I’m starting to see the pay off from my regular walks. I’m a few pounds lighter, feeling stronger and actually enjoying the times I can get out and go. Emotionally I feel better about myself and something else has happened, that I didn’t believe would: I feel less stressed.
Sure the experts say exercise is a major way to combat stress, but I am not an overly anxious person and I didn’t feel like I’d notice a difference. I do. Part of it is the physiological change that occurs when I fire my muscles up. But I think a major part of the mood shift is simply that I get outside, where it’s quiet, and I do something for good myself. I rarely get 30 minutes of quiet at home. Exercise is a good excuse to get it in. I return feeling powerful and peaceful.
And when you’re living with a disease that often makes you feel weak and vulnerable, personal power is a big deal. Many of us are used to taking pills and meeting with doctors and working to curb, control or counteract what the arthritis is doing to our bodies. What if we decided to work with it? I think exercise is a way to do that.
I can modify my workout to match my energy level. I can move my body – in some way – even on the bad days. And despite the arthritis, exercise always leaves me feeling stronger, and powerful and even healthy. I’m going for longevity here. I want to be as strong and as active for as long as I can be. Exercise, movement, stretching – I think those things will give momentum for the long haul. Don’t be confused, though, I’m not some poster child for regular exercise. There are days I skip it, hate it, whine about it. You know from reading this Blog that my regular sessions have been, well, irregular. But it’s clear to me now, that I feel a whole lot better when I fit it in, and that’s a feeling that comes without taking a pill. For me, that’s enough to keep going.