Working Towards Fit

In August I joined a gym. It was my husband’s idea. Heretofore, I’d thought I wouldn’t like a gym unless it had a pool – swimming feels like play, treadmills feel like work. It’s one of those small franchise gyms that have popped up in every town. It’s equipped with everything you need to get your aerobic exercise and body building done in one place. I haven’t tried any of the classes they offer; Zumba, PiYo, Insanity. I’m still intimidated by some of the weight machines. What I have tried, though, is working well for me.

Unfortunately, exercise does increase my headache pain. It’s a challenge to work out knowing I will hurt more afterwards. I’ve handled this in two ways. One, by reminding myself that the pain is a nerve disorder, so it’s not really hurting anything, it just hurts. Two, by working out at night so I can go home and sleep it off. I’m not able to push myself as hard as I’d like, and some nights I just can’t handle exercise at all. Still, any exercise is progress towards being fit.

At my latest primary care check-up my cholesterol had dropped into a healthy range and I’d lost five pounds. My doctor was thrilled that I wouldn’t need meds for the cholesterol, and proud to see that yes, you can get into a healthy range without medicine. I was doing so well, I started thinking not so much about being healthy, but about reaching my ideal weight.

This shift in outlook was a tremendous mistake. I had a rough week, my workout suffered and I starting feeling badly about myself because I wouldn’t reach my weight loss goal. This, only days after setting the goal. I realize once again, that my goal needs to be health, not weight.

So, I encourage you, my readers, to look towards being fit. Embrace your lovely body, with its pain and imperfections. So often, when our bodies betray us we disconnect. We live in our heads and leave the body to its own desires. Reconnect with your body, stretch, open up, move! Even if it’s slow and difficult at first, every movement is progress. Every step gets you one closer to being fit.

It won’t cure you, but it will give you other health benefits and a big boost of self-confidence.

Even Odds: Migraine Awareness Month #3

Trying to keep a balance

There are days when odds are my head pain and related symptoms are going to get me down. Some days I can even the odds for the day. Some things I do help me to work towards lowering the odds for the coming years, not just the coming days.

Things I do on a daily basis:

  • Take care in my meal choices, if I drank too much cola yesterday, I’d better watch it today.
  • Eat when I’m supposed to, not waiting until I finally feel hungry.
  • Lie down for a nap when the pain starts to creep up on me, don’t always weather the storm.
  • Keep the lights dim and the noise level low.

These sound like trivial details, but they add up to an altered life. How can you keep the lights dim while you expect the kids to get lessons done? How do you keep the noise level down but still spend time playing games with friends? I can’t always follow those simple rules. Life gets in the way.

While I’m busy balancing my illness and my life, there are some things I can do to help myself get healthier. While these won’t cure my disease, they may help with the severity and they may prevent symptoms from worsening or new symptoms from developing.

The things I strive to do (but may not always manage) for a healthy life:

  • Relaxation exercises my neurologist suggested. I’ve being doing this nightly and it has helped me to get to sleep at least.
  • Physical exercise, which is a big challenge. I’m not good at taking my exercise nice and easy, but my head can’t handle the pace I’d like to set. So this I am constantly struggling with.
  • Spiritual practice- this is one of the keys to my ability to cope.  I may be doing a small amount daily, but I try to keep God always in my heart and mind.

Truly these three things are beneficial to everyone, not just a migraineur.