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.
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?