I must ensure exercises become a routine activity
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.
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.
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.