Will I go round in circles?

thRecent sustained pain in my right shoulder has made it hard to work, and also to do some of my exercises. Walking’s been tough, too: The freeze-thaw cycle glaciated our side street, and the footpath is as polished as a politician’s promise. Even with ice-grippers on my feet I’m unsteady and fearful of falling.

Between my frozen shoulder and the frozen ground I’ve been frustrated and sluggish. Last week I decided that if I couldn’t walk outdoors, I’d walk inside.

That’s when I started doing laps around the living area.

Yep. I’ve been setting the timer, putting on a CD, and walking around and around and around. The music thus far has been Elvis Costello’s “All This Useless Beauty” but I expect that Billy Preston’s “Will It Go ’Round in Circles” would be more appropriate.

In fact, that song has been stuck in my head a lot lately. Sometimes I sing snatches of it as I walk. Will I go ’round in circles? You bet I will. Over and over for 35 minutes at a time.

After a couple of songs I turn around and walk the other way for a while. Otherwise I get the sensation of a too-tightly-wound pocketwatch.

Walking and waiting

Yes, it feels a little silly. But it has to be doing me some good, right? I’m walking a lot faster than I’d be able to walk outdoors right now, and I don’t have to stop for red lights. (Or moose.)

If nothing else, it’s very stress-relieving. After spending too many hours in front of a computer and inside my own head, the forward (though circular) motion helps me breathe more deeply and unfocus my thoughts.

Or, rather, to focus them on something other than work. Sometimes I spend a few minutes chewing on current projects or mulling over possibilities for new ones. I admire Mr. Costello’s swell (if sometimes confounding) lyrics. I think about DF returning home soon, and the dinner we’ll fix, and whether we’ll light a fire and sit in the living room or sit in adjoining chairs and read in the library.

Or I don’t think at all. I just walk and walk and walk, and wait for spring.

Related reading:

468 ad


  1. Melissa F

    That is great that you are able to take it inside instead of waiting till its warmer out-like someone that shall remain nameless. (Hint: her name starts with a M and ends with an elissa) I also have a small living room so if I were to try that, I would literally be spinning in circles instead of walking. I hope your shoulder gets to feeling better soon. Take care Donna.

  2. I think you are super smart and motivated. I think you are the only person I’ve ever heard of that needs to stop their outdoor walks for moose. 🙂 We don’t get much ice here in Houston, but that makes me a big pansy even when it’s only 40-ish or so…yep, I stopped walking this week, lol. I’ll get back to it tomorrow no matter what (it’s 3am right now, so it’ll have to be tomorrow). 🙂

  3. DebbieJean

    I find that getting up and moving makes me think clearer as well. Good for you on your indoor laps! I hope your shoulder gets better soon. We take our bodies for granted most of the time and only when we are injured do we come to appreciate them. Keep on walking!!

  4. Make sure you switch directions! Our bodies were made for moving, lifting, carrying, doing. We underuse them and then they start to crumble. Good for you for keeping up activity even though the weather isn’t very cooperative. Though your frozen shoulder doesn’t feel like moving I suggest you try to take it through the max range of movement it will allow. I know the pain and stiffness make you want to rest it, but the opposite is really what is called for. I’m trying to imagine coming upon a moose. I can’t.

    • Donna Freedman

      I switch directions every few songs because, yeah, too tightly wound.
      Range of motion is the goal with the various stretches. It’s already improved but I know it’s a long-haul thing. Sigh. But once I have full range of motion I can do strengthening exercises. Yay.

  5. GOOD FOR YOU!! Amazing creativity on your part. And I do hope your shoulder starts behaving itself asap. Yes, any type of body movement helps clarify my thinking; the other benefits of exercise are gravy. In my living room, though, I would have to stop at least twice: dog, cat. Dunno if they would even allow something that different, lol.

    • Donna Freedman

      Or you might trip on your furry friends. Yikes.

      • Already have! Doggle’s a hulking 80+ lbs but still manages to sneak underfoot, following me around, when I’m bopping around the living room to raise my heart rate in a GOOD way. 🙂

        Wishing you a happier healthier shoulder!

  6. So glad I am not the only one who walks in circles in the house 🙂

  7. It’s good that you’re getting some kind of exercise, Donna. It’s been an especially bad winter here in Arkansas and it’s hard to walk in this neighborhood in good weather because of the panhandlers. (I was grabbed by one a few years back.) Fortunately, I live in a third-floor walk-up, so I get a workout just from checking the mailbox. ;o)
    Is your shoulder pain recent or is it an ongoing problem? Please take care and get better soon.

    • Donna Freedman

      It’s “frozen shoulder,” and will get better if I keep up with the stretching and icing. During my annual physical last week the P.A. agreed with that course of action vs. an MRI and all sorts of folderol. A relative’s husband had this and his doc said, “We can treat it aggressively and it’ll go away in 18 months. Or you can do stretching and icing and it’ll improve in a year and a half.”
      When I first moved to Philadelphia I was in a fourth-floor walkup and had to carry a toddler, a diaper bag and groceries up and down. Don’t think I’ve been that fit ever since.

  8. Vicky Fox

    It’s finally raining here, and I do laps from my living room to the bedroom and back. Donna, you are spot on about the walking making the “Fuzzies” go away. Plus, i would never pay to walk on a treadmill when the real thing is so much better 🙂

  9. ImJuniperNow

    With the Northeast buried in snow, one of the local radio stations decided this morning to play the extended version of “Don’t Worry, be Happy”. Part way through, I found myself in my car hurling expletives that would have made Ralphie’s father proud. Everything’s frozen, and everything hurts.

  10. Cathy in NJ

    The building I work in has a 1/10 mile inner loop. I definitely use it at lunch and when the spreadsheet or document has just worn me out. I do a lot of technical writing and getting a lap in makes it easier to find typos.

  11. Hi Donna,

    Makes me miss downtown Minneapolis – miles of indoor sky bridges allowing for nice long walks without going outside in the extreme heat or cold. Brilliant concept. Maybe you could pitch it at the next Anchorage City Council meeting? Could double as a skateboard park!

    Feel better!

  12. Comment from the frozen tundra of Minneapolis (not downtown). I also do laps in a small apartment, but this week got an exercise DVD from the library. Hard to get motivated though.

  13. Hi, Donna. This sounds a bit nuts, but when I was training horses and when they would lose interest (even horses get bored!), we would pull them into figure 8’s to get their attention. I mentioned this to a special ed teacher and she said that this grounds her pupils when they get off track. Now I know you are neither a horse nor a special ed student, but I find that walking in figure 8’s grounds me (something to do with right/left brain connections) especially when I am writing my poetry or in my journal.
    Keep warm. What are you reading? I just finished Walking the Bible by Feilor. Excellent.

    • Donna Freedman

      Because of the layout I’m not able to do figure eights, but I do change direction often enough to keep things lively. The music is a huge help.
      Right now I’m reading “Two Women: A Novel of Friendship” by a Swedish writer named Marianne Fredriksson; just finished another of hers, “Simon’s Family.” Before that it was “Regeneration,” by Pat Barker.

  14. Vicky Fox

    Oy, that got me thinking about someone I know who won’t get up and stay active for more than 1 to 3 hours at a time, has to take a 2 to 3 hour nap after 1 hour of activity every day, and goes to bed before the sun goes down.

    I’d be in a coma if I did anything like that. Makes me want to get up and do even more now.

  15. Pam Orita

    I had frozen shoulder a year and a half ago and responded wonderfully to physical therapy and one well placed cortisone shot. After waiting to see a doctor for 3 or 4 months, I was in denial I had a serious problem, I was able to get back to playing tennis after 4 months of twice weekly physical therapy. I wish you the best of luck in healing your shoulder. There are a lot of good exercises out there and it sounds like you are doing some. Keep it up. Don’t forget to warm up your shoulder before stretching and exercising and then ice it down afterwards.

  16. I have to laugh…all my life I thought the song said, “Willie go round in circles”!

  17. murphath

    Ahhh, the lovely frozen shoulder: the bane of many a post-menopausal woman. Did you know that it is idiopathic (sp?)? meaning they don’t know what causes it. Daughter #1 is a physical therapist so she gave me some exercises to do. Hurt like hell but my shoulder is fine now (took about 8 months). The lateral movement is the most difficult. Had to use a broom handle (cane would also work) to push my arm to the side while lying on a bed. Also used handle to force arms over my head–also while on a bed. Has something to do with the weight of the handle assisting you.

    Daughter also told me that once the one side gets better, the other often gets stuck. That’s why I keep doing the exercises! Don’t want to go through it again.

    Daughter #2 is a doctor and she was trying to create a picture for me so I could understand what was stuck. There are apparently little stringy things that are normally flexible. With frozen shoulder, they actually adhere to the muscle like glue. I swear that once I started to really get into the exercises (3-4 months in), I could hear/kinda feel little pops in that shoulder–usually at night while semi-sleeping (another post-menopausal treat) and lying on that shoulder.

    They both told me that the exercises will speed things along but frozen shoulder usually just disappears much the same way it appears.

    • Donna Freedman

      Those sound like the exercises I’m doing (got them from two university websites — the orthopedic medicine pages) and yep, they hurt. But I am noticing improvement as well as pain. I was using a broom but DF turned up a cane of his father’s.
      I don’t expect instant improvement. Well, scratch that: Of course I expect instant improvement. I’m an American and I have the right to instant gratification. Here’s hoping it takes only eight months.
      Thanks for reading, and for leaving a comment.

  18. Cutie and I got a self-powered treadmill for that same reason. The sidewalks are SO ICY and even while wearing cleats its fullish to try to walk far on them. You can also YouTube basic Yoga videos for more exercise in case the walking is not enough. Yoga helps stretch the body after hours of sitting anywhere 🙂

  19. Good pick on Billy Preston. I knew that a British band called “Six Was Nine” covered “Will It Go Around In Circles”, but didn’t until now who the original artist was. Looked him up on Wikipedia. Quite an interesting cat.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *