After a couple of weeks off, due to a foot injury, a cold, and a root canal, I am finally back into exercising daily. I’ll be honest: I’m not going as hard as I was going before, but then, that doesn’t mean I’m not pushing myself: by the middle of April, I was going for at least three hours a day, and often four. (Usually it was two hours of hiking, about an hour on a stationary bike, and an hour pumping weights.)
Now, I’m back down to a couple of hours a day at most — though I’m getting faster at doing 10 kilometers on the stationary bike and hitting my 400 calorie mark. While it now takes me just over 40 minutes, I’m slowly increasing the cycling routine to 11 kilometers a session, and only doing it every second day (alternating with hikes). I’m also doing the weight training in a more rational way — working upper body one day, lower body the other, and abs both days since that’s my weakest area. I’m also paying very close attention to my progress with each specific exercise.
(It’s paying off. Now I can really see a change in the definition of my muscles in all the areas I’ve been working. There are a few I’ve been neglecting, which I’ll address one by one as I figure out good exercises for them. Abdominal muscles for now, then other areas.)
Another thing that’s really helped is that I’ve finally started using my neti pot. I know, I know, everyone’s using one these days. I ordered one about two years ago, and the little booklet of (very complicated yoga-breathing) instructions for how to properly use it scared me off, and then I forgot about it. But with all this exercising, and with the wonderful warm spring and all the flowers I couldn’t even smell, I decided to get it out and try it using some simpler instructions I found on Youtube.
The results have been spectacular. I can breathe through my nose, I can actually smell stuff sometimes — not always so wonderful, I was reminded as I passed a public bathroom while hiking on the mountain, but still — and the congestion I’d basically grown used to is gone. I’m still thinking about getting my nose straightened, and having a minor operation on a polyp that has caused the congestion and olfactory impairment, but the neti pot has essentially opened up a whole world of scents and experience for me. It’s great, and for anyone with chronic congestion issues, I highly recommend one: it’s like rinsing out your sinuses, and if you do it daily or semi-daily, it makes a hell of a difference!
If you travel a lot, invest in a metal one. I’ll be bringing mine on my trip this summer, though I wonder slightly whether the FTA inspectors are going to be all, “What’s this?” with the pure NaCl packets. (The water you irrigate your sinuses with should be saline, it makes it much more pleasant and effective. ) Which reminds me, I need to see if I can find some more of those packets domestically… or else a clearly marked container of the stuff. Here’s hoping nobody has put salt on the “no-carry-ons” list for international flights, or domestic flights within in the US…