“Write about how a committed exerciser like yourself copes with sedentariness. I know you’ve
written some about it before, but I am curious about your process.” – my friend Nancy
Well, it’s been difficult.
We just got back from a trip to India and Bali. Unfortunately we didn’t do any exercise, mainly because of the problems with my shins – which I’ve now had for over four months. Life in India consisted mainly of going out for lunch and for dinner with Tanya’s friends and relatives. In Bali we did a cooking class, some snorkeling, a lot of going out for dinner, and a lot of hanging out by pools.
In other words, the trip was frustrating for me and the days often dragged. (The wonderful thing about our minds though is that memories are very selective and inaccurate. So when I think back on the trip it seems rather wonderful, seeing different parts of Mumbai, eating lovely food, sunning ourselves by pools.)
While in Mumbai I decided to do some medical tourism since prices are so much cheaper than in the U.S. To make sure I don’t have serious problems with my shins I had an MRI and bone scan done – which fortunately showed nothing abnormal. I also did several sessions of physical therapy, including four sessions of extracorporeal shock wave therapy. I think it helped.
Because I can’t exercise, or even do easy hiking, without pain, we canceled all our plans for the summer. We had planned to visit friends in Boulder for a week then to head out for a few weeks in the Greek Islands for some island hopping and easy hiking. Those plans and flights are now canceled. We’d also thought of going to Canada for the hot summer months then heading back to the Mediterranean to cycle in the early fall. All fallen by the wayside.
But I’m realizing remaining in Tucson has an upside. It will be more difficult to compare what I’m doing with what others are doing.
Many of our friends are snowbirds and have left for the summer – or will soon be leaving. So there won’t be that many people to compare my life with. And it gets so hot in summer in Tucson that hiking is horrible and the long rides I like to do are miserable.
I think it would be very hard for me to be in Boulder – where I lived for so many years – where so many people are cycling and hiking and doing outdoor sports, especially as summer arrives. It would be difficult to see people doing what I’d like to be doing and not be able to join them. I’d be envious.
Back here in Tucson, I’ll be going over to the Clubhouse and swimming laps in the morning (which feels rather like being on vacation 🙂 ). I’ll also be following the program my Indian physiotherapist gave me: stretching, icing my legs, gradually doing some strengthening exercises. But I’ll take my time and increase weights and intensity very slowly.
My plan is to take as much time as is necessary rather than my usual practice of wanting to get out and do, do, do. I’ll also potter around drawing or doing a bit of writing.
Being here in Tucson means I’m less likely to see and compare myself with people doing what I’d love to be doing. I’m less like to be envious.
So to answer Nancy’s implied question, I’ll cope with sedentariness by minimizing the possibilities of comparison and envy.