Exercise – For The Mind, Body And Hip!

One of my goals for the year was to ‘get strong’; to continue to rehab my hip replaced hip and and to increase my fitness after 6 months of really reduced activity.  Since I made this goal in January, I upped my riding, particularly while I was doing the Top Barn Challenge 2019, but more recently I’ve been looking at my step count and lamenting the rubbish mid week days.  Now it has all changed!

I feel like I am now at the point with my new hip where I need to step up using it and push myself more.  There is that but also we all know ‘exercise gives you endorphins, endorphins make you happy’.

Riding

Obviously riding is my favourite exercise.  I’m still fairly consistently riding four times a week (which is as much as I can fit in around work at the moment) but I am trying to be more conscious of what work we do.  If I don’t feel strong enough or in the right mindset to school, I don’t.  Otherwise I know we will go in and flop around for a bit, achieving very little and getting me frustrated!  When I AM in the right frame of mind, we are schooling for much longer each time.  We are trotting more hills, TRYING to canter more and just generally enjoying what we are doing.

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Walking

The biggest change I’ve made is I’m consciously pushing myself to do more steps rather than just doing what I do.  Rather than going to the yard on the way home from work, I’ve been driving home and walking to the yard (which is under a mile away).  A simple change and certainly more time consuming BUT also an easy way to up my step count.  The days I carry two tubs of pig food with me are even better.. weights anyone!?  I listen to podcasts (Olivia Towers’s ones are my favourite) and I chill out.  I make sure I extend my leg properly and hold my pelvis properly and I feel much better for doing it.

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Cycling

My bike had spent many months stationary after I was allowed to ride a horse again but I’ve decided to get it out and try to, at least weekly, go out for a cycle.  The main problem with this is I’m not very confident in traffic as such, my bike rides have been at 5.30 in the morning!  Not much traffic then!  I love the feeling of the wind whistling past me though I need to build up to doing more hill work.  Again, it makes me feel good, starts my day well and allows me to see my pony an extra time if I go past the yard!

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Yoga

I’ve been quite on off with my yoga recently but there is no denying it has amazing benefits for your mental and physical state.  I always feel the effect on my muscles after only one yoga session so I definitely need to get going with it again.  I’m hoping to take my mat out to the garden now that the weather is getting better like a proper insta girl!

Running!

Now I have said a million times, I won’t be running with my new hip.  It isn’t exactly recommended, I don’t want to prematurely wear my hip and I’ve never really been a keen runner.  But sometimes things happen and what happened to me was that the Tuesday lunch running club at school needed an extra adult to cope with the sheer quantity of children wanting to do it.  My school has a very small staff and it didn’t look like anyone else was going to do it.  You know what I’m like when someone asks me to do something!?  On the proviso that some of the children would be so slow I would be able to keep up in a speedy walk, I agreed to do it.  Today was my first one.  I ran.  Admittedly there were plenty of walking breaks (I couldn’t leave the straggling last children behind) and maybe it was more of a jog but it was certainly the most in the way of running that I have done in a long time.  I actually enjoyed it.  It is such a cliche but I felt FREE!  Lets not forget that this time last year I was on crutches (before my operation) for any proper walking.  Don’t ask me how I feel – right now I feel ok but I’ll update you tomorrow!

So where do I go from here?  The plan is to continue riding four times a week (building up both of our fitness), try to get out on my bike and do yoga at least once a week respectively, to carry on with running/jogging/walking/motivating children club (IF I feel ok tomorrow) and to make sure EVERY day I do enough steps.

Ride And Drive!

Sadly the riding I’m doing isn’t exactly the kind I have been so missing but it is something.  In Week Six – (Partial) Freedom I mentioned that my physio suggested I try cycling.  I couldn’t quite face wobbling around on a bike and inevitably ending up on the floor.  Luckily a wonderful friend has lent me a turbo trainer so my recently neglected bicycle is now installed in the living room.  With each rotation of the left pedal my new hip gives a little click feeling but it seems to be ok.  I’m going to slowly build up my cycling time to get these muscles working!

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I am also very much back driving.  The first time I drove on the roads I just went down the road to the yard (a five minute or so drive).  I felt quite panicky, there were motorbikes chasing me down the hill and then on the way home I had to do what felt like a million hill starts in slow moving traffic.  Aside from the slightly dodgy first drive, things are back to normal driving wise.  With the extra freedom that comes with independent travel also comes a bit of anxiety; I am quite nervous of walking in busy places worrying that someone might knock me over and I generally feel a bit vulnerable being alone.  I’m sure this too will pass and I will get back to being strong and independent!

I’m so desperate to ride Pea again.  The other day I climbed over a gate and thought that if I could straddle a gate, I could probably get on a pony.  I have set myself the restriction that until I can do everything myself (bring her in, turn her out and muck out her stable) I shouldn’t be riding.  On Tuesday I made a leap towards this; I got to the yard and Pea had been on a ride so she was in her stable.  I left my crutch by the stable, took her to the wash area, hosed her off and then took her out to her field.  Walking crutchless when you’ve got a pony to help at any sticky points is all fine until they spot a tasty bit of grass..  The other problem was that when I had turned her out, I had to walk back to the yard with nothing to help me.  I was fine but not particularly straight and smooth.  I also had to stop lots of times to rest!  Not sure what I would have been like if I had ridden as well but I guess I will find out when the time is right!

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