For as long as I can remember I have always had some kind of injury or ailment to hold back my fitness. Eventually this turned into a vicious cycle of persistent exercise only to be chopped down by shin splints, a bad back or even worse, my bad knees. As much as gyms are good for exercise I still believe they are designed in a way to minimalize progress. Nothing beats real exercise as opposed to ‘simulated’ gym stuff.
Getting outside for a long brisk walk or a park sprint session really makes you feel a million dollars. But around that corner for me was and still is an injury that has kept me from doing anything physically demanding for over two months.
I am talking about sciatica, a debilitating injury which begins in the lower back and soon takes over your leg muscles and nerves causing a hell of a lot of pain. It hurts to sit, walk, stand and pretty much exist. Like a pulled muscle but on steroids which doesn’t go away after a decent night’s sleep, sciatica is here for the long term and it is the worst injury I have ever had.
What caused it? A combination of things, but this blog post isn’t about causes, it’s about healing and prevention.
Having taken over a month to walk without much more than a dull aching pain, whatever I set out to do was going to take time. In fact, I had never been so consistent with exercise by doing all this walking, something which early on, eased the excruciating pain.
With sciatica, movement is king, where ever possible just move, stand up and walk around. And so with that in mind my healing journey began. Every so often the pain would come back and sometimes stronger. I am now at a point where it is getting no worse or better. Something more than what I was doing had to be done, and so here begins my journey of a pain free, sciatica free life.
My vessel on this journey, hard work and DDP yoga! Here is my first week’s progress…
Weigh in – 11St 8 / 74.9 KG
Started the program on the beginner schedule. The first session; Diamond Dozen is a semi workout tutorial that quickly gets the blood pumping. It’s a series of different movements targeting lower body and upper body muscles. Dynamic resistance is the key word here and Dally insists that you must get a heart rate monitor to track exactly how much the moves are making you use your heart. Many of the moves are easily modified to suit all abilities and levels of mobility. He shows us with the use of other demonstrators how to pull off many of these simple but really effective workout moves. An easy to follow session for all levels. My sciatic pain only bothered me a few times but overall I was fine.
After work out meal – Two scrambled Eggs, spaghetti shapes and two rashers of unsmoked bacon (grilled)
Verdict: So far so good. Must get a heart rate monitor.
09/08/2016 – Rest day
Began the morning with fruit and small glass of milk (phase 3 of the yoga fitness regime does say to remove all dairy). Took some time to read the DDP yoga guide. Its a great motivational and factual tool complete with schedule, success stories and even some awesome recipes.
‘There is no try, there is only DO!’ I read from the guide.
Already feeling better today with my sciatic pain easing throughout the day. Some muscles are a little tight from the initial workout yesterday but all good today.
Enchiladas and rice for dinner! Fitness is life!
10/08/2016 – Diamond Dozen and Energy
OK two workouts today. Well the diamond dozen is a much slower paced tutorial but moving on to the roughly 25-minute energy workout, for a newbie to yoga it was a challenge. Constant movement and holding poses, many of them can be modified as to which I did a few times. Throughout my sciatic pain reminded me it was there especially with the floor based stuff. Good energetic workout, any one unfit will struggle unless you modify, I did it just about with only a few mods. We shall have to await how the leg and back feels throughout the day and tomorrow.
Must get a heart monitor.
11/08/2016 – Rest day but went to the gym
The leg pain came in and out today but was mostly lesser than previous days. No particular aches or pains from the yoga so I decided to hit the gym. I did 12 minutes of cardio via the cross trainer and some dumbbell stuff. The cross trainer is a wonderful piece of kit and the movement alleviated any sciatic pain I had today. Good times.
Fruit for breakfast, pasta for lunch and steak for dinner.
Energy work out today and only just about did it because my stupid dam laptop decided to run updates. The workout was awesome, I got my heart beat jacked up and broke a sweat. Struggling a little with the lower body based moves as my legs aren’t that strong. Felt great after the workout, sciatic pain came and went with no real improvement today. Guess it’s going to take a while.
Ate out for dinner and treated myself to Calzone. Watched Suicide Squad, review here.
Weekend 1 – Rested, well I was at work so I did some walking. Tried my best not to sit all the time as that flairs up my sciatica. Ate moderately clean.
Meals included Leek and pea risotto with garlic bread. Chicken breast with salad. Roast dinner on Sunday with a can of stout.
15/08/2016 – End of week 1
Monday morning, early start for work. Feeling some sciatic pain but nothing more serious than the past few days. Did a lot of upper leg and hamstring stretches in the morning. Applied heat to back and leg a couple of times. Lunch meal included a cheese and roast vegetable panini and a large salad.
Energy yoga workout today, managed to grasp many of Dally’s moves better and held them for longer, especially the runner’s lunge parts. I could really feel my heartbeat during the workout today, and that’s even from staying still. I guess that’s the dynamic resistance working. Back and leg felt so much better afterwards and there was no pain afterwards for my 25 minute walk! It feels like the sciatic pain is retreating finally!
As you can see within only a week progress towards curing my sciatica was made. There are still several steps to follow and it is only the first week, but already I feel stronger, I feel more energetic and even happier. Nothing beats breaking a sweat and getting the most important muscle in the body pumping.
I included a rough account of my diet as exercise alone isn’t a fair indication of how much progress I am making. Diet is everything when it comes to fitness.
My next objective is to get as many people to join me on my journey, then we can have DDP yoga workout parties!
Stay tuned for my next update soon!