Improve Your Body, Improve Your Self, and Remember to Use it or Lose it

A Tough Week for Kid #2

My middle boy is having a difficult week.

All my boys are athletic, active, busy little men; they go out to the playground and race around like maniacs with their friends, in games I do not (and have no desire to) understand. Unfortunately, little boys being little boys, this causes difficulty and conflict when one kid or another decides he doesn’t want to play by the rules that bind the others.

In general, this is not a big deal. I flat out refuse to get involved because living through this, and learning to deal with it, is simply a part of growing up. Unfortunately, because of some of the personalities involved, my middle boy’s frustration level has gotten very high. This has led to him simply refusing to join in the “fun.”

Again, I’m not going to get involved. If he doesn’t like the way the others are playing, I’m not going to insist he suck it up, join in, and basically have a miserable time. I learned this hands-off approach to parenting from my parents, and generally, it stands up well. The only time I insert myself if the risk of a trip to the hospital rears its head.

Unfortunately, if you combine this with kid #2’s rather studious nature, and you have a recipe for a more sedentary summer than might be healthy. I’m not saying he lazed about playing video games and reading all summer, he didn’t. In fact, the week we spent at the cottage, he spent 2 hours a day in the lake, swimming.

No, what you get is a boy who hasn’t run in months and you find yourself in this week’s conundrum. He’s back at school, seeing friends he hasn’t seen in six months, and they’re running around the playground like maniacs.

What happens when you leave a muscle unused for a long period of time? When you use it, it gets sore, and poor Mr. Middle Child is sore, Sore, SORE.

Like Me

Sort of like his old man. I’ve told you that I’ve let my daily yoga for back maintenance routine slip the last few months I’ve told you about six hours driving a rental truck, along with three hours of heavy lifting. I’ve even told you that I’m feeling the effects of that.

I’m really feeling the effects. Sunday and Monday were bad, but a couple good nights of sleep and I thought I’d be as right as rain. Here we are Friday (I know this was supposed to go up Thursday, I’m late, sorry) morning, and I can still feel twinges in my lumbar muscles.

Fortunately, the work I’ve put in over the last seven years has created deep, profound, lasting change in my lumbar spine, discs and muscles. This problem, seven years ago would have meant bed rest, painkillers and Robaxacet. This week, it’s meant discomfort and Aleve.

This is a mind-boggling improvement.

Use it or Lose it

It’s also a reminder to use it or lose it. Like my middle boy, suffering the effects of a hard day’s running, after a few months of no running, I’m suffering the effects of not working my low back and core muscles properly the last few months.

A long time ago I wrote a series about change, The Changes Persist (here, here, and here). Sadly, somewhere along the way, I got too busy to take my own advice, and now I’m paying the price for it.

Fortunately, the persistence of change has meant that the price isn’t too steep. At least not this time.