An image from my MRI; apparently I'm hosting something otherworldly!

Last night I had my very first session with a physical therapist to help repair “several herniated discs” that are plaguing me. During the session, I had to hold back tears at least three times: When he first put me on the stationary bike and I saw how slow I was going; when he tried to get me to stretch on an exercise ball and a searing pain shot across my back; and when he was stretching out my right hamstring and another searing pain shot up past my glutes to my lower back. I wanted to cry because I knew that I’d done this to myself and now my body is in complete disarray.

I’m sharing this to help you understand why our Baobab Wellness Paleo Challenge starts and emphasizes movement and exercise, and not just a diet. I’ve lived a mostly-sedentary existence; exercise was a four-letter word to me. And when I did exercise I rarely stretched afterward. Now I find myself dealing with the repercussions of sitting on my butt watching TV for most of my life. Use me (and that weird alien living up against my spine!) as a cautionary tale. Get up, and get moving, before you’re sitting next to me at a sports medicine facility with a heating pad on your broken parts.

In Monday’s check-in, I asked you to be sure a physician has given you the OK to workout AND that you stretch after EVERY workout, whether you went on a 20 minute walk or you completed a 30-minute high intensity interval training workout. Stretch everything, head-to-toe. At work, take a “stretch break” a few times a day. Practice yoga daily. In essence, I want to be sure that you’re moving around, but protecting yourself from injury.

For more information of proper stretching techniques, contact us on Facebook or in the comments. If you’re the shy type, we’re always accessible at info@baobabwellness.org. Also, tell us in the comments about your experiences with movement and stretching–good or bad. We want to hear from you!