Parts of this post were originally published on June 23, 2008. It has been updated to reflect new findings.
I wrote this in 2008:
Exercise. I do feel better when I am doing it regularly, but every time I stop for an exacerbation, it takes so much out of me to start again. And there are conflicting schools of thought on whether it is better to force my way through the exacerbation or whether I should give in to the fatigue at that time.
As of today, I have found no evidence that if you do responsibly push through fatigue you could do permanent damage. Currently, the thinking is that your body knows best. So do what feels best to you.
I am now getting on the elliptical machine everyday. It's kind of like a stair-stepper with moving handles so I am pumping my arms as well. It allows a bit of stability while I am moving and I like to imagine I am walking unassisted.
I can't remember why I stopped doing this. I am pretty sure it was not because it got too hard. And we still have the equipment, but it is tucked away behind heavy furniture. But I do think I would like to try again on it. To be more disciplined and mindful about it this time.
My therapist recommends that we don't exercise before bed because vigorous exercise is stimulating and can interfere with a body's ability to fall asleep. I, however, am exhausted by this tiny bit of exertion so exercising right before bed for right now allows me to take advantage of that exhaustion.
As I have already admitted, this is still not a problem for me. Vigorous anything is not my problem, neither is falling or staying asleep.
I am hoping that as I get my stamina up, I will no longer be exhausted by it and thus will have to schedule exercising for some other time of day. Until then, I am working on increasing the time I can stay on it. I am currently only up to about two minutes, but hey, I started at thirty seconds.
Again, I have no excuse for stopping. As specialists say, doing something is better than doing nothing. Also, recent studies have shown that exercising, repeated regular movement over time, tends to have a cumulative effect.
What's my passion?
My favorite way to workout is still the pool, but I have stopped going up there for right now...
Recently I came across the idea that to find types of exercise you like, examine what you liked to do as a child. For me that led to remembering bicycling around town, hours spent on a friend's trampoline, practicing at swim team, going roller skating and horseback riding, taking stretching, yoga, gymnastics and dancing classes.
And regarding the idea of activity, this is proof that I do not hate exercise. As children we never viewed it that way. My "a-ha" moment!
I can consider these as all part of my motion, the cumulative effect. And even though now I'm in a wheelchair, I still need to move. So I resolve to re-work some of these ideas to find things I would like doing now consistently. To build a "chain of habit."
Therapists often say that the hardest thing about an exercise routine is starting and then sticking with it. So as Warren Buffett is fond of quoting, "The chains of habit are too light to be felt until they’re too heavy to be broken." And as Jerry Seinfeld says, just "Don't break the chain."
Nothing found here should be considered medical advice. Please consult your doctor before making any changes.