accompany it will not be at home in me.” Wow. Tough choice. I’m not even being sarcastic, there. (For once!) It is tough. It is easy, comfortable, and familiar to be a victim, to feel like attacks of sniffles, stomach blechies, or the flu just sneak up and attack us. And honestly, I don’t think it’s healthy or productive to blame myself when I get sick. In fact, I think it’s a very bad idea! But my body deserves balance and health, and I intend to take a terrain model approach to not only germie-based diseases like colds and flu, but also to my magic Big Three.

Speaking of sleeping:

I really really really want to stop taking Ambien XR. I am afraid I may be dependent on it – I’ve tried to skip it a few times over the past year and the results are not good. I found this recipe at Whole Lifestyle Nutrition – it makes some pretty dramatic claims, but I’m a lot more open-minded now than I was a year ago.

  1. Underlying sleep problems linked to attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in children. Science Daily, Mar 2009
  2. ADHD, sleep, and sleep disorders. “What We Know” information sheet from National Resource Center on ADHD, 2007
  3. The fibromyalgia/ADHD connection. The Fibromyalgia Research blog, citing study by Rochester Center for Behavioral Medicine, Feb 2007
  4. Management of insomnia in patients with chronic pain conditions. Steifel, F. & Stagno, D., University Hospital Lausanne, Switzerland, 2004. 

Rearview mirror – pomodoro, dryer balls, earthing

Well, it’s been just over a month since I started really paying attention to how the little things in my life “add up” to my overall wellness and functionality. I skimmed back over some of my earlier posts and realized that it is time to give an update.

Using the pomodoro technique to stay on track and accomplish tasks is astonishingly effective. It is also incredibly difficult. Every time I set that timer and buckle down to a task it is a brand-new exercise in self-discipline. I am not at all reliable or consistent about using it. However, when I do use it I am consistently blown away by how well it works.

I still love my wool dryer balls, and I still haven’t been even remotely tempted to buy dryer sheets or liquid fabric softener since the day I got them. Raw Organics now has the brand-spankin’ new website up and running, so go and have a fun look around!

I promised that if earthing had a positive impact on my insomnia, I would tell you so. It did. I am. Wow. I have not bought an earthing sheet or pad yet (although I probably will when next winter looms) – but I have managed to take off my shoes and spend time outdoors touching the earth for at least 15 minutes every day except two last week while I was on business travel. Some days much more than 15 minutes. I have not slept this well this many nights in a row since … gee, I don’t remember. Before my 25-year-old eldest son was born, maybe? Or Navy boot camp in 1985? And on the days that I spent shod and indoors, I woke up in the middle of the night for no apparent reason.

Yes, I have been exercising more, eating better, and trying to reduce my stress. I am sure that all of those factors have a great deal of impact on my sleep. But I have worked out, eaten well, and (sort of at least tried to) cut stress before, and the sleep impacts have never been this dramatic. Shout out to Robin at Thank Your Body for pointing me in this inexplicable yet clearly positive direction!

Slow down

Slow down, ya move too fast
Ya got to make the morning last, just
Kickin’ down the cobblestones
Lookin’ for fun and feelin groovy
~ Simon and Garfunkel, 59th Street Bridge Song

Life in the fast lane
Sure to make you lose your mind
~ the Eagles, Life in the Fast Lane

I don’t know if it’s ADHD, or being city-born and raised, or just the way I am, but it feels normal to me to go ninety miles an hour with my hair on fire, to do forty things at once. Moving slowly and consciously feels unnatural and odd. And the whole concept of baby steps just blows my mind.
I am trying to clean up my life. I stopped using fabric softener. Then I stopped buying personal care products with sulfates and sulfides and  triclosans, and I joined a CSA, and I found a local supplier of grass-fed beef and other sustainable meats. I got a neti pot and stopped taking antihistamines. I quit taking ADHD meds because for me the side effects outweighed the benefits.
It’s been a month.
Today I caught myself worrying, right before worship time started in church, about when I will find the time to start baking my own sprouted grain breads and how I will make my own yogurt and cheese without a local raw milk supplier.
Julia, who I just found at Throwback Road, has already pointed out that it is not a sprint. I have been dependent on trucked-in supplies and chemical skin care and cleaning products and municipal water supplies for four decades. I don’t have to have every single aspect of wellness and independence figured out this week. I mean, the rushing and the worrying and the stress are a huge part of what got me in this health mess to begin with. Eliminating the environmental and processed food toxins is part of the battle. Cutting back on my own self-induced cortisol addiction is just as important.
Breathe, Chan. Just breathe.

Non-Toxic Tuesday: Pain Management

Fibromyalgia HURTS. By definition, actually.

The first 18 years or so that I complained to doctors about chronic pain, the chronic answer was NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). For at least 13 years of that time, advised by doctors who I didn’t think I had any reason to mistrust, I took 800 mg. of ibuprofen daily (1, 2). Until I stopped taking the advice of every doctor I met blindly and started doing my own research, I had no idea why my stomach was always upset and my blood pressure was steadily climbing. NSAIDs didn’t even help me that much. The most pain relief I ever got from an NSAID was from a year on VIOXX, right before it was pulled off the market by its manufacturer for possible links to heart failure.

I was one of the lucky ones. I never actually developed an ulcer or other serious long-term stomach or heart problems. At least, as far as I know, so far! I have avoided NSAIDs for about five years now, and my stomach symptoms and blood pressure have gone back to my pre-pain reliever “normal.”

Acetaminophen (Tylenol) worked better for me for pain relief.  But it is not safe for long term use (3).

Long-term, I am optimistic that removing as many toxins as feasible from my daily exposure and eating truly nourishing foods will allow my body to heal itself as God intended. In the meantime, my new pain management strategy:

  • Reduce the total amount of time I spend in high heels. This one is really hard for me. I am an unashamed shoeholic and I work in a business-dress office. But I’m killing my lower back and knees by wearing them every day. Today I brought my 4″ wedges with me, and put them on when I went down to the classroom, but I wore flats most of the day. As soon as I get home I will be barefoot all evening!
  • Increase my exercise. Also really difficult for me, but 100% essential. Exercise is absolutely non-negotiable in managing ADHD, fibro, and insomnia. I know this. I still don’t do it as much as I should, because frankly it sucks to try to work out, even to go for a walk, when I’m in pain. I’m not a big fan of delayed gratification. “It hurts now, but you will feel much better later” really doesn’t count for that much with me. But I’m taking babysteps, gradually adding more movement into my life.
  • Posture posture posture. I know this! I do know this one – I mean, years of ballet, yoga, martial arts … my back should be in perfect balance. But it isn’t. Because when I sit at a desk, I get lazy. Last week I brought in a physio ball to sit on. It is helping, but I still have a lot of work to do.
  • Taking my shoes off. I’m reading Barefoot Running Step by Step, by Barefoot Ken Bob Saxton and Roy Wallack. I’m not actually running yet, just working through some of the drills, but one of Barefoot Ken Bob’s main points is that the soles of your feet are a source of information for your whole body. The less I wear shoes, the more I am aware of how I am standing/walking/twisting/climbing whatever, and exactly what effect different movements have on my pain.
  • Ditching my sunscreen. Did I just hear a collective gasp of shock? I really mean this, my friends. Lori at Laurel of Leaves explains the impact of sunscreen from a natural health perspective better than I could, and Robin at Thank Your Body just wrote this entry (very well documented and footnoted!) on the current state of skin cancer research and the links to sunscreens. Besides the cancer link, sunlight is simply the best and most easily assimilated form of Vitamin D, strongly implicated in fibro management (4). If I’m out for a long time and think I might burn, I use Badger sunscreen (no PABA, no oxybenzone, no other things I can’t pronounce) or wear a lightweight longsleeved shirt and broad-brim straw hat.

What works to reduce or alleviate your pain?

  1. National Library of Medicine listing for ibuprofen.
  2. Cardiovascular side effects of NSAID painkillers. Harvard Health Publications, Harvard Medical School, Oct 2006
  3. Long-term use of acetaminophen, aspirin, and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and risk of hematologic malignancies. National Center for Biotechnology Information, May 2011
  4. The relationship between vitamin D deficiency and fibromyalgia syndrome in women. National Center for Biotechnology Information, Sep 2011

You got to move it move it …


My exercise program is – well, non-existent, not to put too fine a point on it. There have been times in my life that I have moved a great deal. I started ballet lessons when I was very little (I don’t remember exactly), and continued in them until I was 7 (when we moved away from Phoenix). I loved ballet. I tried to go back to it in high school, but the only ballet teacher in the tiny town we lived it was not the right teacher for me.

In boot camp, the mandatory program was running, sit-ups, and push-ups. I could do sit-ups and push-ups until the cows came home, but running was my Waterloo. I had a great two years of Tae Kwon Do when I lived in Florida, but again, when I moved I didn’t stay with it.

So now, I’ve got a fabulous collection of yoga and Pilates DVDs (which I actually use – uh – occasionally), a hyperactive dog who needs to be walked every day, and a tendency to whine and make excuses on moderate-to-high pain days. Which leads to more moderate-to-high pain days.

Robin at Thank Your Body is running an April 30 Day Challenge. I do love a challenge. So I signed on for the beginner “Move More” challenge, committing to:

  • Try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise 4 days a week.
  •  Mix up your workouts to include some cardio, some strength training, and some range of motion (stretching/flexibility) into your week.
  • Avoid sitting for more than an hour without taking a quick little movement break.
  • Listen to your body and avoid extremes.

So far, I’ve managed to take a movement (walking or stretching or both) break every hour from my desk, and I walked my dog on Sunday. Don’t worry – she’s not getting neglected, the hubs walks her on days I don’t! The problem is with me.

Starting today, I also brought a physio ball to work with me to replace my desk chair. I’m not ditching the chair yet – my core is pretty strong, but I’m not sure it’s up to 8 hours a day of this. I’ve been switching them out – so far, out of roughly 4 hours at my desk, I think I’ve been on the ball a good 2 1/2.  I really want to see what impact this has on my perpetual lower back pain, which has been really bad this week.

I have also spent at least 45 minutes out in my garden on both Monday and Wednesday.

How do you keep your body moving?