Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Learning to breathe again

Recently my low back went out and I was laid up for three days.  And when I say "laid up" I mean I couldn't handle the intense pain unless I was laying down.  It. Was. Awful.

So I've been going to physical therapy (PT) for a couple weeks now trying to strengthen some areas and lessen the chances of it ever happening again.  Because I'll do ANYTHING to make sure that never happens again!

I am flexible.  I am able to bend and put my palms all the way down on the floor.  But instead of curving my back like most people, I fold in half at the hips, while my back stays perfectly straight.  Doesn't sound bad, right?  But it is.

My PT said my low back is constantly "engaged" and we have teach my body to let go so those muscles can relax and I can curve my back.  I am doing a lot of back-curved bending and "opening up" my ribcage and taking deep breaths.  (it's not as simple as I made it sound, but figured you didn't want the 30 minute explantion).

So I got to thinking...why is my low back always engaged? 
Does it hurt so I'm protecting it?  No
Is it not flexible and therefore unable to curve?  No
So what is it?

Now that I've been doing the exercises and "loosening" my back I had a moment of clarity as to why it is engaged!  I had just finished my PT and was walking out of the gym and there was a glass door.  I saw my body and WITHOUT THINKING sucked in my gutt.  And at that moment, I felt my entire low back re-engage.

Awhile back I noted that I have (for YEARS) sucked in my gutt.  That I have very strong abs because I am constantly sucking in my gutt.
Well, years of me sucking in my gutt may have strengthened my abs, but has screwed up my back!!  ACK!!

So I've been focusing on NOT looking at my stomach and NOT sucking it in. 
Did you know (and you probably did) that you get a LOT more OXYGEN when you aren't sucking in your stomach?!   LOL!
No WONDER I had such issues doing cardio!  I only had 1/3 the lung capacity (yes, I suck in my gutt when working out!).
No WONDER I get so tired walking and talking! 
No WONDER my back finally gave out!  The muscles are EXHAUSTED!

So there you have it.  I am giving up on attempting to hide my thick torso. 
Go ahead, have a look.  Here I am...take me or leave me. 
Cause I not losing breath over it anymore!

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