For the past eight months I’ve been obsessed with fitness. I’ve spoken about it being a big part of me feeling like I’m kicking Multiple Sclerosis’ ass and it’s completely changed my life for the better.
It was first suggested by my Doctor who informed me that the city gym had discounts for people with disabilities. I only paid $25 for six months. What did I have to lose? What did I have to gain? More than I had to lose, it was a no brainer!
When I first joined I went for literally ten minutes each day and left, gradually increasing the time each time I went. Today I’m at the gym for an hour four times a week and physical therapy twice a week.
Why physical therapy? My legs have become increasingly weak this past year. Standing to bathe my dogs in the sink I have to pull up a chair. Truth be told, I had already given up on my legs and in addition to that I thought I injured my knee. I ended up going to an urgi care where I was happily diagnosed with arthritis. I was so relieved to “just have arthritis”! That was short lived when it was later confirmed by a Radiologist that it wasn’t arthritis but indeed from MS which led me to physical therapy. I’m enjoying physical therapy and my main goal is to be able to ride my bicycle this Spring. (If you asked my physical therapist what his goal for me would be, it would be to keep me walking). The great thing about cycling is it’s not walking, requiring a different type of effort than walking does and I love it. Cycling makes me so happy. Just five months ago I was cycling fifteen plus road miles and I’m now getting worn out on the physical therapy stationary bike. I also think it’s very boring to be honest. Time will tell.
Don’t ever feel like you’re too out of shape, too old, or too unwell to start working out. I’ve met so many people who are living with chronic illnesses or recovering from life threatening illnesses at the gym who are making progress every day. Don’t be self conscious either because everyone is just trying to better themselves and be the best they can be.
It’s never too late to feel better.
Often times I’m asked how can you exercise if you’re already fatigued? (MS fatigue is brutal). Because I want to fight this the only way I know how. It does more for me both physically and mentally than any medication. I don’t know exactly how it improves the fatigue but I do know exercise increases feel good endorphins and other natural feel good brain chemicals that give us a sense of well being. Don’t get me wrong, it’s an effort getting to the gym. I’m exhausted leaving my house but once I’m there I blast my music and I’m a “beast”. At least in my mind I am…..a beast that IS kicking Multiple Sclerosis’ ass. Maybe that’s why I love it so much, for that feeling alone.