Playing through the pain

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 18, 2004

GEORGE MAHL – Sports Editor

One thing that can happen while even not working out is that muscles can tighten. That is what happened to me when I was sitting on the couch at a co-workers house the other day. I was watching television when all of a sudden my calf in my left leg unexpectedly tightened up. I was in so much pain that I could barely walk around the house. My co-worker said to me put your foot on the table to stretch it out. I did just that and it felt fine a couple of hours later. The next day, which was Friday, I went back to my workout’s over at Shannon’s Health and Fitness Center.

After I was riding the Elliptical, I got on the treadmill and walked on that for 20 minutes. During this time, my trainer Karen figured out that the reason why my calf tightened up was because I was walking on the treadmill at a speed I usually don’t walk at. I believed that I was walking at 4.0 mph instead of my usual 3.7 mph. It may not seem like a big difference, but believe me it is.

I woke up Monday morning with my lower back hurting but my calf muscle feeling fine. I did not put anything on it, I just stretched it more than I usually do. Instead of doing around 12 minutes on the Elliptical, I managed to go for 17 minutes. That is a sense of accomplishment in itself.

After a few minutes on the treadmill, I did a new stretching exercise. It was almost like doing a push up, except I left my body elevated in the air the whole time. This exercise is excellent for getting all of your muscles involved.

I found out something interesting after doing stretching exercises. My trainer, Karen, over at Shannon’s Health and Fitness Center said the stereotype of doing situps as way to beat the battle of the bulge is wrong.

“You are wasting air and time if you do that. You need a cardio workout to really do your body good,” she said. She also said that lifting your leg to try and burn fat from your leg is wrong.

“If that were the case, then we would all be pencil thin.” I found that statement to be very amusing. After that, I went to the weight room and did leg lifts and squats with extra weight this time. I hope I don’t feel it in the morning.

Until next week, be good to yourself.