How To Fit Exercise In
In a previous post, I discussed time in a very esoteric way. Yes, Eckhart Tolle is right in a way…time only exists in a horizontal dimension, the one we are used to dealing with most of the time. CF and all of its accompanying “life situations” exist there, too. It’s enlightening to understand that we don’t have to be dictated by that dimension all of the time. We can practice entering the “now” and get vertical anytime we want…
Alas, one must also be practical in this world. So, let’s get real about time, shall we? Yesterday, when I finally got in the shower and first brushed my teeth at 3:30 pm…exactly 9.5 hours after awakening, I realized I needed to write this post. Mind you, none of those 9.5 hours were wasted. And I don’t even have a real job!
I don’t need to go into the specifics. If you are reading this, you already know the laundry list of things that must be done once, twice, or even three times daily regarding health care. The meds, the nebs, the Vest, the food, the insulin, the enzymes, the vitamins, the doctor’s appointments, the trips to the pharmacy, the uncomfortable moments (hours) where you just want to be left alone to deal with your digestive system…
This is all before “life” stuff…work, school, kids, spouses, friends, churches or spiritual activities, fun, Grey’s Anatomy….
My first point: “When in the WORLD is there time to exercise?” is a reasonable question.
My second point: It needs to be part of that first list…the essential health care activities, or else it just isn’t going to happen.
The number one reason CFTR-able people don’t exercise is TIME, so it stands to reason that the addition of hours of self-care does not make the problem any easier. Nobody has time. That is a given. Accept it as a given, and make time anyway.
I have coached and known many people with CF, and I have not once met someone who was not happy and proud of themselves for having started an exercise program. Yes, it is hard to fit in. Yes, it is frustrating to get sick and have to start over from what feels like ground-zero. But, it is always worth it.
HOW TO MAKE TIME ANYWAY
Tip number one: If you keep a scheduler, or planner, or palm, or iphone…whatever, schedule yourself in FIRST. Start with just 20-30 minutes. Go for a walk or do some yoga. Get into moving your body in some way, every day. Over time, splurge and give yourself an HOUR a day.
Tip number two: Schedule a reward for immediately after your exercise. Make it small, but something you really want…a latte, a nap, whatever. You have to really want it, and you DON”T get it unless you exercise.
Tip number three: Plan to exercise with someone else. Set a date, time and place. The accountability factor kicks in, and you tend to show up.
Tip number four: Try hard to establish the habit of doing your exercise first thing in the morning. This is the only way I made it through medical school/residency and stayed healthy. It was a grueling schedule, but I know that it was the early exercise (accompanied by the early to bed the previous night) that provided me the energy to live through it.
Tip number five: Set a goal. Make it appropriate for you, but also, set it high enough that it will force you to stretch yourself a bit. You don’t grow muscle mass or endurance or flexibility without stressing the system. If you are new to running, schedule a 5K. If you are new to yoga, try to make it through an entire class! If you are new to weight training, work up to your first unassisted pull-up.
Tip number six: When you reach your goal, tell everyone you know how great you are, and celebrate!