Last year I was kicked out of physical therapy, which was my primary form of exercise at the time, because well...I got better. Before that I did Crossfit, I don't know if that was part of me being in physical therapy though. I just had chronic neck and shoulder pain. The physical therapy, consisting primarily of gentle upper body and core exercises, was fairly effective for that. I was disappointed though that it didn't seem to do much for my posture.
I have to admit that this part of the story is where I get lazy. I wanted to really work and hang out with friends more and devote less time to working out, so when I read about the 7 minute workout version of HIIT (High intensity interval training) I got pretty excited about that. I started out with a modified more gentle version and then gradually added more intensity and some randomness through Sworkit. And now it's been a little over a year.
So first the good
- When I was consistent with it, it seemed to prevent the neck and shoulder pain.
- My muscles didn't totally atrophy.
- It wasn't very stressful.
- It didn't take up much of my time.
- I didn't totally hate it.
Then the bad
- I also haven't built much muscle that I can notice. I don't really feel stronger either.
- It can't really be scaled up effectively to adjust for greater caloric intake. I increased calorie intake because of writing about restaurants and this brutal winter I worked from home more often (my regular commute is walking), which led to the kind of gains I didn't want, which was fat.
- My posture looks the same.
So I'm probably going to have to put greater time into something else, like weight lifting or swimming. I think it can function pretty well if you have a more systematic exercise program and you just have a short interruption where you can't devote a lot of time to exercise but want to maintain some of its benefits.