Sunday, June 13, 2010

Reflections: Countdown to 50 - Day 58



For those of you who don't know me, my internet persona is 'smileywoman'
As my 20 year old son says, "mom, your inner child is younger than mine."

Well, smileywoman has been struggling quite a bit lately with many things and decided to start blogging about it. Although I believe [and my motto is]: "Age is JUST a number, so DANCE!" I'm struggling with a lot of physical issues at this stage and wonder if and to what extent I will be able to dance. So, this is part one of my countdown to my 50th birthday - day 58.

About a month ago, I strained my hip flexor. I've NEVER had issues with my hip flexor until a few months ago, now I'm concerned it might be a chronic problem. Adding that to the list of my other physical challenges (achilles tendon, neuromas in both feet) the list is growing.

Anyway, 3 weeks off of dance to heal ... the voice in the back of my brain starts in (thank goodness for the wisdom of that voice at times).
"Maria you don't want this to become chronic so it's time to get proactive."

[silly Maria like many very active people think that because we dance we don't need to do extra leg work]. Wrong! I went for a full assessment at the gym and the trainer says,
"not bad for nearly 50."
I would say to myself,
"Well, I would hope so considering I workout 4 - 6 days a week."


Now I've added a trainer to my weekly workouts for the next 6 months to focus on strengthening and conditioning overall, hoping to avoid continuing to injure myself. After all as we get older injuries take much longer to heal, and I sure DO NOT want down time from exercising. Gosh, I'm so hyper I NEED the exercise to keep from jumping out of my skin. Yes, I'm a bit intense; hence the need for daily exercise.

After two weeks of input from these two fitness professionals, I am breaking out of the plateau I've reached in my exercise regimen. My aerobic exercise will get 'mixed up' to keep my body guessing. The trainer says, "you have to push past your comfort level. If you can make it through your entire exercise routine with ease, then you are not pushing yourself."
He also says that interval training in spurts will crank my metabolism. Focus on more (boring) fat burning instead of (exhilarating) cardiac level aerobics. Of course, to keep me happy I'll throw in some barre work, some floor barre work, and some centre work to keep my young-inner-ballerina-soul happy as well.

MY CHALLENGES
1. At 49 I have been post menopausal for more than 8 years. Having gone through menopause much earlier than the average woman, I do not have hormones and my metabolism has gone AWOL. So gradually over a 10 year period I gained unwanted weight. I will soon be visiting a doc to start a BHRT program to help me deal with the hormone deficits so that my 4 - 6 day a week exercise pays off with the results I want (reduce fat, increase muscle).

2. My genetic downfall: women in my family store fat on their bellies. Over the years, my rather slim figure has slowly been putting on weight and the belly has developed a mind of its own. Portion control, eating fiber, tons of veggies, forcing my two pieces of fruit and making sure I get enough calories from the right foods.

ASIDE:
nutritionist said I eat well but need to make sure I get enough calories for my activity level. If you starve your body, it cannot efficiently fuel itself. Ultimately, you cannot lose weight effectively/safely without eating enough.
1/2 cup servings of my food items at one time, 4 - 6 small meals throughout the day. [I've always eaten small meals to control insulin levels anyway. My blood sugar tended to be low when my family's tended to be high because of diabetes.]

3. Athletic injuries / physical challenges: injuries starting to become numerous. I was a runner 20 years ago and had to give it up because of the debilitating pain in the ball of my left foot which turned out to be the beginning of neuromas. The doc said to have the surgery, but I'd lose the feeling in that part of my foot which (as a dancer) freaks me out completely!!! I could not dance when my foot was numb from the cortisone shot, how the hell could I dance if my foot became permanently numb. The neuromas made me change how I fast walk / jog as part of my aerobic routine. In order to take pressure off of my forefoot, I became hard on my heel strike which started to cause an Achilles problem. Oh joy! *said with sarcasm*

I mentioned the hip flexor earlier... Well, the first time I felt pain was doing my son's favorite stationery bike program with him. I thought it was the pedal straps forcing turn in (I'm comfortable turned out, thank you very much). Anyway, the pain went away until I went jogging in KangaJumps and SERIOUSLY strained my left hip flexor. Stops to heal, re-evaluate workouts to avoid injuries etc.

Last but not least, vestibular impairment in my right inner ear that developed eleven years ago when I went back to university to fulfill my dream of obtaining my degree. LOTS of testing revealed a vestibular impairment in my inner right ear which has caused a balance disorder. I'm careful of triggers to avoid vertigo attacks. As a person who exhibits 3 of the 4 signs of Meniere's Disease, I'm proactive in my health by following a low sodium diet, exercising to the level you see here, and avoiding triggers.

BLESSINGS

So many... I'm blessed and grateful for this stage of my (mental) life working towards self-actualization. Survivor of so many challenges (abuses) wrought on me by others, but survived because of a indomitable spirit refusing to be crushed.

My journey to self-actualization has my brain working ideas on sharing knowledge and hard-won wisdom to others (especially females) as a way to provide support and understanding, an ear, and a shoulder to cry on when necessary. This blog 'Embrace Your Child' is the place where all of this pours out to share and help inspire others on their own journey.

Remember to practice those pause moments daily and be ever cognizant of your own blessings. You are loved. You are worthy. Appreciate daily those around you that are a positive influence. Show them and tell them that you appreciate them.

When you go to bed at night and when you awake each day, count your blessings.

I pray that I continue to find my joy in these things and the ability to dance, even if only in the humblest of ways that continues to light my soul and make me a true smileywoman.

So there you have it.