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My Body Isn't a Wonderland. It's an Obstacle Course!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Internal questioning dialogue:
Do I count the full amount of exercise minutes even though I had to sit in a chair, instead of standing up to do all of the exercises?
Am I being a cheater?

I only logged 8 min of a 10 min workout today since my foot cramped up so badly that I had to practically stop, drop and roll to get the cramp out. Seemed logical to only log 8 min since the foot cramps are out of my control. Done. No biggie.

Then my mind wandered to physical activities that kind of physically attack you back. i.e. Mud Runs, Gladiator races and other fun runs which are littered with challenging obstacles.
My life with chronic pain is in fact littered with challenging obstacles!

Some days I have use of my hands. Most days I don't. Some days I can put weight on my toes when I walk. Most days I can't due to blisters and ulcers.

I found myself doing exercises from the Spark video library recently [LOVE those things. Thank you Spark for making them free!], and I was getting frustrated with myself when I could not complete the video I had started. This was becoming a common occurrence.
I questioned whether or not I was being a greedy exercise minute hoarder while logging onto Spark.

Here's my conundrum: if the Spark 10 minute seated arm video involves an exercise that my fingers just cannot comply with (Eeks Coach Nicole, you want me to raise my weights over my head when my fingers don't want to hold onto the measly 1 pound weights? That would be a disaster!). So I decided substitute another exercise that I could do for that minute until the exercise rotation changed (bicep curls).

Am I cutting myself short of truly earned exercise minutes due to the swap? It certainly wasn't a healthy goal to turn myself into a red headed unicorn with a Mt. Fuji sized bump on my forehead. I was fully aware that I would have dropped that weight since my fingers were 'no work-ey' that day. So I did something else.

In the wonderful words of the beloved Bernie Mac: "let me break it down like a fraction":

The potato sack race of an obstacle course dictates that one of your legs is compromised, right? I can totally relate. Some days demand hobbling around on one leg since the other hurts too much.

Carrying your partner over your shoulder or doing a Heavy Haul on a Mud Run slows you down considerably, but builds your endurance and strength, right? I go through seasons of swelling and edema in my body (umm, like now). That's additional weight no one wants to schlep around. But you have to try!

Fighting your way through a mud pit that has a vice-grip of your feet (and running shoes! Duct tape them on people!) can't be done at Flo Jo speed. That obstacle wouldn't be discounted, but rather appreciated for the intensity of it.
Constant edema and pain certainly make me feel as if I'm dragging around cement filled feet, kinda like the mud. Eeew.

Ladder walls can't be done gracefully unless you are a giant octopus. Pretty sure I look clumsy at times during many exercises, but I'm always striving for good form.

I've done fun runs and obstacle course races before my illness surfaced to join the party of my life. I still had to train for them, regardless of how I performed come race day.

I try to never sit still if I come up against an exercise (or two, or eeks, even three!) that Ethel says 'no' to. I'll do some shadow boxing or simple isometric exercises (squeeze baby, SQUEEZE!). Maybe a few stiff legged dead lifts and then try to touch my toes (not actually TOUCHING my angry pain-filled toes though, good grief. The horror!). Catch my drift?

Do I deserve all of the minutes I log, and give myself a generous (gentle) pat on the back for a job well done?
I am doing my best with each workout. I am being actively creative if that's even a term.

Or should I nix any minutes that I am unable to do the exact exercise move on the video, even though I'm modifying?

Something to ponder...

Check her out. Olive is flexing her puppy muscles.

'Nuff said
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    emoticon I wish I could take all the pain away!

    1655 days ago
    Honestly, I would accept what you can do in substitute for what you're 'supposed' to do. I mean, there are some things I cannot do. No way can I do any kind of exercise which requires me to put weight on my hands. No way. I substitute.

    You're doing great. Don't be hard on yourself.
    1661 days ago
    I really applaud you for exercising. You deserve every minute that you log. We all struggle with the "is something below what we were once capable of doing..?" question.

    "Or should I nix any minutes that I am unable to do the exact exercise move on the video, even though I'm modifying? "
    * Absolutely not. They count. Exercise is exercise. Modifications are part of exercise routines for that very reason.

    "and give myself a generous (gentle) pat on the back for a job well done? "
    * No, give yourself a full hearty pat on the back (metaphorically of course) for keeping up the good fight when struggling.
    1664 days ago

    Comment edited on: 9/27/2014 1:25:27 PM
    Don't be silly. Of course you get full minutes. Even when you're in a class they tell you to modify what you can't do. I think you should get double credit because you're doing it with the challenge of Ethyl on your back. Hang in there sweetie! Your puppy is so cute! emoticon emoticon
    1665 days ago
  • NUMD97
    Absolutely give yourself the minute credits. Listen, Bren, I have a secret for ya: You DID exercise. You did not throw your hands up and simply walk away. You substituted what you could not do, due to "Ethel", and still did some form of exercise. SparkPeople has a section for people who could only do chair exercises. So, you see, it is valid. Any form of exercise to keep us limber, is good exercise, no matter what. When we can do better, we will.

    Keep up the GREAT work! You are an inspiration to so many, Bren.
    1666 days ago
    Probably you're underreporting! Modification is a critical part of any exercise program for anyone who doesn't want to get hurt. I used to do bootcamp classes with a trainer. It was an invite-only class (he didn't like crybabies). So when I had my shoulder injury, I was going to stop going, but he said, no! keep coming, we'll modify it so you still get as good of a workout, but without injuring you more, I know what to do, don't worry. So I did a modified boot camp, and I can tell you, it was STILL a total butt kicker. Modification isn't quitting. You GIVE yourself those minutes!! Don't cheat yourself. You're amazing because of your modifications - because you mod instead of quit. I adore that about you. You NEVER quit! And you should give yourself full credit. Always. In all things.

    If you really want to know, borrow a heart rate monitor and wear it, you'll see that you're still getting a workout through your modifications (and probably while writhing around with a foot cramp!).
    1667 days ago

    Comment edited on: 9/24/2014 5:06:58 PM
    I think it all comes down to common sense. My personal idea is that what matters is that you take the time and make the effort to do something that will help your body and health. If you do that for x minutes you have every right to log those x minutes. In the end it is not the amount of minutes that matter. It's the actual impact that your efforts have on your wellbeing.
    I'm very sorry that you have all those obstacles.
    1667 days ago
    Of course those minutes count. Regardless if it's modified to something else or not. They all count .when you consider all of your obstacles that you encounter daily it is probably more than what you are counting. Hugs and Kisses to you and Olive emoticon
    Now S Q U E E Z E! emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1667 days ago
  • DSJB9999
    Olive does look lovely! Of course you can count that exercise, we are moving all the time and we don't count all that .

    I hope that makes you feel better. Love from Donna xxx emoticon emoticon
    1667 days ago
    P.S. I LOVE Olive!
    I see she mastered the isometric exercises...the SQUEEZE...LOL.
    Give that dog a bone (and hug from Aunt Mary)!
    1667 days ago
    Sweet Pea!
    You absolutely can count those minutes of exercise, because you ARE exercising...just because you have to substitute what you an do...you still exercise!
    I am so very sorry you have so much to deal with....it sure is an obstacle course! What is your illness called again...I want to better understand it! You are in my thoughts and prayers!
    Keep up the great work...
    Love you!
    1667 days ago
    anything counts. and just because you dont complete it THIS time, doesnt mean it isnt somthing to shoot for. You are dealing with alot of challenges. give yourself a break. and give sweet olive and yourself a kiss from me
    1667 days ago
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