babble, exercise, fitness, physiotherapy, sciatica, story of my life

In Which Tracy Talks About Keeping Fit

I was contacted not too long ago, to be featured on a Sports Direct post about what we most hate about keeping fit.

I love everyone else’s reasons! Laundry’s a huge vexation of mine, too, and it seems that other people also have that problem, hah!

But my problem doesn’t stem from laundry. My problem stems from being disabled.

I’ve only recently taken to calling myself disabled, although it’s something that I should’ve done a long, long time ago. “Just” being in chronic pain (for more than ten years!) should be cause enough for anyone to call themselves disabled. But being a little backwards in the whole disablism thing, I always sort of thought that, unless you used a wheelchair or were able to get a blue badge for your car or, y’know, were disabled, then you weren’t disabled.

That was until I actually became disabled and had to apply for Employment and Support Allowance, one of the Social Welfare benefits in the UK. That’ll learn ya what society (but not Government) deems disability to be.

Mental health problems. Invisible disabilities.

I’ve been disabled for ten years and extremely unaware of it!

So how does this relate to the above mentioned Sports Direct post? Well, the thing I hate most about keeping fit is just this: I’m disabled. Keeping fit depends on one thing, and one thing alone.

What am I capable of doing today?

In Which Tracy Talks About Keeping Fit

FATGIRLslim | Walk ALL The Distances
Last year’s approach to keeping fit.

There have been times when I’ve had to cancel my gym membership due to the fact that my physical condition has just drastically decreased, for no reason whatsoever. One day I’ve been fine, and the next day it’s been a case of, “Oh. Oh, crap, I don’t think I can walk right now without being in completely, number 10 agonising pain even while fully medicated.”

There have been the times, of course, when I’ve felt wonderful and I’ve managed to sustain months – I think I even managed two years? – of exercise without incident, and then suddenly, again, my body’s turned around and told me that I’m doing too much and to slow down.

The most important thing to do, if you’re keeping fit when you’re disabled, is to listen to your body. If you’re exercising when it’s hurting, then you’re going to keep on hurting, and might end up even worse. I know that for a fact. I’ve been there and done that. That’s what not losing weight also does to you, or regaining a crapload of weight does to you. It hurts your body.

If your body is saying, “No, please, let me rest,” then don’t keep hurting it. It needs the rest. It knows best! It’s evolved for this. If you were a hunter and you were out on a hunt and your back/leg/knee/muscle suddenly gave out, you’d be so much chow for the big beasty you’d been chasing, instead of the other way around.

I know that probably a lot of people think that continuing to exercise is the best thing for you, but I’ve had far too many experts (doctors, specialists, nurses) tell me otherwise. I have it drilled into my head. It’s on the back of my eyelids.

If you’re sore, and you want to work out, there’s still stuff you can do at home, if you absolutely have to. Depending on what your disability is, find a way to work with it. Take a walk during the advert break of the TV shows you’ve been forced to watch while you recover. Do some arm curls with a couple of 1 litre bottles of water. (They weigh approx 32oz/1lb each!) Do step-ups in your hallway, if you can’t get outside. If you’re able.

Make use of your surroundings. Make use of your body, as much as is safe for you to do so. Just don’t overdo it!

The point is:

I know it sucks.

I want to be back to four Spin classes a week, plus my two Zumba classes, my Aqua fit, working out after Zumba and Spin, and walking to and from the gym, but it’s not feasible right now, because my disability is too bad.

I’m working to fix it so that I can get back to that level (hah!) of “fitness”, with the help of a physiotherapist.

But right now, I just have to kind of deal with the fact that I can’t work out, or keep fit, as much as I’d like to.