For the last ten years or so, I’ve had a recurring lower back problem that has only been prevented with consistent exercise, especially yoga, or sporadic visits to a chiropractor.  It flared up again in early December, but I was able to find a good doctor in Tucson to help me work out the kinks.  During treatment, I stopped exercising and then, what with holidays and travel and such, I wasn’t able to recommit to my routine until this week, when my schedule finally returns to “normal,” or what passes for normal for a crazy person.

I use a published weight lifting routine because I’m not confident enough to figure things out for myself.  The routines are tough, though. I do three weeks of three different exercise days.  On the fourth week, I’m permitted to do “any exercise activity that isn’t lifting weights,” which generally means cardio like running or tennis when the weather’s nice.

I’m back into the first set of exercises, which are hard because they are supposed to shore up strength for the more focused exercises to come.  But I noticed I came back from my first workout what can only be described as “giddy,” as embarrassing as that is to admit.  I’d forgotten how good it felt to exercise.  In addition to the routines, I’m also jumping rope on the days I don’t do lower body exercises.

I’m currently 10 pounds from my goal weight–under, that is.  (I have lofty ambitions!)  In the weeks I wasn’t exercising, I frustratingly lost muscle and gained some chub.  I’m hoping over the next six months I can add 10 pounds of good, healthy muscle.

I like working out partly because it gives my creative brain a chance to go hogwild.  While the logical part of my brain is focused on the activity, that other part, the imaginative part, can go off on its own.  I think about revising poems, about poems I want to write, about things I can do with stories and essays and scripts…so the time is dually important for me.  Not only do I feel healthier, I feel more connected to my artistic practice.

As of yet, I haven’t had to drop a weight and run off to find pencil and paper because inspiration struck, but I’ll tell you if that ever happens.

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