New research from the University of Carolina has discovered that exercise can improve the wellbeing of people with arthritis. “Nothing new there,” I hear you all say – no doubt as keen-yet-cautious to exercise as I am.
For me, it has always been a tricky balance. I want to do more, I really do… but I also can’t be arsed. I know that I always feel better when I exercise and after a while I am less stiff and tired than I usually am. I’m just not very good at striking the right balance between making myself better and fitter, and pushing myself too far.
My mum’s favourite example of me doing too much comes from when I was in year 8 at school. A morning’s PE class had left my joints feeling looser than usual so I decided I would go to running club at lunch time. Someone referring to my preggo-looking belly also probably had something to do with it.
The long and short of it is that my new keep fit regime lasted a grand total of one day. I went to running club on Wednesday lunch time, and couldn’t walk at all by Wednesday evening.
I did the Race for Life for Cancer Research about 10 years ago. That in itself was an embarrassing error in judgement because though I felt I could have done the last kilometre, I couldn’t bring myself to be the last person to cross the finish line and stopped before the end.
It was at this point I swore off sponsored physical activities for life, and created my life mantra: “McColgans don’t run”.
I know some arthritis warriors do marathons for Arthritis Research. I obviously think that is a very noble cause indeed, and find the fact that people can commit to such lengthy training – and such a lengthy run – really impressive and inspiring. But it’s not for me.
I’m a walker and a swimmer and I know my limits. I like swimming because I don’t have to put any weight on my joints and that makes it rather enjoyable. I can manage short walks, but a multi-mile trek is not going to go down well with my knees.
The greatest thing about moving away from home and selling my car is that I have better opportunities to make choices about actually moving. I like my 20-minute walk home from uni (I never walk into uni because it’s the morning and it’s cold and meh), and if I’m feeling a bit tired I can just get the bus instead.
It feels nice to have pushed yourself just enough, I think. I’m not swearing off exercise forever, just for now.
Do you have any tips about exercise? Tell us in our Facebook group, Arthur’s Place Social.
Meet Collette and other friendly folk on Arthur’s Place Social, our Facebook Group
(Any opinions expressed in Collette’s blog are not necessarily shared by Arthur’s Place. Nothing that you read in Collette’s blog constitutes medical advice.)