Brain walks and yoga aches

Apr 13, 2023 | Diary | 0 comments

SI Pain: 1/100 | Rib Pain: 0/100 | Concrete Back: 11/100

Today was a pretty average day, AS-wise.

There was no ‘spiky’ pain, but I also didn’t feel particularly limber either.

It was stunning weather outside, and so I went for two long walks, which really helped the AS.

Walking always helps the AS.

It keeps the joints moving like a well-oiled engine. It’s good for the heart and the circulation, and general strength.

But more than that, it’s really fantastic for your brain and general mental oomph-ness.

I’ve found I get by far my best work done when I’m out walking.

That might sound weird, but with AS (even when you’re nailing it and virtually pain free) if you sit still for long periods of time, the brain just isn’t as sharp.

Even when you’re pain-free, or close to pain-free, you can still get that stiffness rising up in your back after a while and there’s just not that kind of clarity or energy.

And it’s not just AStronauts who struggle with this. I actually think a lot of people, even people who don’t have AS, find that they have some of their best ideas when they are moving or standing up. Or in the shower, that inexplicable world of brainstorm brilliance.

I’m lucky that my job involves a lot of writing and creating, and so thanks to modern technology, when I am out, I can dictate into my phone. My phone transcribes it into words, and then when I get back to my computer, I can edit it and make sense of it all.

This has been an absolute game changer for me.

I have written very long pieces while out on walks, and so it’s a way to kill two birds with one stone. I can stay on top of the AS, stay on top of work and also give myself a good dose of brain happy.

Just being out in the fresh air and getting all that sunshine and vitamin D and seeing the world is so important and so good for you.

I always bring my camera with me on walks and there is just something joyous about spotting something new or interesting and being able to capture it. It just gives me the most enormous boost.

The only downside today with the AS seemed to be that I felt quite achy.

My usual cold shower in the morning knocked out any hint of sensation in my SI joints. It that almost absolutely immediately, as it usually does these days.

But I had these kind of uncomfortable aches, I guess I would call them, throughout the day. They were aches rather than stabby AS pains.

For the first half of the day, I was annoyed. I thought maybe they were AS related because you do get what I call that “bad blood” feeling, as if something slightly off is flowing around your veins.

But it wasn’t quite that; it was just an inflexibility and pain when I made certain movements. Definitely not flare pain, but it was terribly comfortable nonetheless.

And then it suddenly hit me like a lightning bolt. I had done yoga yesterday for the first time in probably about a week last night.

So that was it. I had done my yoga after a break, and obviously, it was my body saying, “Hey, you’re using those muscles again.”

I do also think, unfortunately, when you have AS, the disorder gives you an extra wallop. Having a week off yoga shouldn’t have such an outsized effect, but it was a relief figuring out what it was.

That’s definitely a thing I have noticed with the yoga.

Leave it for longer than a few days between sessions and it always, always hurts the next day. And maybe even the day after that.

But then suddenly, you feel absolutely amazing and on top of the moon.

Yoga or stretching or Pilates is SO helpful for the AS, and I just cannot recommend it enough if you are not doing it already.

Get yourself an app which offers short, tailored routines and just fit it in when you can.

I know a lot of people have busy jobs or are busy parents and might think that there’s no way they could do it, but please try and find the time if you can.

I just do a 15-minute session each time, and balance my phone at the bottom of one of the chairs in our living room, so I can see the instructions. Then 15 minutes later, I am done!

You could do it first thing in the morning when no one’s awake, or when the kids are at school, or last thing at night when everyone’s gone to bed.

Stretching or yoga, or Pilates, or whatever works for you, is, in my opinion, as important as getting the diet right, your stress levels down and exercising.

Tick off all those things, you will feel like a new person.

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