Category Archives: exercise

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!

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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!

Did the Machine Tell a Lie?

hula hoop for blogToday I switched on the Wii Fit machine. The machine keeps track on us, and tells us how long it’s been since our last visit, when we switch the machine on and sign in. So that lengthy time the machine told me was not a surprise. What did surprise me though, was my weight.

I know my weigh-in result is probably actually correct, but I prefer to believe the machine told a fib cos it’s annoyed at my lengthy absence … I haven’t been overdoing the fattening food, and I actually felt I’d been doing quite well with the nutritional quality of what I’ve been eating, these past weeks.

But this has reminded me about the balance – calories in (food and drink) versus calories out (exercise and general moving around). When I saw how long I’ve been away from the Wii Fit, and thought about how I’ve been doing lots of just sitting around and not really doing much physical stuff at all, well, that told me the truth. I’ve been a lazy sit around silly!

It’s not all bad though. The weigh-in result prompted me to actually have a Wii Fit work out as well as just the weigh-in, which had been what I’d been planning to do. Instead I exercised for over half an hour and burned up more than 100 calories doing it. As long as I can keep up doing this a couple or a few times a week, for a couple of months, I’ll be headed for a toned up winter, instead of a chubby winter … And that’s what I want, toned up and stronger! Better strength, means my body can work harder to keep me moving!

I’m very conscious of my own balance, and I certainly don’t want any more trips and falls – my right knee still has bruising from my last fall. I can’t even remember the details of that fall now, I just remember it hurt!

So I’m headed for a no fall, toned and terrific Winter this year! Do you have any good ways to keep toned and terrific? I’d love to know what works for you!

A List of Woes, or Not?

Well, obviously the first thing on my list of woes would be the fact I have MS (Multiple Sclerosis). This disease is a chronic illness that can cause muscle weakness, paralysis and more. The generally held thing is that these symptoms will get worse over time, so that being OK will be followed by needing a walking stick then a wheelchair. This can take a differing length of time, but there is no cure …

I have certainly had muscle weakness, in fact that is the symptom that lead me quickly to seeing a doctor and then a neurologist, who gave me the diagnosis of MS. Instead of being horrified at this diagnosis, I was relieved because I had been convinced either I had a brain tumour or I’d had some kind of stroke. I knew one person with MS, and she’d been living with it for a long time.

So MS didn’t seem that bad to me really, even though I didn’t know an awful lot about it. Six years later, I know a lot more about MS, and how it is for me. I also know a lot more people who also have MS, and how it is for them. Some of those people need a wheelchair, some of the use a walking stick, so have not aids to assist with walking and some of them go on long walks or run marathons. MS is a tricky thing, and people are affected in different ways, depending on where in their central nervous system they are affected, how well they are doing with their medication (if any).

It can also depend on their attitude to life, their exercise level, their diet and just plain luck. I am doing well, I eat a nutritional diet, most of the time, and I try to walk around a bit (sometimes I get into Wii Fit exercises, and I always feel a lot better when I am doing the exercises). Why don’t I stick to doing the exercises? I don’t know. I suspect as well as having MS, I have built in laziness …

People sometimes tell me I am amazing because I do so many things. I suppose it might look like I am, but I know all of the things I don’t do, that I probably could or should be doing (including those exercises!) The things I spend most of my time doing are the things I love to do, mostly things related to creative writing. Writing, and helping others to write creatively brings me joy, joy helps me to have a positive attitude and having a positive attitude is good for my sense of well-being.filename - Copy

I enjoy many things in my MS life. One of the things I enjoy is blogging. It’s a form of writing where I can write anything I want, and connect with others from all around the world, potentially. This seems like an easy way to have some kind of influence of people, and to help people who perhaps have received a diagnosis of MS, and are wondering what to expect. It can also show things about how I live my MS life, and can show how it really is to those who don’t have it.

If you have further thoughts of any of this, please leave a comment below …

Worried about Your MS? Don’t Stress!

Having MS is never a good thing, but did you know that stressing about this, or in fact any other negative thing in your life won’t help you and can in fact make things much worse. Experiments have been done about this, see here showing that negative stress can make getting a relapse more likely, while good things, though perhaps giving stress, but in a good way, can reduce the likelihood. So events such as a new baby in the family or a wedding, which can be stressful, but in good ways that are fine in relation to MS. They won’t (or shouldn’t) bring on a relapse, where negative stressors might.

Learning coping skills so that you know how to better handle stress is a valuable thing to do. Thinks like Mindfulness, Meditation, and Exercise can all help with Stress Management, leading to a calmer mind, and fewer lesions – both excellent things. Being with Nature, looking at swaying trees, and clouds as they pass by overhead, these things can bring a gentle contentment to a person, and are free!

above the fish pond

Having MS can be stressful itself, of course. No-one wants to have a chronic illness with no cure, at the moment. There are ways to lessen the load though. Eating a good nutritional diet, exercise, being involved with other people in non-stressful ways, these are good things for everyone and especially for those of us with MS.

Being involved with other people who have MS is a good way to find other people who truly understand your MS life. There are many peer support groups that are connected with the MS Society in various states in Australia, and I’m sure the MS Society in other countries would have the same. When you finally find people who are living with some of the same issues as you, it can help you to feel less alone. Our family and friends may try to understand, but as they say – If you don’t get it, you’ll never really ‘get’ it.

So best of luck to everyone living with MS, and if you have any tips for remaining stress-free, please share them in the comments here!

 

 

Lists are not for Losers!

List making is not proof that a person is a fool, list making is proof they are organised! I adore the idea of writing lists, and I admire people who regularly write lists, and tick things off their list as the things on the list get done.

I’m not a list maker though, not of a daily basis anyway. It’s one of the many things I wish I could get into the habit of doing, along with working on my novel, my new ‘Buster the Dog’ book, my Wii Fit exercise program, and probably something else I would remember if I had written a list with the thing written down on it …

I’m thinking about getting more organised though, and to that end, I did a Google search and found this article on the internet. I found the article short, easy to understand, and intelligent. I can easily believe the truth of what I read. The reasons why list making is a good idea were outlined well, in a fun way, and it should be easy for me to follow at least some of the ideas.

I have problems with my memory due perhaps to my age (approaching 55), also my MS, which has caused something my expert (neuro-psychologist) called ‘Mild Cognitive Impairment’. He tested my cognition, particularly memory, and thinking processes in the couple of years after I was diagnosed with MS, and that is how he came up with this diagnosis. It was a very intensive testing process, and I did badly enough to show I had problems. I remember the doctor being somewhat surprised at some of my results, because I did quite well in some things, surprisingly well.

These things related to words. He was surprised,but of course, as a writer, I would have been more surprised if I had done badly, after all, words are my work tools … I am good with words, and that’s not unusual for a writer. I do forget words though, far more often that say ten years ago. As I indicated, words are my work tools, and it worries me a little that I am forgetting words.

Worrying won’t help me though, so I try to just be cool about the whole thing, and laugh about it. I find it sort of amusing that one of the words I often forget is the third word in the diagnosis the neuro-psychologist gave me. I can easily remember Mild and Cognitive but the third word, Impairment, sometimes slips away from me, like a wriggling tadpole or something, slipping out of my grasp as I struggle to hold on to it. I know the word indicates something bad, and think of words that indicate bad things, error, mistake, destruction, distraction – they all seem wrong (as they are in fact wrong), and I might keep trying until I catch that slippery word.

Other times I will just let it go, knowing I will remember the word eventually, as I always do. Worrying can be stressful, and nothing is gained by stressing myself out. It doesn’t help me to remember anything, and it can be quite upsetting, sometimes bringing on other MS symptoms. I certainly don’t want to make that happen.

I know many people have memory problems, but I’m not what I would call old, and I get tired of forgetting things. I do remember many things though, and because I forget there is always the wonderful feeling when I find something I’d misplaced! I’m thinking about some money I kept forgetting about, not being able to remember where I’d put two lots of money. I have spent many more hours than usual looking for these things recently, and I’m glad I finally have both amounts of money in the same place, ready to use the money tomorrow, when I am getting my car fixed!

Do you have memory problems? And if you do, do you have any tricks you can share? I find that putting things in spaces that make sense to me should work, but my thought process is a bit too quirky sometimes, even for me! At least I can make myself laugh though, so I’m still having a good time, in some ways, even though it can be frustrating!

I use my calendar on my phone, which works for me, as long as I remember to look at the calendar!2016-03-09 12.38.22

At one stage, I left these hand weights near this computer, to remind me to do my weight training every day. It worked well, but I’ve given the weights in the photograph to my mother now, so I forget to lift any weights, even though they are relatively close to the computer. They aren’t right in my face, so I forget about them. I have to other, heavier weights. I can see them right now, if I look to the floor to the right of me. No excuses, I will finish this blog post, and do some weights after I switch off the computer in a couple of minutes!

 

Health Care Plan for MS

Yesterday I checked in with my doctor, to get a new health care plan set for the following 6 months. I saw the clinic nurse there first, and we got some numbers and thoughts organised. The scariest number was my weight, where the scales at the doctors confirmed more of less the horror of our family Wii Fit machine told me about a couple of days before. I could blame winter for my increase in weight, but of course, it’s because of me.

Yes, winter is a time for staying inside, and for eating comforting foods that often have more calories in them than are useful if you want to stay slim … Salads are summer food, cakes, muffins and fat-laden main courses are winter food. But it isn’t winter now where I live, it’s Spring. and salad, warm salad, can be eaten at any time. So yesterday, when I went to my fave cafe (Poetic Justice, in Gawler), I had a small warm salad, and only looked at the yummy muffins and cheesecakes in the display cabinet …

But Spring weather, when it’s as lovely as it is today, that’s good weather for getting outside and actually doing things, physical things. So today, that’s what I did. Before I did that though, I did something even better. Today I began, yet again, my Wii Fit exercise program. I’ve said I’ll do it so many times, it’s beginning to bore me to write the words. But this time, I’ve told the clinic nurse and my doctor about it, and it’s written down on my notes at the clinic.

So this morning the machine went on, I weighed in, cringed a little at the result, and then did 31 minutes of exercises – Yay to me! It wasn’t the hardest workout I’ve ever done, but it was a good workout and I sure knew I’d done something! I burned 74 calories in that time, and that’s certainly more calories than I would burn sitting on my bottom and typing a little bit!

So that’s today done, except that because it’s Spring, and a lovely Spring day at that, I went outside and actually did some things, as I wrote before. I did one of the Wii Fit Yoga exercises ‘Salute to the Sun’. I did that about five times, and it felt good to be stretching my muscles in the sunshine. After that, I went to the dog run we have, and I pulled up some weeds. This is another bit of a bend and stretch type of exercise, and it’s always good to get rid of the weeds I was focused on, with is the oxalis, which has seeds that are a menace for anyone with animals that have long hair, as our schnauzer does …

So my health care plan is under control, my mind is in a happy place, and my body, even though it doesn’t work as well as it could, still works well enough for me to do everything I want to do – my Mind, Body and Spirit are all going good!