Thursday, October 11, 2012

Exercise Makes a Difference When You are Chronically Ill..It Is Working For Me

From YouTube with Winnie the Pooh doing his stoutness exercises

Sometimes when I look around at the others at the gym, all I see in front of me are images of live versions of Barbie and Ken dolls. Me, I feel like Winnie the Pooh doing his stoutness exercises. I feel fat compared to the beautiful people around me. I still have baby fat on me. For those of you that don’t know what that is, it is fat that has never left after you have had babies. That’s pretty sad as my baby will soon be 25.

Let’s face it most of the people at the gym are the beautiful people. They are young; they are fit and trim. The good and the bad news are most of them got fit and trim through exercise. That means it is possible for other people to get fit too.

I’m middle aged woman who is overweight and I walk with a cane. Just walking with a cane alone makes me feel like I am 20 years older than I am. I haven’t been able to exercise because until recently they didn’t know why I was having so much pain (Mixed Connective Tissue Disorder) and the need for multiple operations. If you are having chronic pain and the doctors don’t know why, it is almost impossible to get that pain controlled so that you can do things. Having pain takes an enormous amount of energy. Medications and lack of Vitamin D caused me to gain mega amounts of weight which not only made it difficult to exercise but also embarrassing.

Yes, there are some other ancient relics around the gym but when I go there are few to no middle age persons there (That is because they are productive and have jobs). I’m disabled and well and I won’t say I don’t have a job because I do; my job is to work on improving my health.

However, a strange thing happened to me at the gym. I was having trouble swimming due to my knees. I discovered to my chagrin that it was my arms that were mainly propelling me through the water and not my legs. After doing a hard workout on my legs, I went to the hot tube. There I met a delightful man from Russia who was slightly older than I am. Let’s call him Sergei. We exchanged pleasantries and the reasons we were at the gym. He was there because he was a trucker with back pain. I told him I had an auto immune disease and was “rehabbing my joints and trying to slim down and trim down”. He said, “Why you need to slim down. You are beautiful. Women like you are considered most beautiful in Russia”. We talked some more and then I left for a cool down crossing down the length of the pool.

I must admit, I have been feeling better physically because of the exercise that I have been getting. I have noticed my legs are getting thinner. My waist is a bit smaller. But the biggest difference is that I am having less pain from my Mixed Connective Tissue Disease, less depression due to the happy healthy hormones released with exercise (endorphins), and fewer migraines.

Ok, maybe there won’t be a Sergei at the pool commenting on my looks every day nor would I want there to be. That would just be creepy. But maybe, just maybe, the doctors are right (ok, miracles happen. They can be right once in a while just like the weatherman). Exercise is good for those who are chronically ill.

Today, I took a real look in the mirror (the thing I’ve always been afraid I’d crack) because Sergei’s comments gave me the confidence to do so. I gave myself an accurate appraisal and I even started to feel better about my shape. Yes, exercise does pay off. I’m even looking at going to my next session. Wait a minute, did I really say that? I have to get my head examine.


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