Exercise is an Ugly Word

Exercise? We’ve known for a long time that it does a body good.  Years ago we never used that word much. When I was young, I played outside all day long. I rollerskated  (“Hey, who’s got the key?”),  played lots of tag, kickball and hopscotch, rode bikes, climbed trees, walked to the pool for a day of swimming—there was always something to do.  I didn’t know I was exercising, but I guess that’s what I was doing! Then because I liked swimming so much, I joined a local team and turned into a full-fledged fish.  During that period, I apparently couldn’t take in enough calories by eating and had to drink Nutrament so I could maintain weight. (Yes, this is sadly true, and amazing now that middle-aged expansion has taken over) Activity was just part of life back then. We never called it ‘exercise’.

Somewhere at the end of my teen years it seems the explosion of exercise classes and “health spas” began. Some of the early gyms  were really barebones with weight benches and a steam room. My first visit to one was with my husband who aspired to be a ‘bodybuilder’.  That ‘sport’ was new (and sort of weird) to me, but I followed him into a little neighborhood gym where he was going to show me how to get in shape. (I was a twig back then, comparatively, and so young! I hadn’t lived long enough to get out of shape…) Anyway,  I descended rickety stairs through a hole in the floor into a smelly basement filled with barbells and strappy contraptions. It wasn’t that big of a deal to me then, nor is it now, that that’s where Hulk Hogan worked out when he was in town.  (I don’t think he had that name yet.)  I don’t think I went back more than once or twice, but I do remember thinking What are you doing in this horrible germy place? And why? I had no answers and never went back.  That was exactly the kind of exercise regimen that will never be followed!!!

Almost 30 years have passed since then, and I have lifted weights and tried machines at several different places.  Most of the time it’s been for rehab for knee surgeries or general conditioning.  But I can never stick with it because I don’t like it. There, I said it. Oh, I want to like it. But that’s just not the same thing.

Having MS is a great way to get deconditioned fast. All of our obstacles—-fatigue, difficulty moving, weak legs, pain,  or sensory disturbances, for example, are some of the reasons why we, who are physically challenged, need to participate. It’s hard to find something that I CAN do that has just the right amount of ease and challenge, fun and profitable for my body’s sake.  Until I find what that is though, I feel obligated to my body to give it some activity and movement so that it can head as far towards wellness as it can. What right do I have to complain about this symptom or that unless I am TRYING (a good, solid try!) to help my body along??

And so, I ordered a FREE DVD called Fitness With Katrina–Fitness for People With Multiple Sclerosis. I know it isn’t THE answer, but it might be something I can use until that comes along.  You can order yours from Biogen at http://www.msactivesource.com  (see links at right) I guess it’s the least one of the pharmaceutical companies can do. (Sorry, a bit of bitterness slipped out.)


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