Wednesday, September 15, 2010

And the tortoise wins!

I continue to learn about walking.  This week I made some great strides, so to speak, as I managed to achieve walking outdoors with no cane, no pain.
After these last weeks in physical therapy, I have a whole new respect for the act of walking.  I’m starting to understand the intricacies of all the motor activity that must happen for us to propel ourselves forward standing up.  
For me it’s always been about coping, but not about understanding.  I have figured out ways to compensate for my unbalanced, unusual gait.  
One of my coping mechanisms was to try to make my back do the work my hips and legs needed to do.  This ultimately has the effect of causing my back to hurt and making my lower torso feel like it is as heavy and stiff as cement.  Not exactly conducive to a smooth gait.
Another was to give my right glut a free ride, causing my knee to fall in and ultimately become very painful.
Earlier this week I tried a new approach to taking a longer than usual walk.  First I rode the exercise bike at a high speed for a mile or two and did some other stretching exercises to get my hip joints working well.  Then I set out with the idea that when I felt my lower back start to tighten up or my knee started to prolapse, I would simply stop and take a break, observing whatever was around me at that point.  After a minute or so, when my back muscles had eased up and my glut and knee had had a rest, I would be off again.  It worked like a charm.  
The only problem with this approach is I may have a hard time finding walking partners.  Not everyone is willing to walk at a snail’s pace or take frequent resting breaks.  But even walking alone is really not so bad because it causes me to be observant of what is going on around me.
Now it’s time to hit the downstairs gym and go to work!


Blogger Kristin said...

Good for you, Barbara! You really do inspire with your constant growth and learning. I actually love walking alone, but would definitely join you for a long, slow walk sometime.

10:55 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Kristin -- I'm not sure if you would even be capable of walking at my speed after all your power walking of late, but we can give it a try sometime. I may redefine the word SLOW for you!

11:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love this post! You're creating your own Barbara version of walking meditation. Always so much to learn, both "inside" and "outside" of ourselves! May you enjoy every step.


4:02 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Anon -- You have such a positive, upbeat way of looking at things! I wish you lived closer and we would walk together for sure. I will start to think of my slow rambling as a walking meditation.

4:26 PM  
Blogger Pauline said...

turn those walks into moments of active meditation Barbara, and you won't mind walking alone...

6:21 AM  
Blogger Kristin said...

Maybe I need to learn to slow down a little!

9:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And next time you visit perhaps we'll go to one of the local labyrinths, where among other things walking slowly and mindfully is right at home...ahhh...


2:25 PM  

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