Back in September, I wrote “The Slow Backward Slide”, chronicling the toll my sedentary lifestyle as a caregiver had taken on my own physical health (you can read that here). As you may recall reading, I took heed to my doctor’s insistent voice reminding me to take care of myself first. I began by joining a gym.
I went home from that doctor’s appointment and asked for a gym membership for my birthday. My hubby’s gift truly has been the gift that keeps on giving as I see each effort I make slowly make small changes in my well-being. Here are some snippets in diary-entry fashion of some of the many things I have noticed since I began paying closer attention to my own physical needs:
- 9/15/17 – Today was my first day hitting the gym – well, the first day in a LONG time. If I felt a twinge of guilt leaving Momma in Wayne’s care for a couple of hours, it was only momentary. This “me time” was wonderful. Slightly indulgent. Sweaty good. Just right.
- 09/21/17 – Began taking an exercise class that Jenn (the gym’s manager) recommended. Though my piriformis muscle issue makes some of the exercises painful, I can see that it will eventually help.
- 10/4/17 – Had the physical therapy consultation that my doctor ordered. Amazingly, the problem I was referred for is clearing up with the exercises I’m doing at the gym. Physical therapy told me to keep doing what I’m doing, gave me one more exercise to add, and sent me home. Yaay!
- 10/26/17 – As I was taking my class today, it dawned on me that the exercises which brought excruciating piriformis muscle pain a month ago bring no pain at all today. Praise God for strengthening my body.
- 11/6/17 – Okay, so maybe I need to take the ‘distance’ feature on exercise equipment with a grain of salt. Today’s workout – 13.8 miles covered in 60 minutes. Last week’s workout on a different machine, but same amount of time 20.0 miles. Hmmmm! I guess the distance doesn’t really matter, just so long as I keep moving in the right direction.
- 11/20/17 – Having a bad body image day today. Ugly crying going on here.
- 11/21/17 – Hit 15 miles on the exercise bike today!
- My husband told the world (well, his Facebook world) that I was beautiful today. For the first time in a long time, I believed him.
- 11/28/17 – I rode the exercise bike for 15.4 miles today following my Tuesday class. On the way out, Eva at the front desk encouraged me by saying, “You’ve made a lot of progress even since I started working here.” (She began her job at the gym about a week after I joined.)
- 11/30/17 – I had fun in my exercise class today. Even felt myself moving to the beat of the music. I could only do 7 miles on the bike today due to time constraints, but I felt so much stronger than when I began this journey.
- 12/1/17 – Realized today that, since October 1, I have read at least six really good books while riding the exercise bike. One of the books I read twice! I’m enjoying exercising both my body and mind.
One of the things I appreciated about my new gym was that it had a theater where you could use any number of exercise equipment choices and watch a movie while you pedaled, ran, rowed or stepped. I watched part of one movie the first day and thoroughly enjoyed it. The next day, however, I brought along a book and found an exercise bike with a book rack in another part of the gym, then read as I pedaled for 30 minutes. Not long thereafter, I began pedaling for an hour, reading as I pedaled.
You’ve probably heard the saying: “You can’t pour from an empty cup. Take care of yourself first.” Before I knew it, I had plowed through a book I had been trying to read all year long, feeding my soul while I exercised by body and filled my proverbial cup.