Tell us about your how you maintain a healthy lifestyle.
What is your favorite type of exercise? How do you manage fitness with a chronic illness?
Do I have to?
I hate exercise.
I hate sports.
I’m clumsy and uncoordinated. I trip over my own feet. I couldn’t catch a ball if it was thrown right at me. I sink like a rock in a tablespoon full of water. I didn’t learn to ride a bike until I was eight years old. There isn’t a single physical activity that I do well.
It’s not like I haven’t tried.
I played summer league softball every year until I was 13. It was an exercise in public humiliation. My mom put me in summer swimming lessons for at least 4 years. I nearly drowned during the final test. It hasn’t mattered what the sport, I was always picked last. Nobody wanted Little Miss Klutz on their team.
So I’ve resigned myself to walking on the treadmill that’s safely hidden in the garage, away from prying eyes and the occasional yoga video when no one else is in the house. I also walk with my granddaughter in the stroller. I can hang on to it to keep me steady. Otherwise, I don’t do physical activity any place where I might risk public humiliation. My husband has wanted me as a workout buddy for years. It’s not him that I worry about. But it will be a cold day in Hell before I work out at a gym again. I’ve tried it. Can’t do it. I hold back for fear of tripping, falling, walking into walls, etc.
I know my body and I can’t trust it to cooperate.
That was great when I was 25 years old and 110 lbs. with the metabolism of a race car. It’s not so easy now. I told my husband that if I ever got fat, it would be a big challenge to get skinny again because I’ve never been forced to think about what I eat or how much I move.
Eating healthy isn’t the problem.
I can do that. I enjoy leafy greens and can get creative with low calorie beverages so I don’t end up drinking all my calories. I don’t do high-sugar snacks. Carbs can be a problem if I’m not careful though. Overall, healthy food choices are something I can manage.
But exercise is a big hurdle.
So I took my new insurance company up on their offer of a free pedometer. My plan was to spend one week just getting a baseline of my current activity. Then, with my health coach (also provided free with my insurance plan), we would create an activity plan that would move me from baseline to a minimum of 10,000 steps a day.
Then I got pneumonia.
My plans have been set back by about a month while I recover. Except for the occasional coughing fit, I’m almost ready to start moving like my old (fat) self.