It’s been over a year since I stopped playing soccer/sports and it’s been quite difficult adjusting to the non-impact lifestyle, but I’ve got to say it was the best decision.  I have had a significant decrease in my back pain and overall increase in wellbeing.   I do miss playing sports with a group of women and sharing that drive to perform and compete at a high level though.  However, having a steady training and fitness regime my entire life has driven me to find some form of exercise that I can keep up with and keep me energized.  Swimming isn’t really an option as it requires too much twisting, which KILLS my back… so I’m now resorting to spin classes about four times a week and light to moderate weight training two days a week.  I’ve tried outdoor cycling, but I move around so much on the bike to stretch out my back muscles that I know I’m eventually going to take a major spill.  I can also feel every little bump on the road and most of the time it’s too painful on my back.  Spin seems to be a healthy medium – I get to run (well… not exactly run) myself stupid while experiencing extremely little (or NO) pain!!  However, you can only force yourself to ride in a cycling studio while staring at a wall for so long… (My personal best is 35 miles in less than 2 hours, but that required a LOT of music).

The way I see it, eating healthy and staying fit is basically the only control I have over what happens to my back/body in the next 50 or so years.  My back tends to get extremely tight and sore if I sit around too much, so it’s pretty easy to keep up with an exercise regime.  The main difference is that I’m now working out and eating better in order to prevent future back/health issues, rather than just training for sports.  The discs in my back are going to get worse; it’s just a matter of when will they get to a point where I’m no longer able to be active?  With all that said, my challenge now is to implement this lifestyle with a job that requires me to be at my desk for most of my nine-hour work days.

I’m also a true believer in EVERYTHING in moderation and I most definitely “Live to Eat”!  I eat healthy about 90% of my diet and I don’t deprive myself of anything.  If I’m really craving something indulgent I’ll eat it…. just with a bit of portion control.  Sometimes that can be REALLY difficult to do in an office.  Always having my own snacks on hand and having frequent snacks throughout the day gives me tons of energy and actually makes me crave healthy foods (apples anyone?… my FAV).