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Building a Foundation


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So last year I started doing the "beginner's workout" and was doing well and seeing results.  Unfortunately, I found myself having to get body work done because I was getting tension headaches and my back was hurting me.  I finally consulted with my doctor and he told me as much as I was so ready to jumped into the NF workout that my body is not as ready as I think it was.  Due to a medical condition I have, he explained it would be best to build a foundation first by doing activities that aren't jarring and high impact. He said after some time working out this way that I should be able to really workout the way I want to.  So far I have been going to the gym every other day and doing 10 minutes on the treadmill, elliptical, and a stationary bike.  Ellipitical has been kicking my ass! but I am slowly getting better.   But I was wondering if anyone had any ideas to amp it up but still stay within my current limits? New things to introduce? As said I cannot do anything that is too jarring, running is included in that.

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When you say "jarring" what do you mean?  In my mind it means anything with impact, which means that you can do controlled exercises such as isometric holds and bodyweight exercises, as long as you aren't overdoing it.


I would focus on bodyline drills such as RKC Planks and hollow body holds.  You can also do Pushup and Squat progressions.  If they are too much, move to an easier version.  Do pushups against a wall, if that's all you can do.  Squat to a stool, if that's all the further you can go.  It's fine.


Skip the running, skip the jumping jacks, burpees, etc.  You want a slow, controlled strength progression.  There are a bunch out there.


You say you've been visiting your doctor for tension headaches- have you had your posture checked by a physical therapist?

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I'm also unable to do high impact exercises. I've already ruined (and replaced) one knee so in order to keep my real parts :) my ortho okay'd the elliptical.

After warming up at a slow level 1 for 5 min (forward and backward), I jack up the level to 16-18 which increases heart rate. I stay there for a short minute or two and then lower it back down bringing my heart rate down. I do this repeatedly for 30 min (or so). It feels a lot like walking in sand up a steep hill.

Basically, intervals on the elliptical. I do not use the handle bars or arm bars at all.

Its my preferred method of cardio before just walking.



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Three 10-minute sets on three different cardio machines doesn't sound like much of a workout.  Might make more sense to just do 30 minutes on one machine, and then switch to a different machine next week.  Or skip the gym and go for a walk.


Other low-impact activities include yoga, tai chi, qigong, etc.  Also swimming.


I recently read a study that found the only proven preventor of recurrent back pain is exercise.  Oddly, it doesn't appear to matter what KIND of exercise you do, only that you do some.  Probably has something to do with forcing people to move, because the main cause of back pain is sitting too much.

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Yoga is a perfect bridge to being able to work out regularly.  It's non-impact, most of the poses can be done supported or with props as you're learning, and it works to make you stronger and more flexible in a way that is basically opposite anything that can cause a tension headache.  There are even poses that can get rid of some headaches.  It's also gentle enough and low paced enough that you can do yoga on your rest days and still get in the cardio you already make a habit of.


Good luck!

Easeful, Peaceful, Useful... "An easeful body, and a peaceful mind, allow you to become a useful person" -Swami Satchidananda


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