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The Healing Effects of Exercise

Friday, August 27, 2010

I’ve been thinking a lot about exercise and about healing lately. This should come as no surprise to those who know about the last ten weeks of my life since my fall.

For the past two of those weeks I’ve been having three/week visits from physical therapists in my home. I take off my big boot and try to move my foot this way and that, curl my toes, etc. (My kitty, Smokey, has been assisting me. I’m not kidding. Whenever she sees me begin my exercises, she runs over to my foot and gently presses her face against the top of it, causing a bit of healthy resistance. It’s “a hoot” as my Texas dad would have said. I don’t think anyone has a short and cute and furry physical therapist as I do.)

All of my life I’ve heard “exercise should be an important part of everyone's daily routine because it reaps so many benefits.”

It always made me feel guilty. It always sounded like so much nagging. Yah Yah. I get it. So why don’t you go exercise. I’m not interested.

It’s not that I didn’t believe those who touted the bounties of regular exercise, but I truly hated it. I found it boring and tedious. I’m someone who doesn’t do anything unless it accomplishes something concrete and pretty immediately obvious. I found that counting 20 sit ups or doing 10 minutes of stepping up and down on a rectangular piece of wood incredibly stupid.

However, when I couldn’t get rid of lbs. that kept creeping up recently – after a lifetime of losing and gaining those lbs. -- I decided to join a gym. At the time of signing my contract I told the lady how much I hated exercise and how it pained me to be trying this option. We laughed about it. But I was bound and determined to give this a try. After all, I’ve avoided it all these many decades.

So I began. I did my workouts in MY way: I’d go in, do the treadmill while listening to a book on my iPod for 10 minutes, go through all the machines quickly for about 5 minutes each, then back on the treadmill for another 10 minutes (more if I get engrossed in the book or a good conversation with a fellow exerciser.) Then out the door! No regrets. Seven days (or at least five) days a week, 30-45 minutes each time. None of this staying hour after hour, none of that for me.

It didn’t take me long to begin to reap the benefits. I began losing not only weight but inches. My pants started falling off (embarrassing in public), and I found I looked forward to doing my “power exercising”/characteristically impatient exercising every evening. Amazing.

Now, after my fall, and the only exercising I do is trying to motor myself around my apartment and wiggle my toes, I really miss the gym. I miss those stupid machines. And I’ve begun to realize that exercise not only gave me a firmer body. It gave me a sense of wholeness.

These days it’s helping me heal.

Hmmm. Exercise to heal. What a concept.

They say that people who exercise tend to live a longer, healthier life, and also feel better about their well being in general. I hate to admit it, but that’s the feeling I got from my kind of exercising from almost the first week. I didn’t have to do the boring stuff, I could do quick and dirty and love it.

They also say that exercise can help relieve stress. Ditto.

In addition, I also noticed I felt less pain from my Fibromyalgia and my muscles were getting stronger. My resting heartbeat got down to 59 beats, and that made me feel pretty great.

So, despite all I can do now is wiggle my foot and toes, I still can sense the benefit of exercise. It’s certainly helping me heal, lowering my stress (it makes me feel hopeful that I will walk again soon when I see those digits dancing!), and healing my very soul with its magic.

Imagine that.

Won’t it be wonderful when I can, once again, enter those hallowed doors of my gym!? I know they can hardly wait to see me again…I’m sure they’ve missed me. Right?

Be well,
Margie

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PSSN4FITNESS 9/15/2010 6:04PM

    How wonderful that you are experiencing all of these great benefits from your exercise regimen! Love the positivity! I noticed this too the other day when I had a cold starting up. I was tempted to stay in bed with some soup, but went to the gym instead. The sniffles stopped as soon as my feet touched the treadmill and they haven't come back in the three days since!

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PENGUINROSS 8/30/2010 12:22PM

    You miss the gym. I bet you didn't see that coming. A great change in attitude.

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CATTI53 8/30/2010 11:29AM

    Happy to hear you are improving. I'm not a big fan of exercise either but I miss it when I don't do it. Hope you'll be back at the gym soon....I'm certain they will love to see you again! Have a great week!

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HAPPYSOUL91 8/28/2010 10:23AM

    Very smart kitty, keep up the wonderful attitude!

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COUNTING_DOWN 8/27/2010 10:40PM

    What a good job you did with the dreaded exercise! Your doctor sounds like he is keeping pretty close tabs on you....makng sure you don't over-do it. You will get there again, and all those same benefits will be yours one more time. Good job!

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Staying the course

Saturday, August 21, 2010

My foot has really slowed down in terms of improvement. I've had to go back to using my rollaround and have been told this could take up to 6 months. Well, it's been 9 weeks so far. So I'm simply trying to be patient and stay the course.

I've been great about keeping track of my lower food intake and my own "Other Goals" which have to do with attitude and feelings and behaviors. I'm proud of that.

So I'm staying the course, maintaining my weight loss, and waiting for the day when I can, once again, get back to exercise. Meanwhile, my clothing is getting loser and my habits are getting firmer!

Be well,
Margie

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PEPE865 8/26/2010 5:59PM

  I've been wondering how you were doing. I'm so glad you're healing up. I remember when I had my knee replacements I thought I would never walk unaided again but now I can walk over 10 miles at once-but not too often, please God.

I'm really proud of the way you are managing. I still remember your cry of panic when it happened. Good job!

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PANFRIEDTROUT 8/23/2010 7:06PM

    wow ~ your patience & determination are just great!

I'm sorry you got hurt but am glad to read everything is healing nicely.

Good for you in terms of tracking food & other goals as these are as important as the physical aspect.

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HAPPYSOUL91 8/22/2010 5:31PM

    I think you have the best attitude and by watching what you put in your mouth...well you are a success story. Keep it up and this all will pass soon emoticon

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KARENE10 8/22/2010 11:22AM

    Wow! You have a very good attitude. And doing what the Doc ordered is so important. You DO want to heal correctly. Your clothes getting looser is w-o-n-d-e-r-f-u-l!!!!!! Keep up the great work(I know it can not be easy). emoticon emoticon

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KATESACUTUP 8/21/2010 11:59PM

    As a recap, I fell down a half flight of stairs: twisting my upper body and right side of my body badly -- but these injuries have almost healed; I also broke seven bones in my left foot, one of them in two places. The result since my Father's Day fall, on my way to church with a handful of cupcakes for my Sunday School class...and thusm not holding the rail...is basically my left foot and some lingering bruises and soreness. My breastbone area and muscles near that, are especially sore. Feels like pleurisy, but is just muscles.

My bones are showing that they are straightening out and grafting in my x-rays. However, we don't want to rush this. Just can't, no matter what I want. My body is dictating, and my doctor is following protocol to be safe. We want everything to heal straight and strong.

No weight bearing at all yet. However, I have physical therapists who come to my apartment, since I cannot leave it to go to them--I cannot leave for any reason--and they help me according to the doctor's orders.

Thank you, everyone.

Keep well.

Margie

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CATTI53 8/21/2010 10:16PM

    Your positive mindset is such an inspiration my friend!
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SHERRYTOO 8/21/2010 10:07PM

    Good for you. Glad to hear you are making good food choices, and good habits. You'll be back on your feet (sorry for the pun) before long!


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COUNTING_DOWN 8/21/2010 9:58PM

    I gather you didn't get the go ahead to put some weight on your foot...darn. How about some pool therapy. Is that something that they would allow you to do? Maybe some strength exercises that you can do while seated or lying down?

You mentioned your success at cutting back on food consumption. You might be on to something...easing into a new lifestyle may be much wiser than trying to begin a strict fitness and diet regimen all at the same time.

At any rate...good for you with the looser clothing.

Refresh my memory...what did you do to your foot and how did you do it? It sounds like a nasty, nasty break.

Betty

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SLY_REDUX 8/21/2010 9:35PM

    Attitudes, feelings, and behaviors are the foundation of wellness. If you properly attend to those, the rest falls into place!

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Taking stock

Friday, August 13, 2010

Today I'm taking stock. Sunday is another decade on this earth for me. I had planned on throwing myself a big birthday bash for months. Partly to celebrate and partly to help me feel this is a good thing…getting older.

Now I've decided on giving my party mid September. And I'm not accepting any presents. We'll have a display for the Make a Wish Foundation and a box for people's contributions in lieu of presents for me. Just the presence of, rather than presents from, my friends will be a nice enough gift.

My physical therapy is not progressing. One day I can barely move my foot and it just twitches and the next day I can painfully wiggle it a little, and then the process starts all over again. My mind is telling my foot and toes to move, but the response is not occurring -- very little movement, if at all. My foot looks all shriveled up and does not want to cooperate. I underestimated and was shocked at the damage I did, and thus, I am shocked at the consequences of my fall. I remember falling and saying, "Oh no, this cannot be happening. Just stay upright, just stay vertical, you won't get hurt as badly." Well, I stayed upright, but I was hurt very, very badly anyway.

In addition, my breastbone and muscles emanating out from that area, are hurting tremendously. I believe I hurt that area of my body in my desperate attempt to stay vertical during my fall. Only recently, in the past couple of weeks (it's been eight weeks since the accident) has this been a real problem. I believe it is hurting because I am using my upper body to move my rollaround all over my life's movements, the only way I can navigate.

Although I have the boot on instead of a cast, so I can now take showers, I still have been told NO weight bearing on that foot. So, instead of turning back in my $100/month rented apparatus, I will have to reup again. This means it's been $300 so far.

This is affecting my writing as well. I don't feel as inspired. In addition, I cannot attend any of my club functions nor attend church. I also am a hot air ballooning hobbiest, and I've already missed one big event and will miss another in Natchez in October. Because of the weather here in the South, there is a shorter window of opportunity for good flying. In Austin we practically flew year round. So this effectively means I am missing a whole season.

People come and go, only occasionally, to my apartment, and all are complaining about the beating-down sun and how hot it is. I love heat. It makes me feel alive! I miss the sunshine so much.

Just wanted to share this morning. I'll continue on my path toward recovery, but today it is hard, and Sunday will be harder.

Hope you are well,
Margie
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PENGUINROSS 8/18/2010 9:43AM

    Hang in there! Your blogs are refresing, inspiring, funny and truthful. Thanks for what u do.

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CATTI53 8/16/2010 2:21PM

    Sorry to hear your injury is not improving as quickly as you had hoped. My heart goes out to you being stuck inside instead of being out enjoying the sunshine. Hang in there. I'm certain things will improve for you..... You still have lot's of places to go!!!!
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HAPPYSOUL91 8/13/2010 11:55AM

    You will get through this and it will end. emoticon emoticon

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Where there's a will...

Friday, August 06, 2010

Well, my cast has been replaced by an immense boot. This means two things: small children run screaming from me when I "walker" my way down the street (it looks like a Frankenstein monster boot); but at least they are no longer running away due to my b.o.

Yes, folks, that's right. She can take a shower now. Yes!

No more trying to figure out how to get clean while standing on one foot in front of the sink (how do flamingos do it?) No more trying to get into the bathtub backwards and , again, one-footed. No more fear I will be found in a very unflattering position, splayed across my bathroom floor after slipping while trying to enter the bath water. No more. Yes!

However, walking is still not an option. Even "walker"ing isn't. I tried. I really tried. I pulled pectoral muscles doing so. It's home for me for now.

Still, I remain steadfast. I am going to get out of this boot and walk again…yey, even dance again. Where there's a will there's a foot. And PT says they support me in my motto.

Again, the parallel with my Spark People program is there. What has been hard for me to do has wound up giving me the most reward. Funny that life's often like that. What is important we focus on and, thus, we attain.

I continue to struggle with all the same challenges I did when I started this program in April, but the habits are beginning to become ingrained. Yes!

Be well,
Margie
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

COUNTING_DOWN 8/7/2010 12:34AM

    As I catch up on blogs while I was out of touch, I am glad to see you now posting. Despite your broken foot, you kept sparking. You were making good choices and changing your lifestyle one day at a time. You can now ease back into motion and round out the picture. So glad for you!

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HAPPYSOUL91 8/6/2010 11:14AM

    I know this is slow, but everyday done is putting you closer to your final objective. Cheering for you all the way!

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CAROLYN0107 8/6/2010 3:02AM

    I can relate totally! I have broken bones five times.... three times my legs. NO, I don't have three legs. It is no fun wearing a cast and trying to get around. And another NO.. I was not an abused child!

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KATESACUTUP 8/6/2010 12:55AM

    The alternative I have to keep in mind is that the fall could have been so much worse. So much worse. Thank you for your comment.

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NWCOUNTRYDANCER 8/6/2010 12:51AM

    Glad you are getting better, but sorry it is a slow journey.

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ALL pumped up and lots of places to go

Friday, July 30, 2010

I have so much energy and love of life since I moved to MS in June last year, and especially since I started Spark People in April.

I love the MS heat and skies, and the sunsets…oh, the sunsets. I highly recommend going to a place which fills your heart.

I’m from the Palm Springs area so I know dry heat. In addition, I’ve lived in Austin for a decade, and loved humid heat. To me sunshine is sunshine, and where that is, I am!

Now, we add in Spark People and good health is mine. Really good health. I have noticed a new shine to my hair and face, stronger fingernails, and a better, ever-so positive outlook on life and all it has to offer.

I also highly recommend taking care of yourself. and Spark People has been the key for me.

A positive outlook on life? Well, it pumps you up for your day and each event that takes place along the journey. I have always lived (but it’s been notched up a couple of levels in the past year) that my life’s success hinges on my incredible passion to learn and know all that I can—to collect information in every instance available to me. Add zeal for work, interest in new experiences, love of meeting new people and learning all I can out of those encounters, a true gusto for living…and, it doesn’t hurt, being little crazy in some people’s eyes.

A true enthusiasm. A Tigger-like view of the world. That’s me. It has gotten me into places and experiences I would never have missed. It has gotten me into trouble, but I really wouldn’t change a thing about that either.

I say go vote for life and treat your body well. Give it all the nourishment it needs. Keep it moving. It will reward you beyond measure.

I don’t know about you, but I’m not dressed up with no place to go. I’m dressed up, pumped up, and ready for life. And I have lots of places to go.

Be well,
Margie

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

COUNTING_DOWN 8/7/2010 12:29AM

    What a great outlook!

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PSSN4FITNESS 8/2/2010 12:33PM

    Margie, I am so glad that everything is coming into place for you. I agree that where you live can make a big difference in your outlook and well-being. It is also wonderful to revel in the simple joys of life like the sunshine! I love the Tigger enthusiasm!



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CATTI53 7/31/2010 1:53PM

    When you take care of yourself everything else just seems to fall into place.

Even though it has it's pluses I'm not fond of humidity either as it makes my hair frizz!

Since eating healthy I have noticed my skin looks better, my eyes look brighter and, of course, my nails are stronger (which I'm not thrilled with as I keep them short because I play guitar and I'm always having to file them..lol).

I'm ready for life too!!!!

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KATESACUTUP 7/30/2010 5:59PM

    Just remember, humidity keeps your skin moist. Um, your back moist, your forehead moist, the backs of your elbows moist. You get a glowing complexion...all over!

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HAPPYSOUL91 7/30/2010 12:50PM

    I sure agree with you that a positive outlook pumps you up. However, you are the 1st person I know who enjoys "humid heat", that would sure do me in without a doubt

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Again, it is such a pleasure to read from a writer with enthusiasm....great job

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