My Love-Hate Relationship With Exercise

Yesterday I went to the gym. I’m sure a lot of you are thinking ok, so what? A lot of people go to the gym. It was my first time going this year and it hurt. A lot. I talk a fair bit about my accident a few years ago, the impact that has on my life and being able to exercise regularly can often cause me a lot of pain.

My relationship with exercise goes way back. When I was a kid I had much more fun with my nose in a book than running around. P.E was the lesson I hated most and I was the most clumsy person I knew. For that to change when I started riding was a minor miracle, there was exercise that I loved!

In the past 3 years, my weight has gone up and down. I lose the weight, I’m happy and then six months later I’ve put it back on and it goes on, again and again. This isn’t a vanity project. This isn’t me wanting to shimmy into some size 6 jeans and get revenge. It’s literally just wanting to be healthy, to get back to the size I was at university.

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Now, I know that my body has and will continue to change throughout my life, but that natural change can be controlled. I haven’t been looking after my body the way I should be in the past few months, I haven’t eaten right, I’ve done minimal exercise so this is on me.

I feel good after a workout, I feel accomplished. Sometimes I feel better, a bit sore and I can get on with my day. Other times the old pains come back and I can’t move the next day, so it’s kind of a bargaining thing. I’m determined that, when I can, I want to exercise in one way or another on a bad day swimming is better, if I’m up to it I can go to the gym. I’ll get there slowly, I might even learn to like it again.

I guess I wrote this because it’s easy to look in Instagram and see amazing people with amazing bodies talking about how much they love fitness and healthy shakes. If that’s not you, that’s ok. A lot of people aren’t athletic but you have to do it your way, I certainly am!

 

How do you feel about exercise? Let me know in the comments below!

The Gym Return.

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On Monday night I sat down and set up a gym membership, my goal was to get back to my workout routine pre deadlines. I have to admit knowing that I’m going to have to fit it around work rather than having my chilled sessions with Alice made me think twice about signing up. That said after my routine slipped I noticed that I put back on a little bit of weight and I wasn’t feeling as good in myself. With the move as well my mental health has been more tricky to deal with so I needed to dose myself up with some gym love.

I’m writing this, and I know it will be short, curled up in blankets and trying not to fall asleep but I feel SO GOOD. My body aches but I’m just proud of myself for getting off my ass and going after work. It helped that I went with my sister too and got to work out and talk to her. The most important thing is that I’m doing this for myself. I want to get fitter and try to help the pain in my spine, I want to be able to help my depression by working out. Losing weight is a plus but it’s not the reason I’m going any more, feeling healthy is much more important than what anyone else thinks of me or my body.

 

Image from Pinterest.

Fighting Fit: When Your Body Won’t Cooperate

Fighting Fit- When your body doesn't cooperate

It might have been well over a year since I broke my spine but sometimes it throws a bit of a fit. I’ve been really busy for the past few weeks and travelling to things, boxing up the flat and all that jazz, meaning that I’ve put quite a bit of strain on my back. This evening I’m sat with a big fluffy pillow resting, writing, reading and just feeling a bit frustrated. I’ve come a really long way in the past year but sometimes I try and do too much and pay for it later. I don’t think there’s anything more frustrating than when your own body lets you down.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the accident and my injury lately, more than I normally would. With the warm weather coming and my friends heading to fun days out, theme parks and long walks I can’t help but feel a little jealous. It does still get to me but more than anything I get really self concious about it in public. There are still times when I get a limp on my left side because after doing too much I’m in a lot of pain or my leg will start to go numb. When I go to Comic Con or any big event like that, I sometimes need my crutch just to relieve some of the pain. As someone who wants to be seen as strong, who is used to getting up and getting on (just like getting up straight after I fell) it’s hard to let people see me on the days when I am a little more vulnerable. This is particularly the case when I’m getting to know new people, such as at my new job.

That said, I know that these frustrations are just a part of recovery and of having to take things one step at a time. I found a lot of comfort in a TED Talk I watched yesterday (click here for 7 TED talks you need to watch!), it reminded me that while my body is still working hard and healing, it’s not the only thing I have going for me. My body being in pain and breaking took things from me, but it gave me opportunities too. It taught me a lot about myself and what I want, it taught me to appreciate every step I take because I could so easily have lost the ability to walk.

In all of this, the good days, the bad nights, the medication changes, the occasional limping and the jokes that I make to make others more comfortable I realised that I need to keep my mind fighting. I can’t let myself go into a place of wallow and self pity. I can’t let myself give in when I’m sick of physiotherapy or don’t feel like going to the gym or when the doctors try and palm me off with silly answers. Keeping my mind strong is what will, in the end, keep my body fighting, even on the worst days.

Why I’m jealous of YOU at the gym..and it’s not the reason you think

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As all of you know, in the last 5 months I have become a gym bunny. Even though there was  break when I was sick, I’ve gone back to the gym and I’m hungry and obsessed to get back. After going on Tuesday, I spent the week waiting for Sunday morning so that I could go again and now I’m (hopefully) going tomorrow as long as my migraine disappears. I have noticed though, that sometimes I look around and feel myself getting a little jealous.

Now, I’m not jealous of people with beautiful athletic bodies, those who don’t sweat when they exercise or look endlessly cool.  I’m not jealous because I want the results without having to work hard. I’m jealous because their bodies work and mine doesn’t always behave. BUT at the same time, I’m learning to love and worship my body that literally had to rebuild a core part of itself, and know how lucky I am to be walking.

I get a little anxious and self conscious at times, not at all because of the way I look, after all the gym is where people go to work on themselves. No, I feel self conscious because of how much slower I am than others, and how little I can do because of my spine. For me, doing an hour at the gym is another small step towards normality for me. An extra five minutes on the treadmill for me is a huge thing BUT when everyone in the gym wants to go on the exercise bikes at the same time (positioned exactly behind the treadmills and therefore with a full view of my bum) and I’m still just able to do a walking pace, and a fairly slow one, at that. I do feel a little awkward I want to shout at them, ‘I’m in spine recovery, I’m not pathetic I promise!, I’m not just lazy’ because this is how I fear others see myself.

I try and tell myself not to care, that most of it is in my mind  and who actually cares what I’m doing? It might be silly but these thoughts go around in my head sometimes. Then then evolve to me wishing that I was fully recovered and I could run or lift a weight that was a ‘real’ weight rather than the tiniest ones that are there because they’re the only thing I can comfortably lift.

There will be a time where I’m a lot better and that’s happening slowly, just under a year ago I had to have help to get up one step and a small set of stairs to my flat were a huge problem. So the fact that I can go to a gym and try and do some exercise is incredible, and I know that. But sometimes, just sometimes, the green eyed monster will rear her ugly head and make me feel a little down, I know that’s normal and one day I’ll be able to throw her off my shoulder.