And I’m not talking about anyone named “Rocky” in gold speedo trunks.
Like most of my fellow Americans, I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about my personal fitness. I’ve never been a gym rat, and have never gone way out of my way to eat well. Oh, I’ve made efforts and concessions in the “eat better” realm. I don’t eat McFood and try to avoid anything sold in a gas station and/or anything deep fat fried. I’ve cut way back on my salt intake and don’t drink sodas anymore. I don’t work out in the typical 'go to the gym three times a week' sense, as I always assumed that riding around the yard on my lawn tractor for four hours a weekend was enough physical exertion for any one man, and that all the muscle workout I needed would be received by turning the steering wheel, working the brake pedal occasionally, and by extended exposure to the sun.
I was surprised on my last doctor visit to find that my blood work reported that I was, except for a few extra pounds, remarkably healthy. Everything was within acceptable range; my heart rate and blood pressure, my LDL and HDL, all the counts of those little floating wobbly bits in me, it was all normal. I was so shocked all the blood drained out of my head and I had to be admitted to the ICU for a serious head trauma from bouncing off the concrete floor.
When I worked at Orifice Depot I was fairly healthy, physically speaking. I spent five years working in the furniture department, which meant I also got to be the Receiving/Warehouse Bitch. This meant that I was the rube roped and belted into the OSHA-approved torture rack on front of the forklift and was forced to shove around flat-packed RTA (ready-to-assemble) furniture very high up in steel racking. The lightest particle-board computer desk started at about 60 pounds and went well up from there: the average allowable weight in a flat-pack is 250 pounds and I sold a lot of desks that had to be packed in two separate boxes.
Needless to say I was pretty proud of my musculature.
Well, that all exercise sans warmups or any sort of balanced regime came at a price. Two bulging discs in my back, a torn rotator cuff, a pair of bad knees made worse and a lot of general owies. And then I got a desk job and lost all that tone. Sadly enough, the aches and pains stayed with me.
When I started looking at the KCS jobs I realised that I'd have to get my back into some sort of shape, which meant strengthening it. Bulging discs simply ARE, there's no real repairing them but you can minimize further damage by having healthy musculature, so I turned to the wonders of the Internet Tubes. Found a workout that didn't seem to be TOO difficult nor did it cost anything, so I printed out the twenty or so exercises with their attendant instructions and went to it. This was last month.
Oddly enough, I'm still doing those exercises. It's been an interesting month, I have to say. I've gone from having almost zero tone in my abdominal and lower back muscles to having...well, I have muscles now. I know I have them because they're often sore and always complaining. But, I can do thirty situps now with a minimum of anguished groaning and can manage to do twenty pushups in a row without having to lie on the carpet for a while panting and praying that I don't have an aneurism. Progress!
I guess it was inevitable. Too many years have gone by since I could run anywhere, and I fully remember a childhood spent running everywhere. Even bicycling makes me winded, and I know for a fact that I rode the tires off more than a few bikes as a kid. So, I'm starting small. My back regime takes half an hour to perform from beginning to end, including all the yoga-like stretching and such, and I do it every other day. A month in I don't see chiseled results like you supposedly get just from posing around a BowFlex machine but hey, Rome wasn't built in a day, right?
Me, I'm just hoping for a little less Roman rotunda and a little more Tower of Pisa. Lean optional.
If you're curious, here's the link to the program I'm using. It's very low impact and very gentle, and I can honestly say I've felt a lot more flexibility in all of my back, more than I've had in a long time.