It takes balls to get older. Not the kind you’re thinking of.
Bosu balls. Softballs. Lacrosse balls. Massage balls. I’ve had to employ the help of several different types of balls to nurse a pretty inconvenient injury. But before I get into that, let me backtrack a bit.
At some point last year, I lamented about the difficulties of getting older. About how things seemed to sag a little more and break a little easier. When you turn 30, it’s funny to think ‘it’s all downhill from here’. But in a sense, at least physically, it’s true. When we cautiously cross the threshold into our thirties, we have to mourn the death of our 20-something selves. Because we’ll never be that limber and agile again. At least not without the aid of orthopedic supports and painkillers.
On the health front, I’ve actually fared much better this year. It seems the only thing out to get me is my writing career. You read that correctly. My writing career is out to get me.
About two months ago, I noticed some increased sensitivity and inflammation in my left hip. That same pain seemed to travel down tomy hamstring. And somehow, all of this was tightening my lower back to the point where it was hard to stand up comfortably. I’m active and hit the gym four times a week for a mix of weightlifting and cardio. So I thought maybe I’d done something wrong. Maybe my form was off during a set of deadlifts. Or I overextended during a stretch. But it turns out this injury was from something far less complicated. It was from sitting down too much.
"When we cautiously cross the threshold into our thirties, we have to mourn the death of our 20-something selves. Because we’ll never be that limber and agile again. At least not without the aid of orthopedic supports and painkillers."
As a writer, I’m in a chair in front of a computer for the vast majority of the day. According to my doctor, all of this sitting has deconditioned my body. So my hip issue (which is actually called bursitis) isn’t from doing too much. It’s from doing too little.
When I considered the occupational hazards of becoming a freelance writer, I went through an exhaustive list of risks. The occasional annoying client. The lack of regular paychecks. Assignments that I wouldn’t enjoy. I never thought writing would have a physical impact on my body. But lo and behold, if there’s a way to get injured doing something, I’m your guy.
I worked in retail for 11 years. While it may have not been the best career choice for my sanity, it was actually better for my body. Most of my days consisted of a pretty even mix of standing and sitting. Apparently, a lot of sitting is bad for you.
"According to my doctor, all of this sitting has deconditioned my body. So my hip issue isn’t from doing too much. It’s from doing too little."
Just this week, TIME magazine reported on a study that linked excessive sitting time to heart disease, diabetes, and even increased risk of death. I guess I lucked out with just a pesky hip problem.
For the past month, I’ve taken part in some pretty lengthy, yet informative, doctor’s visits that have involved a chiropractor, massage therapist, and multiple physical therapy professionals. I’ve definitely learned a lot. And in the process I’ve acquired some trusty new tools to help ensure I don’t end up with bursitis again.
While I am active, I don’t participate in sports that require actual coordination. So that softball I mentioned earlier-I roll my leg over it to help loosen up my hamstrings. And I use the lacrosse ball for a similar reason, but instead of my hamstrings, it’s for my glutes. I lean my hip into the massage ball while it’s pressed against the wall and complete a series of mobility exercises. I never thought I’d have any sports equipment in my household. But now my closet is starting to look like a teenage boy’s bedroom.
"I never thought I’d have any sports equipment in my household. But now my closet is starting to look like a teenage boy’s bedroom."
On the bright side, all of this stuff seems to be working. My hip pain is essentially nonexistent. And the other issues are barely hanging on. Another week or two and I’ll be back to my 31-year-old self, which is like a slightly more fragile version of my 30-year-old self.
Getting older really does take balls. The therapeutic kind and the figurative kind. But on the bright side, the more you hurt things, the more you learn. At this rate, I’ll be Einstein by the time I turn 40.
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