Things to note since I've restarted
Sunday, January 19, 2020
TLDR; I want to stretch more because a lifetime of walking improperly have led to shortened muscles / tendons causing leg, hip and back pain, poor posture, poor gait, and poor stability.
As I've been exercising I've been noticing a lot of different kinks in my body that seem to have compounded over the years.
I've always known both my legs were very tight - even as a kid. I remember doing the Presidential testing in school, and the one where you sit on the floor and stretch? Yea.... it just wasn't happening for me. Even before that, though, I recall someone mentioning my gait. I would have been in 2nd or 3rd grade, walking down the hallway to use the restroom, and an older kid and his friend made fun of me for "walking like a duck" --- isn't it weird how the most mundane things sometime stick with us?
During my teenage years I would get a loooot of leg aches, which I assumed were 'growing pains'. When I started working, my first two jobs had me running around on concrete / tile floors all day, and I definitely didn't have proper footwear. I'd often come home with my feet and legs killing me, but I just thought that was pretty normal after putting in a good 10 or 12 hours of hard work.
Fast forward to today and my current occupation has me once again on my feet for a majority of the day (not complaining, I love that, no way could I survive sitting in a cubical) although I don't notice leg pain nearly as much.... Well I still to this day notice I walk a little like a duck, swinging my feet out rather then picking my knees up (another thing that I'll be working on, first indirectly and then hopefully more directly)
But I thought that maybe the occasional stretch I had done in the past, with the additional activity of constantly walking walking walking over the years had helped with the fact that they aren't as painful. Well, in fact I think that my initial thought was wrong ---- after stretching the past couple weeks I realize the pain was gone because it shifted. I've been rotating my hips externally, moreso the right one, and recruiting different muscle groups to compensate for the weakness and shortened tendons in my leg.
I've also notice just how weak my core muscle are, and I'm sure this is another cause of my back pain and past injuries (nothing major thankfully, just the occasional pulled muscles and week of being stiff and sore) but it also leaves me prone to future injuries and is probably both a contributor and result of poor posture.
So I've updated my goals and I'm excited for them, stretching really feels incredible - I don't know why I never set aside time to do it, I've always loved how great I feel afterwards even moreso than a good workout. Anyway, I found a fun app on my phone that has a variety of stretches, and another app specifically designed for doing the splits (don't think I'll ever get to that point lol BUT it has a lot of great stretches in it).
I always thought my legs were really strong - but in reality I was shifting all my weight into a few of those 'really strong' muscles and all the rest have been completely neglected. We've got work to do!