Anyone who's been reading this blog for a while will probably know i've got a bit of a back problem. Just a few weeks ago i was laid up in bed completely immobile. Not much fun, if i have to be honest...
I've got a long term problem-i was born with an extra vertebrae in my back. I like to call it evolution. Others (mainly my family) like to call it devolution. Anyway, part of the problem is this:. If i don't do physical exercise and stretch out afterwards my back hurts. But when it's really aching i can't exercise so it hurts more. As it hurts more, i do even less exercise. This goes round in circles until i completely get out of the habit of doing any exercise at all. Which is what's happened over the last 12-18 months.
I used to be really active. During my last year at university in 2001 i was playing football, going to the gym 5 times a week and practicing karate. I carried on with this level of exercise for the next few years but i then slowly stopped until i realised i wasn't doing anything at all and my back was killing me. The bed-ridden episode of a few weeks ago really made me think as well.
Another side-effect of not exercising is that any beer that i drink goes straight to my belly. I don't put on weight anywhere on my body except around my waist and the only things that make me put on weight are beer and cheese. The extra weight in this area then pulls on my lower back, causing more pain. The problem is that there are some really good beers in Chile and, having just arrived back here permanently, i had to try them all. Anyway, this is how i've been feeling lately:
So i've been on kind of a diet the last few weeks. It's not really that much of a diet, more just cutting out the beer and eating less cheese. I've also started running again. I don't really enjoy living in this flat in Reñaca but it does have the advantage of being next to a beautiful beach. The beach is just about 1km long. I've started out running just for 20 minutes and seeing how far i get in that time. Running on sand is really hard, much more difficult than on solid ground. But it's good because the impact is much less.
On my first run i managed about 1.5km in 20 minutes. Pathetic but it's been a long time. The second i managed about 1.8km. The next i went 2km and last time i managed about 2.6km. Still not amazing but improving rapidly and remember: running on sand is really difficult.
I've lost most of the beer gut now and i'm feeling a lot better in general as well. I'd almost forgotten how much i enjoy exercise. I find it really hard to motivate myself to leave the flat in the first place but once i'm actually running i love it.
We'll be moving back to Valpo next week where i don't have a decent beach to run along. I'll have to make do with the cross-trainer machine. Maybe i'll put it on the terrace and look out to sea while i'm exercising.