It’s Workout Wednesday time! It’s a chance for me to post about my progress with fitness. I’ve had M.E. (Myalgic Encephalomyelities or incorrectly titled Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) since 2005. When it first began I was in the 5-10% ability range – bedridden, unable to sleep, unable to tolerate noise, unable to do much of anything except lie inert in a dark room.
As you can imagine, muscle wasting occurred and then I developed a blood clot. This blood clot went unnoticed until it travelled into my lungs and split into three blood clots. Such fun! The pulmonary embolism prompted me to get my body moving and now I’ve been building my strength back up, one workout session at a time.
Today I’m going to wax lyrical about the gym! I have joined it!
As you can probably tell, I have joined up with the gym and I’m enthusiastic about it. Who would have thought? The reason I would never have thought is because I frowned on the notion of paying to exercise. Don’t worry, it’s not an elitist view, I like to think I’m not that up myself. I hope I’m not. Someone please tell me if I am…
Moving on… I think if you really want to exercise and be fit (not including the severely ill and disabled), then go and do it. Get off your butt and walk, jog, buy a mini-trampoline and jump, go swimming, buy a skipping rope, do some star jumps, run up and down some stairs, use milk bottles for weights, go bike riding, go rollerblading/skating, do some squats, walk up your driveway, just do something!
Granted some of those things you need to pay for in the beginning, such as purchasing a mini-trampoline, but my point is you can get moving for free. I didn’t have any equipment when I began and now I can take part in fun runs (I never thought that would have happened either!). I began by walking up our stairs. Guess how many stairs we have. Four. Four stairs and I’d walk up and down them as many times as I could. Once a day, to twice a day, and so on. For free.
Saying you can’t afford to be fit, thinking you need to join up with a gym and need equipment, is one of the most pathetic excuses I have ever heard. You don’t need to pay to exercise and I stand by this.
Why join the gym then and why am I enthusiastic about it?
The enthusiasm is mostly due to really enjoying it and the rest is being able to. The gym is not inexpensive so I have to commit regularly to it. I am happy about that. There’s also the benefits of being able to spend more time with my partner, a regular member of the gym, being able to use a bike until I can deal with riding beside a road (klutz plus traffic can never be good), and then I can further my strength training with all of those weight machines. So many weights!
I’m not interested in going to extremes like the muscle junkies who do weights in front of the mirrors, something of which I find oddly amusing, but I want to tone every muscle in my body. After years of muscle weakness and the risk of being at the mercy of someone stronger than me, I want to be able to get all my strength back and then some. I am not interested in looks, I am interested in being stronger and healthier than I have ever been, as well as never being physically taken advantage of ever again.
I learnt plenty of self-defence moves when I was younger and actually used them, but with muscle weakness, being proficient with self-defence results in nothing. You can try, but you can’t execute moves you need. I’m much better now, I am holding my own, but I know I can go further.
As for paying to exercise, the majority of the activities I listed earlier are cardio based. You don’t need to pay to get your cardio into shape. I see the gym as an extension and a means to build strength beyond cardio. Granted you can do that at home as well, but if you don’t have the time or wherewithal to create a strength-building environment from what’s around your home, then the gym might be the place to go.
I realise there’s varying reasons for someone to join a gym and we know what mine is now. Strength and fitness. I love it. I’m getting used to not making eye contact, guys traipsing around in too-short shorts in front of the mirrors, and not caring what I look like when doing some leg weights to the point where I look forward to the gym. I never thought I would. I do enjoy being active, I was always a walker, but I never thought I’d give a shit about weight training and exercising on such a regular basis. Goes to show how much illness can change your life.
The next step could be sports, but lets not go too crazy now. I have my limits.