Mixing it Up

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The New York Times’ City Room Blog  ran a piece about yoga injuries this weekend. As someone currently suffering from an overuse injury that was made worse by yoga, I was interested to read about the recent increase in yoga-related injuries and some of the reasons behind them.

One thing that really bugs me about these articles though is that they tend to focus on women in their ’40s. Hello, I’m still due for my quarter-life crisis (in November)! Injuries can happen to young people too. I don’t know about any of you other twenty-somethings out there, but I definitely am prone to feelings of invincibility—though I will say, not as much recently. This week’s extreme kitchen activity at school has me back to popping acetaminophen and using a heating pad on my arms multiple times a day.  Setbacks, however minor, I’m seeing, can be a frustrating part of a recovery, “teachable moments” or not. This coming week, I will not be handling 20 pounds of watermelon like it’s nothing.

I’ve been learning a lot, though, about the ways in which the body responds to how we treat it. I’ve also been learning, in physical therapy, about some of my personal Do’s and Don’ts—I have a whole little repertoire of strengthening routines and a renewed sense of mindfulness I am hoping will stick. I’m working on it.

I’ve also taken the opportunity to try a few new things. Since yoga is out, as is most strength training, I wanted to find some other kind of exercise to do besides cardio, since overdoing any kind of activity is a bad deal—and boring.  So my friend Lemor and I decided to take a belly-dancing class. Hilarious! Anything where I get to have fun laughing at myself for a whole hour is good in my book, and it’s much more of a workout than I expected. Isolating the various muscle groups involved is hard! It’s a great way to spend a Sunday morning, if you ask me.

Some people say they can’t eat before exercising, but I feel like I have to or I have no energy. As long as you either eat long enough before to give yourself time to digest or if you have something small enough right before that won’t make you feel nauseous during activity, you’re good. I find smoothies to be a good pre-workout food, since some of the digestive work is done by the blender (sorry to sound gross)—I’ve been topping my smoothie-in-a-bowl with uncooked oats recently. The texture is really pleasing, and it’s a convenient way for me to get some whole grains (and much-needed iron) in early.

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