I just got back from the gym. Spent a bunch of time with the strength coach trying to figure out how to fix my back issue. After a lot of pain, tests, and movement analysis the verdict is in. My problem is that I don’t have a butt. None. Zero. My legs just end at my hips.
More specifically, a major part of my problem is that I never engage my glutes when moving. Like, at all. Rotation, lifting, bending, walking, running… my back is doing all the work. And because I have a weak core, it was only a matter of time before something gave out. This also explains why I can’t dance.
The good news is that it’s fixable (maybe not the dancing). The bad news is that it’s going to hurt and it’s not going to suddenly get better overnight. Why-oh-why didn’t I figure this out thirty years ago?
Back in the stone age when I was in high school, there should have been an “adulthood 101” class. The value of compound interest. Investing. Changing a tire. What to make for dinner for the next 50 years. The importance of an actual, daily, fitness regime. Instead, we learned the quadratic equation on the off chance we might someday work with gravitational physics. Oh, and dodgeball.
So here we are. An aging adult who now has to learn how to engage a major muscle group and build up some significant strength – or face daily pain and physical limitations for the next twenty years. Yeah, that’s not intimidating at all.
I was watching show last night that described the decline in physical fitness in the US since the ’60s. The difference in where we are today vs back then is shocking. How in the world did we let that happen as a society? It’s really criminal. The scary part? I don’t think it’s reversible. Excluding some sort of apocalyptic survival of the fittest event… you’re not going to convince 300 million people to suddenly get off the couch every day. Back then President JFK actually said, “…there is nothing “more unfortunate than to have soft, chubby, fat-looking children.” Today, any politician that dared to suggest such a thing for our schoolkids would be instantly shouted down and cancelled. It’s discriminatory. We don’t have the funding. It shames kids who aren’t athletic. It’s racist. We can’t hurt their self-esteem. Besides, it’s really hard to have a proper PE class over Zoom.
I’m now faced with a hard decision. I either find a way to push through pain, change my daily routine, and learn a new athletic skill at my age… or I move to the couch, seek out a Norco or Oxy prescription, and accept that my ability to ski, play golf, ride the mountain bike, run, and hike is fading.
I don’t like either choice. I want to go back to the days when I could just do stuff and not worry about injury or pain. I don’t like strength training, never have. I get zero enjoyment from going to the gym. But I don’t like pills and I don’t want to give up my activities. It’s a quandry.
I’m not a quitter. Hopefully, this is the catalyst to make those necessary health changes I’ve been meaning to get around to. Because as a very wise man once said, “I do mind, the Dude minds. This will not stand, ya know, this aggression will not stand, man.”
The Dude abides. Now excuse me, I’m headed to the gym.