Tag: exercise

This week in food and fitness

I’ve cooked too much food over the course of the last two or three months. I blame my Instant Pot. Yes, it’s as wonderful as everyone says it is, but all of the recipes I tried were designed to feed the family. I am but one woman with a husband who refuses to eat the healthy meals I cook because he doesn’t want to take it away from me. My life is weird.

What went wrong

Cooking ahead and freezing seemed like a great idea, but it restricted me to eating the same things over and over. Plus, frozen food looses its appeal after a week or two.

The lentil soup I made was tasty, but it started to look like an unappetizing brown mush. I also discovered that I don’t like whole wheat pasta. It just didn’t work in the Instant Pot mac and cheese recipe I tried. My Instant Pot tortellini dish was good the first night, but it didn’t hold up well after being frozen. I’m ashamed to admit that I threw some food away.

A new approach

This week I’ll try cooking something every couple of evenings. My goal is to have food to take to work, and an option for dinner. I’ll aim to eat the recommended 5 servings of vegetables a day. Adding a serving to breakfast should help with that.

Check out the Nutrition Diva’s tips for getting more veggies in your diet.

Illustration of eggplant with human characteristics.
I’m good for you!

150 minutes a week

The Department of Health and Human Services recommends that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per week. I’m aiming for at least 30 minutes each day. Strength training for all the major muscle groups is also a must. The government says to do it twice a week. Exercise is not a problem for me if MS fatigue doesn’t get in the way. If I happen to catch a cold, or the flu, exercise becomes difficult. Gentle stretching and some yoga poses are an option for me then.

I have chiropractor appointments three times a week for the next two weeks. I’ll try and make it to Planet Fitness on the evenings I’m not being adjusted. I’ve been having a lot of fun with Wii Sports, Wii Sports Resort, and Wii Fit. I want to get back to a more regular yoga practice. And there’s that Tai Chi app I downloaded.

Should I make a workout schedule? Maybe. I could be making better use of that Happy Planner of mine.

Figure exercising on mat.

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Do this instead

My brain could do better

Lately, I’ve found myself spending too much time scrolling through my Twitter feed. Sometimes when I come across something objectionable I delve into the post’s replies to see if someone out there has something to say that will make me feel better. I know, I’m just looking for someone to validate my worldview. I’m human.

All of this is unhealthy. I’m damaging my psyche and I’m wasting precious time. Why do I choose to devote energy to other people’s nonsense?

It is mostly nonsense, isn’t it?

The Solution

The way around this dilemma is to do something else! There are tons of things I can do with my time instead of browsing Twitter. Even going to Pinterest would be a healthier option. I made a list of ten worthwhile activities!

  1. Do something blog-related like plan and write posts.
  2. Engage with other bloggers.
  3. Practice playing the guitar.
  4. Learn how to use my digital SLR camera.
  5. Learn some jewelry making techniques.
  6. Draw
  7. Art journal
  8. Read
  9. Meditate
  10. Make more lists

I could go on, but you get the idea. I should consult this list the next time I’m tempted by Twitter.

Pencil drawing
Something I drew

Tracking Symptoms

Once in a while, I think it would be useful to track my MS symptoms. I was doing it when I was part of this study that gathered data via an iPhone app, I quit the study because I was taking all of those supplements from my herbalist and didn’t want to mess up the data. I was also tired of feeling pressured to complete the app’s activities. I considered logging my symptoms in a paper journal but that didn’t happen.

The Aby app

A week or so ago I saw an ad for an MS app on Instagram, or maybe Twitter. It’s called Aby, and Biogen makes it. Pharmaceutical companies provide these resources hoping that you’ll use their drug. It has a journal feature where you can log your activities and symptoms.  I’ve used it a few times, but it seems like more trouble than it’s worth to report the same minimal symptoms day after day.

Screenshot of Aby journal feature.
The journal feature.

The app has some useful informational articles and exercise videos. The videos are designed for people with MS who tend to have trouble with normal fitness routines because we experience fatigue more quickly than the average exerciser. I’ve done two of the routines so far. One for the lower body and the other for arms. They were both around 25 minutes long with rest breaks between sets. The lower body sequence was sufficiently challenging for me, but the one for arms didn’t feel like much of a workout. These are good to have handy on my very low energy days.

Worth a try

All-in-all, Aby is okay. I don’t like that the medication reminder feature won’t let me schedule alerts for my three times a week injections. You can only set them for multiple times a day. It only got three stars in the app store, and that was from a paltry fifteen users. The one person who wrote a review called it “Good, not great.”  I should probably add my two-cents worth.

Aby is free, so go ahead and give it a try. It may be worth it just for the exercise videos.

Any fitness screenshot

Space and Time

Sometimes I write about how Multiple Sclerosis is treating me. I can’t say that I struggle with the condition, because for me, it is not that bad. I belong to an MS support group on Facebook and see so many people posting about the difficulties they go through because of the disease. I’m grateful that things are pretty good for me.

My worst symptom

The disconnect between my brain and my body makes walking somewhat difficult. For me, walking is not natural anymore. I think too much about the mechanics of walking just about every time I get up and take a few steps. I worry that people see me coming and think, “she sure has a weird walk.” It’s funny how your ego tricks you into believing everyone is watching and judging you.

My next worst symptom

The fatigue that comes with MS makes if challenging to be as physically fit as I would like to be. I can walk on the treadmill for 30 minutes at about 2.5 mph, but when I dismount I need another 30 to 45 minutes of recovery time before I feel comfortable walking from the gym to the car. I don’t use an assistive device for walking, but I would be better off using one after a treadmill workout.

Dancing

I majored in Dance in undergrad and went on the earn a masters degree in Dance. I danced with a local modern company and with a belly dance troupe. I am still able to dance, but the muscle spasticity caused by MS is a problem. I can’t always rely on my body to do what I want it to do, for the amount of time I want to do it. I can perform a solo with little difficulty, but when I’m done, I have to shuffle off the stage, because the effort has caused the muscles of my lower legs to revolt. Dancing isn’t what it used to be.

Small collage with photo of dancer and mixed media leaf

Not complaining

It could be worse and I want to say that I’m not complaining. I think I am complaining. There are days when I wish I could be the person I used to be.

A life plan

My recent fascination with the stories of people who have had a near-death experiences led me to a book by Michael Newton, PH. D. called Journey of Souls. The work documents case studies of people Newton interviewd during hypnosis in which they recount a time when they say they existed in the spirit world after death. These subjects talk of having sessions with members of a soul group who counsel each other about what they will do in their next incarnation.

If what is said in the book is true, I have to believe. that after my last life, I chose to inhabit a body that would develop MS because I needed to learn something from the experience.

When I was a child, I remember telling my mother that when I was up Heaven I chose her and my father to be my parents. I believe more and more that this was indeed the case.

Sometimes I think that I’m supposed be be a writer, and MS is here to divert me away from dancing and toward writing. I have always had. trouble settling down to one area of interest. I’m a jack of many trades and master of none. I may not be a master of anything until my next life.

I’m event thinking about starting another blog devoted to spiritual stuff. Another example of my lack of focus.

Health and things

Let’s talk about:

  • Multiple Myeloma
  • Weight loss
  • Exercising with MS
  • Herbalists & Naturopaths
  • Near Death Experience
  • Life after death
  • Love
  • Art
  • Writing
  • Jewelry
  • Meditation
  • Podcasts

That is a list of topics that are swimming around my head. It’s a prompt, of sorts-perhaps a promise.

I must blog about these topics, or else.

Or else what? I don’t know.

Red tulips

The Common Cold

I’m getting over a cold this weekend. The illness itself only lasted about four days, but the lead up to getting cold symptoms was a week and a half. I blame MS and maybe hormones.

I realized several years ago that I would inevitably have low energy periods each month. I experienced flu-like symptoms (fatigue and muscle aches) without the upper respiratory distress. Every time I made plans to start a regular fitness regime, I would feel not well enough to get started.  Now that I know I have MS, it all makes sense.

You see, the period when I’m coming down with a cold is slightly worse for me than for people who don’t have an autoimmune disease. I’m just guessing. I haven’t done a study. I missed a few days of work last week because it seemed prudent not to overtax myself. I didn’t get a lot of exercise either. I feared that overdoing it could lead to a flare-up.

The only way I can get in better shape when I’m faced with these monthly energy fluctuations is to not skip workouts when I’m feeling good, and do what I can during my less than 100% periods. I’m considering getting in a little strength training every day with some cardio built in. I keep talking about it, but not making a plan. The trick is not to use the lack of a plan as an excuse to doing nothing.

Today, I’m recovering. Tomorrow should be better. I might do some hooping.

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The Opposite Direction

bigmansculpture

Jake sat in the grass at the foot of the great statue. He didn’t know what the statue signified, but he was drawn to it for some reason. Every day at lunchtime he would leave his office on the 15th floor of the shiny blue building, walk across the courtyard, and take a seat beneath the stone giant. Jake would lay out a hand towel on the grass and then place his sandwich, chips, and soda on top of it. Some days, today included, Julia, from the 12th floor, would sit with him and eat her bagel and cream cheese. They would discuss the doings on the 15th and 12th floors. Jake managed the A-L accounts, and Julia handled M-Z. The conversations were not at all interesting.

They sat and ate until Julia abruptly stood up and pulled Jake to his feet. His sandwich dropped to the ground, and he looked at it forlornly. Julia swiftly kicked the sandwich away and looked pleadingly into Jake’s eyes. He understood her request and answered with a nod. The pair then ducked under the statue’s parted legs and strode away in the opposite direction of the office building. They did not look back.

A response to Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner, Week 3. 199 words~

 

Stretch

I guess this is another MS  post. It’s what’s going on with me after all. Let’s call it a vocabulary lesson.

Spasticity refers to feelings of stiffness and a wide range of involuntary muscle spasms (sustained muscle contractions or sudden movements). It is one of the more common symptoms of MS. Spasticity may be as mild as the feeling of tightness of muscles or may be so severe as to produce painful, uncontrollable spasms of extremities, usually of the legs. Spasticity may also produce feelings of pain or tightness in and around joints, and can cause low back pain. Although spasticity can occur in any limb, it is much more common in the legs.  (more here.. . from National MS Society.)

Stretching is key in dealing with spasticity. Yesterday I hardly stretched at all. I can’t let that happen.

It doesn’t always have to be structured, although having a few routines to do would ensure that I don’t miss any important muscle groups. Stretching helps me focus and relax, so it’s good for stress management. My only difficulty is keeping Riley from walking all over me while I’m sprawled on the floor.

Photo of Chihuahua/Boston Terrier mix.
Riley wants to help me stretch.

A Strange Alphabet or Nonsensical Thursday

I was going to try the writing exercise where your first sentence starts with the letter “A,” and then the next starts with “B,” etc. I started and stopped, because what I was writing seemed stupid. And then this happened. Maybe I’ll be able to do something with some of this nonsense.

After a few drinks, I get a little sleepy.
Believe what I say in these drunken times,                                                                                                             because I speak the truth.

Do you ever feel proud of yourself one day and then ashamed the next?

Colors are brighter at first but they soon merge into gray.
Don't melt your crayons together to make this happen.

I have been feeling ambitious these days. I continued to fill out my grad school application. I want to be recognized as a someone not a no-one.

Elephants are gray, but they remember everything.
Forgetting is sometimes the best thing you can do.

I overslept this morning because I didn’t set my alarm. Sometimes I think that I just don’t care. But then I get up and I do care. I try as I can.

Great writers start writing when the sun comes up;                                                                                                     faeries make coffee when they start to falter.
Holding onto sanity is a writer's chief objective.

My trying comes in fits and starts. My mind is…

Islands are surrounded by water.
Jokes are contrived by the insecure.

My mind is trapped in my body, and my body is what I know to be me.

Killing time might be considered sinful.
Love is good when you can see it.

This is the first day of August. I can’t believe the summer is closing so rapidly. I can’t take another winter, but I’ve said the same thing before.

Melodies speak to us.
Never stop listening.

When this is over, I will make a visual thing to show.

Over and over she repeats and repeats.
Pain, it seems, is no deterrent.

This has gone on long enough.

Questions are actually answers aren't they?

This thing must end soon.

Right and wrong sometimes live in the same space.

I’ve had my fun and now it’s time…

So sorry that this was what it was.
Tomorrow will be slightly different.
Understand that I just wanted to write something.

I really didn’t feel like writing, but here is something I have written.

Vacations are for the rich, and vacation starts with a V.
Why couldn't I have tried harder?
Xenial's definition is something to do with hospitality.

I’m glad this is over.

You should agree with this next one.
Zebras are kind of like striped horses.

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A Zebra’s butt

A Plan for This Week

I’ve got a plan for this week. I’m trying to make the muscle spasms in my legs stop by increasing my exercise time, and adding a magnesium supplement. If things don’t improve I’ll have to go to the doctor and see if she wants to test me for MS. I’m really scared that I might have MS. If I do, I could handle it, but I want to be able to dance the way I used to.

I’ve been religiously doing physical therapy exercises that I’ve found on the Internet, and it is making a difference. I really do believe that I probably don’t have MS. I don’t want to have to get an MRI of my brain to prove it though.

Here’s this week’s plan (all of these are for every day unless otherwise noted):

1) 30 minutes on the treadmill
2) PT exercises
3) Practice DDBD Gen Con choreography
4) Use the Ab Glider 3 times this week (if the thing gets assembled)
5) Stay hydrated
6) Take magnesium supplement
7) Eat fruits and veggies
8) Manage stress with deep breathing and positive thinking

I feel like I’m broken; I want to be fixed.

The RDA of magnesium for females over 31 is 320 mg/day. Here’s some more info from WebMD.

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