I’m not sure if this belongs here or somewhere in medical tests. I suffered a lower back injury a few weeks ago doing something cliche like shoveling snow. Recovery was good initially and then I reinjured it. Again recovery was proceeding apace and then I re-injured it yet again (what can I say, I’m young & stupid). This time recovery has been frustratingly slow. Concerned that “recovery” isn’t actually occurring, I started recording some fitness measures. I walked/hobbled a certain distance (the distance from my office to the building where most of my meetings occur). I walked up the steps from my office to ground level. (The elevator doesn’t work anyway.)
I’m pleased with my selection of fitness measures for a couple reasons. Due to an experiment ongoing right now, I have to visit the lab daily (even weekends), turn on a couple things and wait 10 minutes. That’s a perfect time to do my fitness test so it’s convenient and easy to remember.
Second, these two tests feel very reliable. Walking up steps is just about the most difficult feat I can accomplish right now. There’s no faking it, no way to go slower than my maximum, my speed up those stairs is entirely dictated by my back and not my mood. The walk down the street is a little less predictable and I could conceivably walk a bit slower than my maximum but it is honestly hard to imagine. My shuffle is maddeningly slow, so again my mood is probably not going to affect my pace.
Day 1 - 2:00 pm - stairs, 17 sec - walk, 7 1/2 min
Day 2 - 10:30 am - stairs, 18 sec - walk, 8 1/2 min
Day 3 - 11:30 am - stairs, 11 sec - walk (icy), 7 min
Today is Day 3 and it was fantastic to have data that support what I suspected–that I was feeling better. Similarly yesterday I thought I was feeling “about the same or maybe a little worse” than the day before and sure enough, that’s what the data show.
I figure a few days’ worth of data will settle my mind as to whether I’ve done something bad to my back or if it’ll recover.
Assuming I do recover one way or another, of course the next step will be to measure and improve core strength so that this never. ever. ever. ever. happens again! (Raise your hand if you’ve made that oath before.)