Round 8: Tai Cheng, Day 1: Recovery Summer

Tai-Cheng-300x300It’s been nearly a month now since I turned off the DVD player and exhaled my last yoga Om. And it’s been a month and a half since I last held a tennis racket.

Since then, I’ve been losing my mind. Frustrated with the lack of progress resolving my lateral epicondylitis (aka: tennis elbow) and unable to take out those frustrations with push ups, pull ups, curls, and so forth, I’ve been reduced to just obsessing about my elbow: Oh, I think it’s getting, better. No, it’s much worse. Errrr, it’s just the same. All three statements are true. Just ask anyone with the misfortune of having asked me how’re ya doin’?

Fortunately, I resolved that I wouldn’t play any tennis all summer. At the moment, it’s not an option to tempt fate anyway. Same with any exercising involving the arm. Hopefully, I will reach the point where the pain is gone and I will then have to have the discipline to continue to leave it alone to let it heal. It’s May 31st, as I write this and I’m having my doubts that this will resolve in time for fall tennis. Frustrating, indeed.

For the past month and a half, I’ve been doing PT rehab moves, acupuncture, cupping, myofascial massage and electrical stimulation of the tendon. I’ve also been using the Thera-Band Flexbar “Tyler Twist” protocol to strengthen and lengthen the tendon. Similarly-afflicted people swear by it. For me? I’ve been “twisting” for 2.5 weeks and the jury is still out.

One thing I’ve learned from my adventures is that from all the tennis and exercising, I was piano-wire tight. Everywhere. Quads, back, neck, triceps, biceps and forearms. And since I’ve been in recovery-mode, I know I face a long summer of continued  rest and rehab.

So, in an effort to soothe my mind and hopefully contribute to a successful recovery effort, I’ve decided to spend the next 90 days doing Tai Chi, via the Tai Cheng program taught by Dr. Mark Cheng.

Tai Cheng is yet another Beachbody fitness program designed for low-impact, recovery and overall fitness efforts. It’s been sitting in a box, an unopened Christmas gift for my wife that was banished to the Island of Misfit Toys. As such, I already had everything at hand, including a cool bamboo desk chair mat on which to stand and perform the moves.

The biggest hurdle to overcome was in my mind: committing to 90 full days of slow movement activity. I intend to supplement with walking, hiking and bike riding.

Once I had come to terms with the prospect of the 90 days, I decided to start immediately. And so today was Day 1.

It felt good to be doing something physically productive. And while today’s 35 minutes were very easy for me, I do not doubt that I will be challenged as I progress. I have trouble doing the Macarena, so I somewhat fear the multi-step moves that are in my future. The fact that today’s moves were easy is entirely due to the leg balance work in P90X-2. And for that I am grateful.

And so, dear reader, be warned: incredibly, this blog may become even more boring than it has been.

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