Today I am pleased to feature jewelry designer Heather Hall, who will tell us about the joy of rediscovering movement through physical therapy. Thank you, Heather, for taking the time to share your experience!

I have wanted for a long time to be physically fit and stronger, but due to mental illness, I didn’t find the needed motivation to do anything about it until I started experiencing little injuries that come from being sedentary, lacking the strength in supporting structures to prevent injuries from simple tasks. For example, I injured my knee by scrubbing a shower at a funny angle for a half hour. I started my active journey in physical therapy. Initially I did not get the guidance to really strengthen my whole body and learn how to use my body properly, but then I hurt my ankle stepping wrongly off a log on a hike in the forest. The therapist I worked with recognized right away that I had no core strength. Through beginning a core strengthening regimen, I was taught how to stand properly. It seems so simple until you actually are taught how to do it and then recognize how much stronger you feel just by working with your body the way it is designed. From there I have worked on a few other areas and just recently learned that the next missing key piece is that I don’t even breathe correctly and it is having a significant impact on my back. I have such a lack of strength in my core and my back has been suffering terribly for a long time because of it. It is so empowering to know why and to know that I can remedy this pain just by learning how to breathe and therefore get so much more out of my exercising! I have been working somewhat sporadically for the last 3 years, but in a more concentrated fashion for the last year. It is still very difficult to maintain due to my mental health patterns, however I keep trying to find ways to support myself. I find that going to the gym is the best way for me to have a routine in terms of strength training, but I also take every opportunity to put the body awareness into every moment and that in itself is really isometric practice, and I count that in order to give me motivation to continue trying to change habits and my attitude about my body. I do wish my gym facilitated a buddy system, given that I live rurally and it’s a 20 mile round trip to go to the gym. That does present a bit of a motivational challenge. I have lost over 20 pounds and I feel so much better about myself. I feel stronger both physically and emotionally. I find that on the days I do strength training I have much more energy and I have a huge improvement in mood, even when I am already starting with what I consider a ‘good’ mood. I feel proud of myself and much more in tune with my body. I understand myself more in the physical sense and with that knowledge I feel more grounded and whole. What a wonderful gift!

You can find Heather’s jewelry designs at The Stage Nature Center in Troy, Michigan.