[Rowing Machine] 2020: Week 15 {217.0} “Physical Therapy Endurance, Part 11”

With two physical therapy sessions left before being discharged with a clean bill of health, in regards to my neck strain-induced mindbender headaches, the focus now is building endurance by practicing some of the more difficult stretches. I’ve been doing well with the more resistant bands and longer stretch times. When I look at myself in the mirror, I’ll either catch myself in bad posture and correct it sooner, or, I’m already in good posture.

I still get some mild physical discomfort.

Those were the first moments where I remembered my PT stretches and exercises, do them, then would see those discomforts go away. Seeing that direct positive feedback loop, where I get the reward of comfort from getting my body out of discomfort, has led to more subconscious fixes in my body that I might not have otherwise noticed. For example, between the introduction paragraph and the “physical discomfort” sentence above, I took a two-minute break to get some coffee, and before sitting down, I noticed that the pillow I keep in this chair so I can have some additional lower back support was scrunched.

I readjusted the pillow and it feels much better.

Ideally, I would have fixed that before I sat down the first time, and wouldn’t have felt any discomfort, but we don’t know these things until we notice them. If we’re lucky, someone can externally point them out, but more often, we only notice them once we internally notice them, which is through pain. I think that’s also, too, why we inherently value the opinions of others, even now in a society so scattered yet independent, where we can live without concerns over being excised from the tribe; if someone could have noticed my posture wasn’t great before the headaches and PT, that would have saved me time and money, but no one did, so why should I be concerned?

Pay the bill, book the session, and get what you can before moving on.

There’s a subtle mental endurance in that thought. If you are so beholden to money and time as strict hierarchies, then you’ll want to hoard them as much as you can, even if you waste money to save time that you’ll waste. That’s partially why I took the opportunity to broadly write about my PT sessions in this essay series. If I’m going to be spending 13 hours in PT, I might as well write about it, right? That is, unless I don’t have much of value to write about, then that time might just make an appearance in a future essay.

This hasn’t really been specifically rowing or PT related so far…

I haven’t been writing much about the specific exercises – one involves wrapping a rubber strap around my head that’s tied to the wall, doing my chin tuck, then walking away from the wall to build neck muscles – partially because the specifics tend to meld together into what is the most efficient workout I can do, which usually involves rotating my neck throughout the day, then doing specific exercises when I’m out and about. While I row, now, I’ll practice some of my neck stretches. I’ll look to my right, hold for five seconds, look forward, look to my left, hold, return, rest, and repeat.

I’ve also stopped cracking my neck.

I noticed that I stopped after I did it once and thought to myself about whether or not that was what might have led to my headaches… I’m no doctor, so I can’t say for sure, but I can hazard a guess that it didn’t help. Those are the broad corrections that I can write about here. Writing about my specific exercises might be a fun memento to look back on in the future, but I have my print-outs for that, and these stretches won’t be too helpful for you – especially if you don’t have neck problems. Instead, broadly writing about how noticing the negatives in your relationship to your body, whether it’s cracking a joint or slouching when you can sit with better posture, are more universally applicable.

Your body knows what’s best for you.

Your body just tends to whisper its needs and wants since it doesn’t have a microphone to shout out at you. Through this headache trip of mine, I’ve learned that listening to those whispers involve things as subtle as ‘if I feel hungry for salmon, I should have some, but maybe I should also eat more nutritiously’ or ‘if my back hurts, I should adjust my posture, but I also shouldn’t push myself too hard physically or mentally.’ Of course, those are additions to abstract thoughts, rather than anything more concrete, which is why I schedule things on my calendar and follow them more regularly than I have in previous months or years.

I schedule my sleep and other activities.

After I’m done with this essay, I’ve scheduled time to read and then prepare for work. I may dip a few minutes into that time to finish writing, but that’s the hour I’ve set aside daily to read. Without that time, I might not read as much. I don’t schedule the time to take my vitamins because that’s a routine now, but if I failed to take them for long enough, then yes, I would schedule that time on my calendar. Having that reminder, especially on a digital calendar that I clear off after the day is over, forces me to remember whether I did something or not. If not, I reschedule it, unless it’s something like taking vitamins, or reading, which is time I’ve dedicated daily to helping to improve my health.

Oh, I also row during that hour.

Now that I’m dipping into that reading-relaxing-rowing hour, I’ll wrap up this essay by saying I’m looking forward to concluding PT.

Not because I dislike PT, but because I’ve attained better muscle endurance.

Quotes: None.
Sources: My fitness experiences.
This week’s weight: 217.0 [220 before I peed]
Last week’s weight: 221.0
Difference: According to Cronometer, my BMI dropped 0.5 this week since I dropped the four points from 221 to 217 pounds. I started rigorously counting my calories again, this time through a calorie-counting website, which I had resisted for months, but am now OK with since my dietitian showed me one with charts and such I’ll be working on setting up in Gsheets over the next few weeks, like I do for my rowing stats.
Inspirations: Broadly writing about my physical therapy session, maybe a bit too chaotically, but I still like the essay and the points I meandered through.
Related: Past weekly column entries.
Picture: Generic picture.
Written On: 2020 March 06 [7:25pm to 8:02pm, with some breaks and distractions throughout]
Last Edited: 2020 March 06 [First draft; final draft for the Internet.]


My big goal is writing. My most important goal is writing "The Story." All other goals should work toward that central goal. My proudest moment is the most recent time I overcame some fear, which should have been today. I'm a better zombie than I was yesterday. I'm not better than you and you're not better than me. Let's strive to be better every day.