Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Health is wasted on the healthy

I managed to get on the bike for over 1/2 hour, woo-hoo 300 calories down!

The biggest couch potatoes I know are marvelously healthy people in their 30's and 40's. Nothing is wrong with them, so why exercise, right? The most fit people I know have the health problems. And there you have it, the healthy people look at the fit people and say, "see all the things wrong with them, that is because they, fill in the blank" with run, ski, play sports, rock climb, bike, whatever.

When I was in my teens and 20's I was a complete flake about exercise. Sure, I would have loved to be in better shape, thinner, stronger, but I just didn't have time. Then the other shoe dropped. At the age of 32, following 18 months of symptoms, I was told I had Rheumatoid Arthritis. O M G !!!!! So I promptly hit the Internet and learned everything I could. Guess what, at the end of every lesson about RA was the admonishment to exercise.

"Exercise?!? You have to be kidding!" That is what went though my head every day. The thought of exercising, when you can't lift your arms over your head or make it though the day without naps, seems utterly ludicrous. You start with range of motion exercises. Simple movements designed to preserve what little ability to move you have left, and if you are lucky and get on good drugs, you might even increase it in small increments. Many days my husband or kids had to help me. I couldn't raise my arm above my head, but if I relaxed, someone else could without causing me pain. Eventually I was able to do it on my own again.

That began my journey. You see, people who are healthy can go right on ignoring their bodies, but people who have faced their own mortality have to get moving or die. I know runners who have had injuries, heart attacks, cancer, you name it. Of course, the fastest runners are those fortunate enough to have embraced good health and taken it too the limits, but the most dedicated runners are the ones limping around the track and talking to themselves, "come on body, just a few more steps............................................."

We will all meet again in 20 years and guess what, those couch potatoes will no long be the healthy ones!


Sheryl said...

First of all I guess I never realized how young you were when you got RA second I never guessed it was that bad, you are such a strong person Bird and I am glad you are my on-line friend. Smile it will get better, good people do come out on top!!!

Tanya said...

Hi Wendy-welcome to the blogosphere! You're such an inspiration to me. Your blog is going on my list with my favs!

robison52 said...

Howdy Wendy! I've put you on my subscribed feed and will be visiting your blog regularly. Welcome to the World Wide Web, be careful as blogging can be very addictive...remember to save some time for exercise!!