Flunking planking

Flunking planking

Photo by Ayo Ogunseinde on Unsplash

My husband and I on our annual 2-week break on the Atlantic coast of France and have all the time (and no excuses) to do some exercise. As the resort offers all sorts of fitness training, we have decided to dedicate a good 45 minutes every morning on exercising. And so 4 days ago, we started our 45-minute muscle workouts every day at 10:00. This is a nice late start allowing us a sleep-in every day…we are on holidays after all. The trainer is a couch-potato’s nightmare, hence mine! But she is very kind and turns a blind eye when I fail to do her iron-man exercises. I am not in it to compete anyway. I’m in it to move my lazy assets and counteract the effects of 2 weeks of butter croissants and foie gras. 

The most important part of the exercise is knowing your limit. I know our society is all about pushing your limits but I want to be on the safe side. I know when to stop. Everyone has their own threshold for pain and I am happy to stay within mine.  My limit was reached in today’s session when we got to planking. I can usually get to 60 seconds on a good day but this time, we also got thrown to do side-planking. I could barely get up from lying on my side let alone get to some sort of a diagonal position. Oh well, ticked that one off and waited for the end of the session. So the session ended at 40 minutes for me today. No big deal. The last thing I want is to be carted off in an ambulance. No shame in failing. 

I was more competitive in my younger years. And yet I didn’t have to exercise then. It was the time when I could eat everything in sight and not gain any weight. Going to the gym was a thing, Olivia Newton-John was a hit and everyone was getting physical. I was just as crazy about those metallic lycra 3/4 leggings under a high-cut leotard as everyone else was. I didn’t sweat of course…didn’t have to. At that time, it was all for show. 

Although I am comfortable with my current weight, I am not willing to invest more on clothes by jumping another size up. So I’m happy to do a bit of workout to keep my current size. 

The extra movement is doing us both a lot of good. We walk everywhere and mostly along the beach on top of the scheduled workouts. I definitely feel better. My fear of days of aching muscles after our first day did not materialized. Instead, the leg aches & pains I’ve been having lately when I first get up in the morning have somehow disappeared.

I hope to continue this when we get home. I will aim for 15 minutes a day as a realistic goal. Will probably end up doing 7! But hey, no pressure.

Goodbye frozen shoulder

Goodbye frozen shoulder

It’s a nice rainy Sunday and it doesn’t matter much as the alternatives are endless. My favourite place on a day like this would have to be my local Thai massage place. I try to get an appointment at least twice a month but there have been times when I went every 3 days. That was about 4 years ago when I was suddenly troubled by  an immobilized left shoulder partnered with excruciating pain when I tried to move my arm. It didn’t really come from one day to the next. An orthopaedic doctor proudly told me that he could get rid of the pain by opening up my shoulder, scraping of calcifications and sewing it up again. Thanks but no thanks.

I have seen acquaintances battle with symptoms of frozen shoulder with painful cortisone treatments from their doctors or painkillers. I am a fan of neither. My husband suggested we get a bit more aggressive with our natural approach and sent me off to get a series of painful Thai massages to first get my cramped up muscles freed. The pain during the first sessions brought me on the verge of tears. yet every pressure applied also brought a sense of relief. I had 3 massages a week for 2 weeks. Remarkable improvements kicked in after the first 2 sessions and after 2 weeks I was completely pain free. 

Having done flamenco for over 10 years, I always got enough movement to never had any problems with joint aches and pains. It was only until I got stuck in the rut of a very demanding job that I stopped…and soon enough, the problems started too. My once supple joints literally froze! I am still trying to get back to a decent flamenco class. In the meantime, I try to get as much exercise as my lazy self would allow me. I religiously do 5 minutes combo of stretchings, sit-ups, push-ups and what-have-you every evening. I know this is not much in comparison to the Amazonian workouts others get into but hey, I do what I can. Every now and again my son jumps in as my personal trainer and gets me to do more than what I would usually do. It helps to get my old bones moving!

Suggested reads: Thai Massage Heals Frozen Shoulder Syndrome