Category Archives: exercise

Recipe for My Good Life

I have known of my Multiple Sclerosis (MS) for ten years, being diagnosed in February 2010. That diagnosis did not frighten me, it actually soothed my fears. Many other people will say something similar to my response, on being diagnosed with an illness. The human mind is often capable of thinking of things far worse than the reality of a situation. So I had MS, instead of the brain tumour, or stroke that I had feared.

The neurologist, which quickly was shortened to neuro, prescribed a medication to assist with the symptoms I was experiencing, and so began my life, of living with MS. It was a very much scaled back kind of life, but not completely, I found a different life, one connected with a new cohort, the world of disability, and I began this blog, as a needed entertainment when getting about had become much more difficult.

So blogging took off, with this one, and the book I wrote, a memoir of my new life, that gave this blog its name became an important part of my writing life. It’s  good book, that looks at many of the changes there are when a diagnosis of MS comes along. It’s my personal story, as it seemed to me, and it’s real, with some very things not usually spoken of in polite society …

My medication has changed since then, from the original Avonex injections once a week, to the current Gilenya tablet take once a day. The injections lasted for two years, and while I was managing with them OK, it was a huge relief to change, and pop a pill, instead of jabbing myself in the thigh … These tablets are working even better for me too, and sometimes it’s almost like I don’t even have MS.

But there are other reasons why I doing so well too, I think. I have a good, nutritionally sound diet, I don’t over do the alcohol, I don’t smoke. And do my best to live a stress free life, whilst also staying involved in doing the things I love to do, and to have a purpose in my life, doing good things for others. I am the Editor of the monthly newsletter for the closest town, Mallala, and this role takes in my love of writing, and editing, and my enjoyment from helping out my town.

So my diet includes red wine A small glass every few days, dark chocolate  (most nights, just a little) some grains, nuts, some fruit, more vegetables, especially leafy green vegetables, all in moderation, with some exercise, also in moderation. My prescription for a healthy life! Lately, I’ve been in locked down mode, because of Covid-19, so my exercise is often just walking more than usual, up and down inside the house for 300 steps, then 300 steps on the back veranda and around the back yard, the same on the front veranda.

I’m hoping I might actually switch on the Wii Fit machine some time soon, but I just don’t feel like doing that. I know I’ve definitely put on some weight though, so I’m definitely aware that I need to do more than I’d been doing at the start of this Covid-19 time …

So that’s it. I’m not saying that’s what I always do, but it’s what I aim at doing. Having a purpose in life is important too, beyond simply existing. That can be many different things, as long as they take you further and higher than simply being.

On Being Kind To Myself

At the moment, I am on an exercise program, an at home thing, with input from both the surgeon who operated (and fixed) my broken ankle, and from the physio I have seen twice since getting the OK to get moving again, and going to the ‘full weight bear’ stage of rehabilitation.

I am very grateful to both Dr Gayle, and Mark for their input into my vast improvement in ability regarding movement. The ankle I broke (right ankle), has a reasonable range of movement now, although it isn’t as good as my left one (unbroken ankle). But my ankle twists and turns how and if I want it to, and there is absolutely no pain, just a little discomfort, which stops as soon as I cease the movement the ankle had to work at.

I also thank the podiatrist I see regularly, and much appreciated their concern, and also the gift of some moisturising cream that seems to have helped to keep my ankle moist and the scars on both sides on my ankle reduced on what they may otherwise have been. Life with experts who do their job well, and offer more than just the basics? They are treasures!

But to the point of this blog post. I wish to make exercise a regular part of my life now, working on increasing my muscle strength, and my balance. My concern, obviously, is that both of these issues quite likely are to blame for the accident that led to my broken ankle, and other falls I’ve had in the past.

I’ve done some training in falls prevention, and after the Christmas Season silliness is all over, I’m going to take a good look at the details I still have from that training, and I’ll look into incorporating some of it into the rest of my program. Doing all of these things is being kind to my body, even if my head would much rather I sat around writing creatively …


But it’s one of those cruel to be kind things – cruel to my mind perhaps, but definitely kind to my body! And another being kind things is that while I want to make this exercising regularly thing a habit, I’m not going to blame myself too much if I slacken off a little, if I feel I have to. Yesterday was one of those slacking off days, I have to admit. I did some of the exercises I’ve been doing, but only half, completely leaving off one part of my exercises.

That’s OK though. Yesterday was a stinking hot day, and even though we had our air conditioner on, until our electricity was cut, I just couldn’t convince myself to do the Wii Fit part of my program. This exercise program is new to me, although I’ve done Wii Fit at various times, since we got the game, many years ago. Incorporating exercises given to me by a physiotherapist is definitely new.

Habits take time to make, some say ten days, others say 21 days, but I suspect it differs for everyone, and depends on what the habit is. If I was to try to get a habit of patting my dog every day, that would be simple. Missy is here in the house, I talk to her, and give her medicine, it would be simple to make sure I give her a pat every day. Exercise is definitely more difficult than that one.


I was able to both do simple gentle movement exercises, and write creatively, while I was laid up with this broken ankle, and the book above “Angles on Ankles” was written, submitted and published in record time. It is a chapbook with poems written all about my broken ankle, doing it, having one, dealing with it, thinking about it, and so on. I think it’s a great little book, only $5 plus postage – if you think you’d like a copy, leave a comment and we can sort out the details!

Anyway, back to exercises – I know why I didn’t do the full range of exercises yesterday, I also know, because I looked into these things, that habits take time to set in place, and missing doing that thing you want to become a habit, works better if you stick at it totally in the beginning stages. I’m not stressing myself out about this though, I’m being kind, and both rational and reasonable.

Today I have completed half an hour of Wii Fit exercises, including some that gave me a harder workout than usual, and I will complete all of the rest of the exercises before I head off to watch some of the lawn bowls being played today in Mallala, where my husband and son both are members, and I’ve been a member there too, in the past. When I’m watching lawn bowls, it’s like I’m working out a bit too, because I’m sending down those bowls in my head, and my muscles get an invisible workout, for sure!

So tomorrow is Sunday, and I expect the whole exercise program will happen, and again the day after that. But on the Wednesday, hey, there may not be any exercises because Wednesday is Christmas Day, and the only exercise will be giving presents and hugs to people! So I wish you all a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Things Repeated Become Habits

Yes, if we do the same thing over and over again that thing can definitely become a habit. Both good habits or bad habits can go like this, so it’s probably a good idea to work at making our habits good ones, because those bad habits, can lead to unwanted circumstances.

For me, one of my habits is to have a cup of coffee with my breakfast, every day. That’s not a good or bad habit, but simply a thing, so I’m OK with that habit being there in my life. The caffeine helps get my brain going, or at least that’s what I tell myself.

person holding gray mug

Photo by fotografierende on

A bad habit might be to begin a day with a shot of whisky, and that is definitely not a habit I’m ever likely to get, I don’t like the taste of it, and I know it will do bad things to my brain, not good things!

The habit I most want to get is something I did again this morning – exercise! I broke my ankle a few months ago, and have been given some exercises by the surgeon who operated on my right ankle, to help fix it up. It’s going well, and part of the reason, apart from the surgeons good work, is because I worked on doing the range of movement (ROM) exercises regularly as I was lying, or sitting around, unable to put my foot down, because I was at the no weight bearing stage of my recovery.

It was tedious, but the exercises gave me something to do, so I was happy enough to do them. I hoped they would indeed help me to increase my range of movement, and it seems like it has indeed done that.


I’m in the full weight bear stage now, so back to my new normal, walking, with or without a mobility aid, when outside (usually without from now on, I hope). Things are looking good. I’ve seen a physio, and he told gave me some standing up exercises to do now, standing on one foot, then the other, stepping sideways up and down the passageway, standing up on my tippy toes, doing lunges, and sit up/stand down exercises to work on my abs and leg muscles.

I spoke with that physio about Wii Fit exercises and he said yes, for sure, to Balance exercises, for sure. I like Wii Fit exercises, so I started doing them again, after seeing the physio. I’ve been a bit slack lately though, and not done any exercises really, but I’ve decided to get over that, and try to make doing all of my exercises a  daily habit. This is what I wrote on mt Facebook page today:

“Have completed half of my exercise program, will turn off computer and complete the rest of it next. Exercise helps my poor ankle become stronger and better, and it helps my muscles and my balance, and so reduces the likelihood I will fall over and damage myself again.
That’s the theory anyway, and it’s unlikely to hurt me, but help me instead, so I’m really, really going to work at making this a daily habit, no matter what …”

So that’s it, I’ve done the first half of my exercise program, and yes, I will turn off the computer and switch on the Wii Fit machine to complete the program for today, and be back to it again tomorrow, over and over until it is a good habit that I do daily!

Doing Balance Exercises

Human Beings are creatures that predominantly stand on two feet, rather than four, as animals do. Humans have hands and feet, two of each, while animals have four paws. This isn’t all animals, but lots of them.

We’re born, learn to crawl and then to get up and walk on our two feet. But sometimes things can go wrong, and you call, strain or break a leg, and you need to heal and get back to getting up and walking again.

Walking is a matter of balancing on on foot, then the other, lift foot, balance on that foot, step with other foot, place in down, repeat with other foot, lift, balance, step, one foot after the other. So, for some of that time, you are balancing on one foot, followed by balancing on the other.

After you’ve been damaged by having a fall or other kind of accident, you may need to go through some form of relearning regarding how to walk, and regaining your balance. I’ve been through this, after breaking my ankle in September, and through physio, and walking again, and working to improve my balance.

Falling over is what caused me to fall and break my ankle, and I don’t ever want to do that again, so obviously, I have a good reason to work at better balance, and no more falls! The surgeon who operated on my ankle gave me some ROM (range of movement) exercises, which I did a lot. I want as full a range of movement for my ankle as possible!

I’ve seen a physio, since who gave me some exercises to continue improving my ROM for my ankle.. Since that initial appointment, I’ve see the physio, and now have some balance exercises. On consultation with the physio, I’ve added a few Wii Fit balance exercises too, and I try to do at least some of these exercises every day.

Balance is so important in life, falling over is never a good thing to do! The surgeon, as well has giving me exercises to help to keep from falling, has also told me to wear lace up shoes, whenever I am up and going. This is inside and outside, and even though it makes sitting on the sofa less comfortable, it will help me keep upright.

I had to buy a new pair of shoes for this, and I’m very happy to have a great new pair of running shoes, which offer support to my ankle, and which help me to keep on moving! The shoes I bought have been approved by my physio too, so it both of my ‘experts’ are happy with the shoes, I am too!

Having to put on and take off my shoes a couple of times a day only takes a minute of so, so I’m OK with that. For the Wii Fit exercises, it’s no shoes, but I take my shoes off close to where I do the Wii Fit, so safe as houses! I’m not an overly ‘physical fitness’ kind of person, but I find Wii Fit exercises are a fun way to exercise, and I like the way the machine keep a track on how I’m doing.

This morning I wanted to make over 100 points for the exercise the Physio had suggested, Penguin Slide. It took me a few goes at getting there, but I eventually actually made 104 points, so I could stop that exercise, and move on to another balance game. The top score for our household for this exercise is 114 or something like that, so I still have a fair way to go.

I can’t remember whether it was me or my husband who made the top score for this game, but every time I do Wii Fit games, I’m trying to get a new top score! It brings interest to the game, and having fun as you exercise, well that has to be a good thing, doesn’t it?!

Balance in life comes in many forms, physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and surely a balanced life is a good life! I’m laced up, balanced, and ready for whatever is next!

Changing the Exercise Program …

Today I certainly did my exercises given to me to do by Mark, my physio, but I didn’t do the Wii Fit exercises I’d begun doing as well, a couple of days ago. Does this mean my program has failed? No certainly not!

I have more things to do today, away from home, and there will  be a lot more walking than I’ve been doing. Given that my walking has been very much limited, since I broke my ankle at the end of September, this isn’t surprising, but today. I’ll remedy that to some extent, by doing more walking than I had been doing.

I’m not exactly sure how far I’ll walk today, but if you add up the smaller bits, I’m sure it will be more than 500 metres. That may not sound like much, but when you’ve been doing practically zero walking for two months, 500 metres sounds (and feels) like a lot of walking! Small steps, one after the other …

I have my walking stick in the car, (Jane the Cane) and as Mark the Physio’s instructions, I will be walking with my walking stick when I’m outside. Walking inside without the stick is going well enough, and I suspect by the end of two weeks (one and a half weeks to go), I’ll be happily and successfully walking with Jane the Cane, or Mick the Stick!

The important thing about recovering from a physical injury, I think, is to work on it, but don’t overdo it! So walking 500 metres, that is my way of not overdoing it. I will definitely go on doing Mark’s exercises every day, and the Wii Fit exercises too, when I have the time, particularly on days with little planned involving physical activity.

Tonight will be the Mallala Christmas Party too, and there will definitely be walking around involved in taking part in this fun event! My husband and son are both involved in the organisation of this annual event, put on by the Mallala Lions Club, and they’ve done a great job again with rides and other fun things to see and do!

Exercise is great when you have fun as you’re doing it!

Continuing the Physio Program

I’m pleased to say that this morning I have done my Physio exercises, as advised by my physio, Mark, and did exercises for longer than I did yesterday, Hooray to me! I definitely believe in celebrating every victory, especially when the victory is one that is doing me good, and will encourage me to do more into the future!

So this morning I did the 5 actual exercises Mark gave to me, and then I went on the Wii Fit machine, and actually braved the horrors of the weigh in! The great news there was that I was actually 1.5kg lighter that I was the previous time I weighed in, which was a bit over three months ago. I gave myself the challenge of losing .5 of a kilogram in a fortnight’s time.

I am now within the ‘ideal’ weight range, and I’m happy with that. I certainly don’t want to be the weight the Wii Fit machine thinks I should be – I’ve been at that weight before and it was too low, it made me look sick!

I’m well aware that Christmas is approaching fast, and the exercises may not happen every day, but lots of tasty food may be happening a lot more often. This means any weight I can lose now, will be helpful to make sure I don’t give myself a tubbier body for Christmas!

So with my Wii Fit exercise this morning I focused mostly on the penguin catching fish exercise, hoping to get my score up to or even over one hundred. I didn’t get there, unfortunately, but I got close. I could feel this in my right foot, but it wasn’t painful, just there, if you know what I mean. I was conscious of my right ankle, but not in a bad way, just aware of it. I’m not worried about that, after all, there is a lot of metal happening in that ankle!


Anyway, life is going well, I’m about to get my car fixed, so that I won’t need to worry when I go on a road trip, which is happening soon. A car that goes well, is an asset for a road trip, one that won’t start isn’t! So as I said, life is going well, and I am doing all I can to make it go even better!


As I move on from the operation that fixed my broken ankle, I think of things I could have written poems about to put into the poetry collection I wrote about my ankle, “Angles on Ankles”. But that was about the break, and now I’m in recovering from the break, so perhaps that will be a new book, another poetry collection, to be written at a later date – after all, life is a moving, living thing …



First Day, New Physio Program

I am working to help my body mend, after breaking my ankle, and having surgery to fix it. I have had a period of resting, to help the swelling in my ankle lessen, and to rest and rehabilitate. Now I am at another stage of my recovery from breaking my ankle, a more active stage, and it feels like the time is right for this.

I have seen a physio, Mark,  at my most recent visit, after having seen advice from the surgeon who operated on my ankle, that I could so more exercises now, now that I have advanced to full weight bearing, with less of a need for mobility aids. So Mark gave me five new exercises, which involve me standing, and working at strengthening my muscles.

When I saw him, I asked about whether he thought doing Wii Fit exercises might be a good idea. I very much enjoy doing Wii Fit exercises, but I get slack and stop doing them, even though I like them, and know they help me with my fatigue from Multiple Sclerosis. Mark said yes, do them for sure, focusing on the one where you have to catch fish, it’s a good balance exercise.

So today, my first day of this new exercise program, I did  most recent the most recent exercises, plus 15 minutes of Wii Fit balance exercises. It was more exercise than I’ve done for a long time, and I’m happy with my efforts! I focused the most on the penguin exercise, and did it I think three times, maybe four, my highest score was 91, and I want to beat that! I also did heading ball, tightrope walk, the leaning/sending ball down holes game, and the floating bubble game.

When I started the Wii Fit game, it told me it had been 100 and something days since I had logged on. That’s OK, but it would be better if I did it more often. Who knows, maybe if I were more Wii Fit fit, I might not have fallen over and broken my ankle? It’s definitely a thought worth thing on, for sure, because I certainly don’t want to ever do it again!

I didn’t come close to breaking records in any of these games, but given the circumstances, that’s not surprising. If I keep in with doing this program, as often as possible, both physio’s exercises and Wii Fit, that should definitely help me, with both strength and balance. While I was talking to Mark, the physio, I gave him a copy of my new poetry book all about my breaking my ankle, and he was thrilled with his signed copy!


This afternoon, I also walked a lot further than I have for a while, perhaps 500 metres, I’m not really sure about the distance. I was glad I had my walking stick to help me do it, Mark has told me I don’t need the walking stick inside any more, but should use it outside, for at least 2-4 weeks longer. By that time it will be nearly time to see my surgeon again, and find out how my ankle is going now. (I’m getting an x ray the day before I see her again in mid January)

So with all of this moving around (comparatively speaking), I feel very tired right now, and I’m glad of this sit down on the sofa. I may stay here for quite some time!

A New Stage of My Infirmity

Well today, yesterday really, I’ve moved onto a new stage ‘getting over’ my fractured ankle. I saw a physio for the first time, and we talked about exercises to both work on my ankle range of movement (ROM), and also to increase the strength in my right calf muscle.

My right ankle is the one that was fractured, and after using a moon boot, for nearly two months after it happened, my calf muscle is barely there, because I hadn’t been using that leg, no weight bearing at all, lots of sitting or lying around. Now though, things have changed!

Instead of zooming around the place on the Knee Walker, with my right leg resting, today I am only using the Walking Frame to walk, using my hands and arms to take most of the weight when I step with my right foot. It feels good to be walking again, if not actually walking ‘normally’.


The physio agreed with the exercises I’d been given by both the surgeon who did the operation on my right ankle, and also my podiatrists, who have been assisting with this too. So the physio wrote up a routine for me to do for now, and after I’ve seen my surgeon again (Wednesday next week), the physio will get a proper thing going, based on what the surgeon says I need.


The physio also gave me exercises for my calf muscles. Did you know there are two muscles in your calf? I didn’t know it until yesterday, when the physio told me about it. It’s always good to talk to different experts about there subject, because they know lots of things about their chosen subject!

So, now, instead of just doing some exercises when I think of it, and feel like doing it, I am doing the routine the physio wrote down and gave me yesterday, with number of reps for each exercise and the number of times to do the exercise, and then how many times a day I have to do the sessions.

So around meal time, either before or after breakfast, lunch or dinner, I did my exercises. I’m enjoying it, it’s not something I’m that into, exercising, but if it leads to being able to get around better, and to be stronger, I’m all for it! I’ve spent enough time not being able to get up and get moving, I want to keep on going, and getting better!

I can easily get out of the house now, and I hope that tomorrow I’ll be able to go outside, and look at the garden, and pick some herbs for a cup of herbal tea!


Challenges and Commitments

I spend quite a bit of time flaffing around on Facebook, as I’m sure many other people do too. But Facebook can also be a useful tool for getting assistance to accomplish things, commit to things, receive challenges to do things.

One of the challenges I have recently ‘signed up for’, is to do ten minutes of exercise every day, for six weeks. I am currently in the second week of this challenge, and doing, ok, not brilliantly but ok. And ok is far better than failing miserably, isn’t it?

This challenge will have prizes and things, for people who get the most people working on their own challenges, voting for by the people who are members of the Facebook group. I don’t care so much about the prizes, but I really, really hope I can help to get people moving, exercising, more.

The Facebook group is for people in South Australia who have MS. I know how much exercising can help people with MS, I am probably a good example of this. I know the more I get out and about, and moving around, the more I am able to do.

Of course, my current medication (Gilenya) is most likely helping me too, but I was feeling the good effects from exercise on my former medication (Avonex). Getting moving more helps me to keep moving more. As I’ve written on this blog previously, my own Neurologist told me to “Move it or you’ll lose it” or something along those lines.

Anyway, so this is why I am particularly concentrating on exercising more. Ten minutes may not sound like much, but for some people with MS, ten minutes wouldn’t be possible. I want to work to help myself be able to move whenever I want or need to move!

My main exercises are walking (a bit) and also doing exercise with our Wii Fit machine. I enjoy these exercises, but so often, I lapse and don’t do them. Having this six week challenge on Facebook has made me commit more firmly to doing it. If I don’t do ten minutes one day, I will try to do twenty or thirty minutes the next day.

To further strengthen my commitment, today I started up a new Facebook page – Wii Fit Wellness Group At the moment there are only two members of this group, but I hope to welcome more people who want to work on their own fitness and good health, whether they have Multiple Sclerosis or not.

We can feel so busy sometimes that we let opportunities for doing the good things slip, and just do the busy, busy, doing not much at all really, chores take over. When I signed up for my six weeks of ten minutes a day of exercise, I could see that a mere ten minutes should be something I could do every single day, no matter what!

As it’s turned out, I’ve let myself down occasionally, and not done much exercise at all some days, not even ten minutes of Wii Fit. This is why I often do more time with the machine, hoping the overall amount of time will add up to even more than the ten minutes.

Whether it does or doesn’t, I was pleased that today, my weight was down a bit, getting closer to the weight I’m aiming at for this fortnight, and closer to the actual ideal weight I want to be. The weight isn’t the most important thing, but I have two pairs of jeans I would love to be able to wear again!

Increased Exercise Helps

More exercise means greater ability to do even more exercise! At least that’s my understanding of the whole thing, and I hope it’s correct. My neurologist told me, more or less, this was the case, when he said to me, not long after he told me that I had MUltiple Sclerosis (MS), and that it was important that I make a committment to walking more.

“Use or or Lose it” is what he told me, and at that time, back in 2010, just walking from one end of my house to the other was a difficult task. I managed to do more though, and got through that first collapse, and then moved back to better health. Not perfect health, of course. I will probably never be as physically able as I was back before I was hit by MS, but I am certainly better now, than I was then when it first happened.

I can walk for 500 metres or more, and I don’t get as fatigued in the evenings as I used to get. I can go out at night, and can keep going until I get home again. So I guess I’m getting fitter, and stronger, and I’m glad about that. At the moment, I’m involved with a challenge with the MS Society of SA & NT. It’s an eight week challenge, and people were asked to say what their challenge was they wanted to do.

My challenge that I put up on the MS Facebook page, was to do ten minutes of exercise every single day. At the moment I’m not doing quite as well as I did at the beginning, but I’ve done enough days with thirty minutes of exercise rather than ten minutes, so I’m looking on that as being still in front, as long as I do a little bit of extra moving around. I have to get back to the actual challenge though, and do some proper work outs.

Being able to walk, get from my car to wherever I’m going, and such things are important to me. I don’t want to have to rely on anyone else, I want to be able to take after myself as much as possible. If I do too much in warm/hot weather, I know my body won’t like it and I’ll pay the price, with my muscles giving way, until I can get cool again.
So exercises during the oncoming warmer days, will probably be at home, with the air conditioner on.

Keeping cool and getting fitter, these are both tools to help me get on will with my life. MS at the moment is going OK, I’m looking forward to a time when I can say I’m going extremely well with MS, but I’m not sure when or if that will happen. OK is enough for now, and I am grateful for that.

I’m using hand weights when I do the Wii Fit exercises I do some days, and I hope adding these will help with the whole strength increasing thing, and the extra walking I’m throwing in some days helps too. It all helps, I think. I may not every become extra ‘iron woman’ fit, but being able to get around when and where I want to is enough for now. I hope I can keep going with this challenge, there’s about six weeks to go, and I’m feeling good!