Monday, February 27, 2012

Conquer The Pain, Exercise It Away

Image by Colin Brough

Life Before Lupus

Before getting sick, I used to go for long walks every day. Walking 5 miles or more was nothing for me. I really enjoyed it. If I was craving something to eat, I would walk all the way to the grocery store, pick it up, and walk back. When I'd get a paycheck, I'd walk to the bank. I'd walk to the park. I visited the antique store all the time.

Since then, I don't exercise at all. The thought of it is just painful. Lying down is painful. I've let my lupus control my activities and I stopped being okay with that when I stepped on the scale and realized I had gained almost 30 lbs. My clothes aren't fitting right anymore and my self confidence has plummeted. It is time to make a change.

AFEP

My city offers exercise classes for people with arthritis. It's $12 bucks a year and I can go three times a week. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I figured this would probably be the best route for me to take. I don't want to get a gym membership, because gyms are hothouses for germs. I'd get sick trying to get healthy. I also didn't want to do anything that would be too intense for my sore, achy body. So why not work out with the city's little old ladies where I would fit right in?
English: Arthritis Foundation Logo
Arthritis Foundation Logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I went this morning, walked up to the front desk, and said, "I'm here for the Arthritis Exercise Program". The lady at the front desk looked so shocked, I almost burst out laughing. "I know, I'm young." She told me what room it was being held in and I marched on in there. Well, it was more like dragged my achy body in there.

It was a wonderful class. Arthritis Foundation  Exercise Program. "Designed for those with any form of Arthritis". Here is what the pamphlet they gave me says:

"APEF is designed to increase flexibility and mobility. It is not designed to be a cardiovascular work-out."

It's great because most of the exercises are done sitting down. Since I have very little stamina anymore, this is great. And when the class first started, I thought, "Oh. This is going to be way too easy for me." Uh, no. Some things were very difficult for me to do. Like this one exercise where you sit on the edge of a chair and lean back until you lightly touch the back of the chair, then return to an upright position. It also happens to be my favorite exercise. I have so much lower back pain, this made me feel like a new person.

Jackson Haines, considered to be the father of...
Jackson Haines, considered to be the father of modern figure skating. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I am definitely going back for more. If I felt that good after one hour long session, imagine how I'll feel if I go 3 times a week. And I really can't wait until I work up to more vigorous exercises. Maybe I'll figure skating again. And hiking. And I really want to go rock climbing. And I really (*Keeps blathering about all the things I want to do*).


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