I have been very unhappy with how my body performs lately. A lot of it is the recovery from the HSCT, and also the toll MS has taken on my body. But it is also that I have been having a hard time figuring out how to exercise in a way that works for me so that I am not overdoing it.
Running is what I really enjoy, but I got way too tired afterwards and had to rest in the bed for days. Finding out how to be the new me is harder than I have been expecting. You would think it would be obvious, but I always expect more out of myself than possible. I have to adjust physically, mentally, and emotionally.
For me, along with being sure not to overdo things, I also have to not underdo the exercise. Otherwise I just don’t feel that it is worth it and I won’t continue to do it (even though it is worth it.)
I was walking for a while, to not use up too much energy. I started out with very little time. My hematologist suggested starting with just five minutes. I did that and increased it over time to as much as 45 minutes. But I simply could not, or did not, keep it up. I get no joy or feeling of fulfillment from it. Not enough to make me want to do it.
I think I have finally found what works for me as I continue to recover. I downloaded the app C25K, short for Couch to 5K (3 miles). It tells me when to walk and when to run through my headphones. I can listen to music at the same time. For the first week, all I do is start with a five-minute brisk walk warm-up. I then run for 60 seconds, and then walk for 90 seconds. I repeat this pattern for 20 minutes, finishing with a five-minute walking cool-down. The app is designed for someone to build up to running a 5K race. The cool think about it, is that I do not have to increase the running. I can stay at the 60/90 ratio for as long as I need to.
It was just enough to make me feel like I got a good amount of exercise. I was red-faces, sweaty, and breathing hard. But I was not so exhausted afterward that I could not cook dinner for my family. And I really enjoyed it. I got that high you get when you exercise. I have been missing that so much!
My body needs to adjust to it, so I do have to take days off for my knee that gets swollen, and so my blisters can calm down, but I am feeling like I’m getting so much closer to a normal way of living for me; or at least normal enough for me to feel good about life again. It even inspired me to blog again!
I have been loving it so much; I can’t wait to do more! One week down so far, but I will keep it up. I will keep you posted on how I am progressing.