Friday, February 13, 2015

Exercising with CP

It was a couple of weeks ago when I finally admitted it to myself: I am out of shape.  I'm cringing even as I type that, because "bigger" is never anything I've had to worry about being.  Long story short, I decided exercise (more than making sure I'm up and walking a few times during the day) was something that needed to happen.

With CP (at least with mine) exercise has become tricky.  I can exercise daily for as long as a month and feel great, and then I get hit with major pain that means I have to do even less than I was doing pre-workout.  Pain wasn't always an issue for me, but as I've grown older, it's become one.  Cold weather has more of an effect on my spasticity.  And being overworked makes my muscles super sad.  Unfortunately, it doesn't take much these days before they've decided they've had enough.

Despite all of this, I've still been convinced I need to be more active, so I started doing a few push ups and sit ups along with a couple other things in the mornings.  Quickly, I realized that exercising every single day would likely wear me down even quicker, so I shifted to every other morning.  I adapted the push ups when on the second day my left arm and shoulder (only limb that feels totally unaffected by CP) started hurting on the second day.

And here comes the fun part... Are you ready?

Today, I'm Skyping with a friend who offered to help tailor an exercise routine to suit me.  I'm so excited, but I'm nervous, too.  Honestly, to date, anything relating to my body and movement has been negative.  It reminds me of countless surgeries, post surgery rehab, and mandatory PT during school in third grade when I got exercises I was told to do every day over the summer.

Don't knock the hair, or the giant shirt and short shorts, it was the fashion then...







Honestly, I can't even dream of getting into that position now...  My point is, I'm hopeful, but I have to tell myself this is different.  This is not someone else taking control of my body or telling me how to move.  This is a friend who is willing to help.  A friend who wants to see how I move and hear how I feel when I move so she can help me come up with something that works for me.  And it should feel like, "of course!" you know?  Of course someone wants to help you by doing what works for you and by listening to you.  But it feels new...like a revelation.
It's so much a mental game for me.  Something I need to overcome, and fast, as exercise-palooza (as I affectionately refer to it) is definitely happening, in a little more than an hour.  

On the agenda?

- How do I work on my core, without telling my core I am?  (My core, and most of my muscles in my lower half all like to join the party, if I try to isolate any of them.  Move my right leg?  Left one wants to move, too.  Tighten my abs?  Everything follows suit.)

- Is it possible for me to do some of my own stretching in a way that does not feel totally agonizing?

Part of the reason I'm posting this is for accountability's sake.  I want to be healthy, and it want this to be a full on change not just a trend that falls away for good (or not so good) reasons.

I'll let you know how it goes...



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