Friday, April 24, 2015

Wait, why does my shoulder hurt? And my leg? And my hip? And my ankle?

This is the year in which I turn 46 years old. It doesn't happen for another six months, but I'm well aware it's coming.

Do you know what's interesting about turning 46? It's that you've moved inexorably and undeniably into the second half of your 40s.

It's like you spend the years from 40 through 45 going up a roller coaster hill, and when you turn 46 you crest the hill and start barreling down the other side. The idea of being 50 suddenly looms large.

All of which is fine, in some sense. I mean, time marches on without any help or hindrance from us. You either try and fight it (and ultimately lose) or you go with it.

I try to put myself into the "go with it" school, but there's one thing I can't help but noticing: Something on me is always a little bit painful. Not hugely painful. Certainly not debilitatingly painful. But there's almost always a little soreness somewhere on my body.

Right now it's in my right shoulder. And the frustrating part is that I have no idea why. I don't recall having used that shoulder any more than normal in the last few days. Yet if I lift my right arm over my head, I feel it in the shoulder.

Once that starts feeling OK, it will be the pesky left calf that flares up during my morning walks. Or a twinge in my right hip. Again, nothing that would seem to require medical attention, just a series of constant annoyances.

As I understand it, this isn't going away, either. It will just get worse. Little by little, the pains will be more annoying and more frequent. It will start being two things that are sore at any given time rather than just one. And they'll start affecting the way I go about performing certain daily tasks.

This is something that will be years in the making, but eventually it asserts its dominance over all of us, no matter what we do.

It doesn't help that I don't strength train. I walk. My heart is healthy and so, I think, are my bones. But I need to lift weights to help my muscles and tendons remain strong and pain-resistant. I'll start that at some point before I turn 50, I promise.

But if I were smart, I would start now. Joints respond well to resistance exercise and I could hold that soreness back a bit better if I would just carve out a few mornings a week for some dumbbell work.

So will I? Again, yes, eventually. When things aren't so busy. (I'll give you a moment to laugh ironically at that statement.)

Of course, by the time I'm able to free up a couple of hours of gym time a week, my memory will be shot and I'll forget to do it anyway. So maybe aspirin and Ben Gay are my only hope at this point.

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