To cut a long and very painful story short, I pulled/hurt a muscle in my lower back somewhere in between multitasking and greeting my fiancé.
After squirming around like a worm, crying from pain, fiancé collecting Tramadol from the hospital 06:00 the next morning – in minus 15°C weather – and a home visit from the doctor, I was told that my injury is quite normal and that it happens to almost everyone. It’s simply a matter of moving, at the wrong time, in the wrong way.
To avoid injuries like this in the future, I’ve taken it upon myself to start looking after my body now more than ever and I’m going to share my new journey with you. Better late than never as they say.
It’s important to note, that I’m no expert. I’m sharing my experience to hopefully help someone else like so many have helped me. If you’re looking for a fresh and very honest take on fitness, you’re in the right place.
Better late than never
As much as I like the idea of staying forever young, the reality is I won’t. Going into my 30’s I’ve realized the importance and benefits of healthy eating and staying physically strong. Fortunately, I live in an amazing country where I can walk and cycle around safely (I know this isn’t always possible). My suggestion for rainy days, safety and every other day go-to is a combination of yoga and pilates – it’s what I call, Yogalates.
My Personal Fitness Status
I’m definitely and in no way an athlete or a professional in the fitness industry. I’m an ordinary person who has a love-hate relationship with her curves, is what “the industry” calls bootilicious or curvaceous and in no way perfect. I look ridiculous when I run and sometimes excessively pant for air after climbing a single flight of stairs.
Getting myself into a daily-exercise-routine did take some time getting used to. It was only after really persevering and a lot of patience that I now look forward to 20 – 45 minutes of Yogalates every morning. It plays a big role in starting my day.
If you’re new to exercising (again, like me) then it’s very important to remind ourselves that we are trying – no matter how ridiculous or frustrating it is at first. Honestly, I started small – but that was already a start. It wasn’t long and I noticed a difference in my body and even better, my mood.
Let’s get this out of the way:
- you’re not going to be as flexible as the instructor
- some of the exercises will be impossible
- you’ll not only shed a lot of sweat, but tears too
Do only what you can!
DON’T push yourself into doing something if you’re struggling. It’ll only demotivate you and/or you could seriously hurt yourself. The goal is to continuously build a positive and long-lasting relationship with good old Mr. Exercise.
Be patient and in time, your body will feel strong again.
I got started by downloading a fitness app. There are so many available.
Currently, I’m using Lotus as my exercise guide. They offer free and paid for classes varying from the Fundamentals, Toning, Fat Burn, Energy Booster, Woman and Sport Performance classes.
Again, do only what you can – so if that means planking for 3 instead of 10 seconds on day one, then that’s perfectly okay. Day two you’ll add a few more seconds, day three another 5 and so on. Make sure to watch this video by Yoga with Adriene for the fundamentals (I love her workouts). Eventually, you’ll have your own routines.
- control your breathing
- don’t lock your knees
- warm up properly
Here is one set I specifically love doing, especially for lower back pain. Again, first learn from the professionals. Then, when you have a better understanding of how-to, give my Yogalates set a try.
On your mark, get set, go!
01 – Mountain
- In a standing position, bring your feet together – parallel – close or hip-width apart
- Spread your toes wide and balance weight evenly through each foot
- Stand up straight – no leaning
- Pull kneecaps up
- Squeeze thighs and tuck tailbone under
- Legs straight with a slight bend in the knees – do not lock
Benefit: improves posture
02 – Standing Backbend
- Still standing in mountain pose, knees slightly bent
- Slowly lean backward
- In a slow half circle motion and keeping arms straight, lift arms forward and over to the back – only as far as you can go
Benefits: open front of the body and strengthen respiratory & cardiovascular systems
03 – Mountain
- From standing backbend pose, bring arms back over and back into standing position.
04 – Forward Fold Pose
- From Mountain pose, keep back straight and fold forward
- Bend knees to help bring your palms flat to the floor – alternatively, rest on your fingertips
- You’ll feel your spine stretch
- Bend and straighten knees slowly repeatedly (in walking motion) to help stretch into the pose
Benefits: lengthens the spine, stretches the backs of the legs and back muscles.
05 – Half Forward Fold Pose
- Keep legs strong, palms flat on the ground (shoulder width apart) and fingers spread
- Walk hands forward – underneath shoulders
Benefits: Strengthens the lower back and stomach muscles while lengthening the spine.
06 – Downward Facing Dog
- Keeping palms flat on the ground (shoulder width apart) and fingers spread, walk arms forward
- Press heels into the floor – you’ll feel a bit of stretching in your back legs
- Relax your neck and let your head hang
Benefits: Stretches back, opens the chest, and strengthens upper arms.
07 – Plank Pose
- First, take a deep breath
- Step feet back into a push-up position
- Keep palms flat and fingers spread
- Press into palms – keep arms straight
- Head forward
- Remember to:
- pull tummy in
- keep legs and back straight
Benefits: Builds upper and core body strength, lengthens the spine and strengthens lower back muscles.
08 – Halfway Plank
- From plank pose, bend arms half way down – don’t worry, it isn’t easy
Benefits: Strengthens entire body!
09 – Power Nap
- Literally, relax!
10 – Upward Facing Dog Pose
- Stretched legs
- Bend elbows slightly, palms flat on the ground, fingers spread then press hands down firmly while pushing yourself up off the floor.
- Straighten arms
- Lift chest
Benefits: opens the chest and stretches tummy.
11 – Downward Facing Dog
12 – Half Forward Fold Pose
13 – Forward Fold Pose
14 – Mountain
Repeat Set x 5
Feel free to comment below and share your experience, advice and/or tips on how you got yourself started. Let me know if you tried my Yogalates set and whether or not it worked for you.
Hustle for that Muscle – Image Source: omgquotes.com