About 6 years ago, I lived a very sedentary life — believe it or not. Although I ran track in high school and practiced sports (soccer and volleyball) in my college days, I got very comfortable in a lifestyle that consisted of doing the bare minimum. I had lost my drive for multiple reasons, including low self-esteem and unhealthy self talk. And I honestly thought I was healthy enough, maintained a weight of 120lbs for years and didn’t feel sick, except the monthly bloating and excruciating cramping. But that was all normal to me and that’s all that mattered... until one day. That’s all it typically takes for me. One day... Lol.
I got back home from my customer service job at which I sat all day, every day. Laid down to put my feet up and watch some TV. Closed my eyes to “rest” them for a few aka fell asleep... you know how that goes haha. I woke up after an hour nap and tried to get up... but I barely could. I was confused about what was going on. Then I looked at my legs and the left one was swollen. As I tried to stretch, I felt a sharp pain go through my leg... and that’s when I knew something was really wrong.
I managed to finally get up... but my balance was off. I relied on objects to grab on and keep me balanced on my way to the fridge, to grab an ice patch and take some kind of pain killer, but my father in law at the time recommended I have it checked out right away. I’m so glad I listened...
We went to the ER, where I stayed overnight for observation. Scans were done, then I got sent home after a few blood thinning procedures. I’ve never been more concerned about my health... Oh and the anxiety as we waited for the results. Ugh.
Two days later, the results were finally in. I had a severe blood clot. I was confused. I couldn’t understand why... Again, I thought I was the healthiest person on earth. Met the doctor to go through the results and his reading of the scan alluded to the fact that a sedentary lifestyle is one of the many reasons why someone my age and weight might develop blood clots. Then he prescribed that I go on a blood thinning medication (which involved injecting myself) for 6 months and biweekly checkups. And that’s when it hit me... I had neglected my body. I had deprived my body of movement. I was not as healthy as I assumed.
Since then, I’ve been on a journey to broaden my range of motion, improve balance, and increased flexibility. You see — back when we were hunter-gatherers, we got the daily exercise we needed to keep our bodies flexible and healthy. But modern, sedentary life is not the only culprit that constricts muscles and joints. Even if you're active, your body will dehydrate and stiffen with age. By the time we become adults, our tissues have lost about 15 percent of their moisture content, becoming less supple and more prone to injury. Our muscle fibers have begun to adhere to each other, developing cellular cross-links that prevent parallel fibers from moving independently. This normal aging of tissues is distressingly similar to the process that turns animal hides into leather. Unless we stretch, we dry up! Stretching and moving our bodies slow this process of dehydration by stimulating the production of tissue lubricants, which reduces stiffness over time. Not only that, but body movement is also beneficial for brain health. It reduces anxiety and depression, improves mood, boosts self-esteem, minimizes stress, and enhances cognitive functioning. It’s a WIN-WIN!
While it’s always important to recognize that we all respond uniquely to exercising, using some type of physical movement a mechanism can enhance our overall wellness. So get out there and get that beautifully built body moving! Believe in what your body can do, commit to bettering yourself and evolve in your journey to wellness. You owe it to yourself! #unlmtdYOU--