I must ensure exercises become a routine activity

I must ensure exercise becomes a routine activity

Going for my daily walk is now routine

18 April 2020. The coronavirus lock down started at the end of March. Our lives were then thrown into chaos. Everyone had to find a new routine, a new rhythm and this includes me. I made a simple promise to myself. I need to take more exercise and I must ensure the exercises become a routine activity. Now regular exercise plays an important role in my life and I feel so much happier, healthier and content.

I’ve always been full of good intentions

Exercise always makes me feel better. I have decided to use it to structure my new lock down life. For years MS has steadily nibbled away at my active life. Today even a 75 metre walk down the hill to the nearest shop and then back home is out of the question. Charging up the stairs 2 at a time or running to catch a train. Hmm, now just a memory of 20th century life.

Where do I start

The alarm wakes me up at 7.30, no need to get up any earlier, privilege of medical retirement. I start the day with a half hour burst of Today on Radio 4 through my headphones and some stretching exercises. Now I’m wide awake and ready to go.

The next bit is not so easy

Next I steady myself with my zimmerframe. I move up on to the balls to my feet and back down. I challenge myself to twist my trunk and look behind me on each side. Sounds easy eh, balance is a big problem. I must concentrate otherwise I fall back onto the bed.

I finish with an aerobic exercise, never easy with advanced MS. So I sit on the loo seat and pretend to punch a punchbag. I do this 50 times with each arm alternately as fast as I can then 5 deep breaths. Now I repeat this four more times.

Walking outside

I bet very few of you think about walking. You will just get up and walk without thinking, not so easy for me. I am darn sure that most of you can run though maybe not very far. Every afternoon I go for a walk with my rollator, I think it enjoys the exercise. Its in a quiet cul de sac, just 10 metres from the house. I don’t think about it, I just do it.

Exercises become a routine activity

When I started 3 weeks ago it was an enormous effort to walk the length of the cul de sac and back, about 100 metres, 3 times. When I returned home, I had to sit down and rest for half an hour. 25 days later I can easily walk 3 ½ lengths. My goal is to steadily increase the distance to as much as five or even six lengths every day.

Interesting bit

When I start exercising, my brain recognises this as stress and releases hormones including endorphins. Endorphins reduce the discomfort of exercise, block the feeling of pain, and give a feeling of euphoria. The release of endorphins is addictive, and more exercise is needed to achieve the same level of euphoria over time.

Why I do it

The daily walk is much easier when the sun is shining. Every day I now have an inner glow of satisfaction and achievement. I even look forward to my daily walk and I’m not a sporty person. Now my daily exercises are an important part of my life like brushing my teeth or cooking supper.

Endorphins are in there some where but my goal is to prove to myself that I can do it. Put another way it is use it or lose it. Using it makes me a happy bunny.

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April 2020

4 responses to “I must ensure exercises become a routine activity”

  1. Allison says:

    Thank you! You have inspired me to get out of a rut. I had been exercising but stopped. Now I will take my rollator out to “walk” it! I like that!

    • Hello Allison,

      Yup I was in a rut as well until I decided to take exercise a bit more seriously. I do enjoy the punching in the morning, it wakes me up and the walking proves that I can do it, I see it as a challenge

  2. John Cowburn says:

    Hi Patrick, your walking ability is far better than mine, I can’t even manage 20 metres using a frame without stopping, if I try it again straight away my feet just start to drag. I can’t use a rollator as it isn’t secure enough for my balance. However I do a lot of other exercise, mainly sat down – some aerobic and some strength exercises. I’ve got most of them from Youtube created by long term wheelchair users, one is particularly good, exercising for 20 mins – here’s a link to it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qbFvZEPTXDk&list=PL2JgiSEy6B2gMHR4QOdKVusheXiiZaxgt&index=9. other stuff is using dumbells and tension cords attached to a door.
    Your link to Gimme Shelter – it is easily my all time favourite Stones track and is in my top 5 favourite tracks of all time. It still sounds as fresh today as it did back in 1969 and still sends a shiver down my spine! Fabulous! John

    • Hello John,

      I had a look at the YouTube video and I will probably take on board some of his ideas.

      Loss of balance is a killer and I think it is all connected with not being able to walk.

      Putting a musical video on my emails is something that exercises the grey matter, maintains interest in music and keeps me amused.

      Keep well.

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