Thursday, April 26, 2012
One Step Forward, Two Back
I am only too aware that I don't get enough exercise. I spend too much time sitting and reading. I get out of breath when I walk up stairs or up a hill. I know I badly need to work on this. A couple of years ago, I joined a fitness center for women. Their program involves a circuit of exercises, where you move from one to the next in a set amount of time. The problem was, I couldn't keep up the pace. I ended up out of breath and dizzy.
A while back I wrote a post about Sjogren's Syndrome. I was diagnosed with it years ago. It's an autoimmune condition that causes your immune system to attack your body's ability to create moisture; the symptoms are dry eyes, dry mouth, dry skin, etc. I have learned to treat the symptoms and live with it. But a year or so ago, it was in the news, when Serena Williams was diagnosed with it. She was tiring easily and had to drop out of competition. I wondered if the same thing could be affecting my endurance. Also, it can get worse as you age.
I've been thinking about this and decided to do the best I can to get into better shape and get more exercise. So I joined our local YMCA. Our Y is very well equipped and has a variety of great activities for all levels of fitness. I went for my orientation last Monday. Then I stayed for an aerobic exercise class. It wasn't a high level class, and all of the participants were about my age. The class was 50 minutes long. I was doing fine until about the 30-minute mark. Then I got tired and felt like stopping, but I kept going. Now I know that was a mistake. I've been exhausted and out of breath for two days.
I am not going to give it up. But I am going to take it slower. I have learned my lesson. I am going to go at my own comfort level. The people at the Y tell you this; they say do what you can, the important thing is to keep moving. So I am going to keep moving, but at my own pace. Now I know this is more important than ever. I believe that, at my age, I am at a turning point. I must decide if I want to have an active lifestyle or give up and be sedentary for the rest of my life.
Update: After I wrote this post this morning, I got back "on the horse". I went to the Y and took a cardio class that was less strenuous than Monday's. I told them I might not make it the whole fifty minutes, but I did. It got my heart rate up and I worked up a healthy sweat, but I felt good afterward, not exhausted.