Saturday, May 5, 2012
So, I'm trying to understand my body, my past, and the labels that I've allowed to shape my understanding of me for so long. In a dicussion of my son with Dyspraxia, I realized that I have the same major symptom he has....and Dyspraxia would explain so much of my own challenges with exercise in my lifetime. With Dyspraxia, it's not that you cannot exercise, which is something I've sought to teach my son. It's something you need to be aware of. It helps you understand why your diaphragm starts to hurt with exercise. In my case, I cannot recall ever having that pain in my diaphragm that isn't also accompanied by coughing and gasping....my asthma. In walking this morning to just start moving, I treated the asthma. Eight minutes into the walk, I had that pain in my diaphragm anyway, but no coughing and gasping and wanting to puke. Well, that certainly explains why I would rather poke my eyeballs out than run. Even when I was young and in terrific shape, I preferred gentle exercise. I used to walk three miles every morning, but if I was expected to jog or run it was horrible. I hiked long, complicated mountain trails, but weight lifting had to be built up very, very slowly. In that case, a couch to 5K program is not going to be a good option for me. Running may be something I can do, but it's not going to be something I can jump into immediately. With Dyslexia, you have to build endurance. You have to start slowing, don't stop when you feel the pain in the diapragm per se, but slow down until the pain subsides, and continue to build tolerance every day. Instead of the couch to 5K, I'm going to approach this differently. I discovered this morning that my doggy loves to go for walks. It's a bumpy country road here, so it's perfect for walking. When I headed out the drive-way, Lady Jane came running to me and whined to come with us. The entire time we walked, she kept checking on me. She'll make an excellent companion for my exercise. Plus, the vet told me before that the best thing I could do for my Golden Retriever doggy on her beagle body is to keep her at the lower end of her weight scale so that she can avoid the typical beagle aging issues from the weight. With the Golden Retriever part of her, she's broad and inclined towards the upper end of her weight scale but her poor beagle legs and spine are going to respond just like a beagle legs and spine would for a fat beagle. So, walking with me will be good for her and for me. II typically exercises in high intensity. He stopped when we moved here because it took time away from the family, but he needs to exercise for his health and well being. He also misses going to the gym and pushing his body. Right now, he's walking with me. My legs are something like a third as long as his. Even when I was in great physical shape, he had to crawl to stay at my pace. It's not real exercise for him. However, for now, he wants to be with me. I'm sure he wants to watch over me. Given how shot my lungs are from the asthma, and given what I've realized about the Dyspraxia, I cannot argue that a human walking partner is a good idea for me right now. The goal is to set aside the running training program for now. Every day until Labor Day, I'm going to get up every morning and walk for around thirty minutes. Today, we set the marker for where I will walk to. Given how out of shape I am, I expect it will take more than thirty minutes for the next week or two, but I have a visual marker for my pace. It puts me at 1.1 miles to start out. I'll walk to my marker at my pace, then turn around and go home. When I can do that and it's consistently less than the 30 minutes, then I'll push to a new marker point. On weekdays, II and I will get up at 5:20 and he'll walk with me. By Labor Day, the sun will be rising later around here. I'll have a habit formed, and my lungs and dyspraxia should be rehabilitating. At that point, I'll push my walk time to 6:40 for the school year. The early bus kids have to be at the road at 6:40 to catch their bus. When I send them to catch the bus, Lady Jane and I will go for our walk. They get a LOT of snow in this area. Sometime this winter, I might have to put a treadmill in my bedroom for days that I cannot navigate around the snow. However, I'm going to walk even in the cold of winter. At that point, II will go back to the gym. That's where he enjoys working out, and there's one very close to his job. Once he knows Lady Jane and I have our routine and my lungs are working better, then he can go work out and shower there, and leave Lady Jane to watch over me in the mornings. Having her expecting to have her morning walk will be as much a motivation to keep me going as having him to nudge me out the door this summer once I'm in the habit of it. I can re-evaluate later and possible add more exercise. However, I'm not doing this to get into shape. I'm not doing this to lose weight. I'm doing this because aerobic exercise is one of the few things you can do to improve asthma. I need to rehabilitate my lungs. This is something I can do. I need to respect my body. I need to recognize that exercise and well being is not a one size fits all proposal. I've always known that I do better with walking, hiking, dancing, and slowly building weight training. I've just accepted the explanation that I do better with this because I'm still lazy and out of shape even when I'm consistently exercising and in shape. Now I realize, I do better with this style of exercise because I am a unique individual with unique challenges that I need to acknowledge and accomodate for. It's not out of shape to walk three miles a day. It's simply NOT. I wasn't out of shape simply because it hurt to run those three miles when I could walk them in an hour. So, I'll honor my body and realize that exercise can look any number of ways for different people. This is how it needs to look for me. Walking is aerobic if you walk at least a mile. It still rehabilitates my lungs without running.