Sunday, June 12, 2011

Parkinson's and Exercise

This is absolutely my least favourite topic to discuss. When I was healthy, especially at the height of my fitness, I really didn't have a lot of compassion for people with chronic illnesses whose health would be much better (according to those wonderful, all-knowing, anonymous folks known as "they") with even just a little regular exercise. 

Sure, I could understand that exercise would be difficult, maybe even painful, especially at first, but if they stuck with it they would get stronger and their lives would be so much better. People who give people with chronic illnesses advice like this ought to be stricken with their own chronic illness so they can develop some compassion. 

And this is why I have Parkinson's disease now. (I'm just 81% kidding!) I don't believe in karma. I do believe in God. But I would never tell someone that God will strike them down with some horrible disease because of something they have done. But, today's topic is not "Why bad things happen to good people?" So back to my least favourite topic: exercise. 

I have written a few Triond articles about my theories on exercise: Physiotherapy in the shower Fitness through clumsiness,  Shopping as a sport, and Housework as aerobic exercise.

I've been writing about how the Parkinson's symptoms I experience come and go from one hour to the next, and how most days I have a few good hours - usually in the early afternoon. When I am "on" I have all the vim and vigor of a normal person twice my age. I would love to go walking (or shopping!), but I am afraid to go by myself in case my muscles cramp up. I also don't drive anymore. 

I used to enjoy going to aerobics classes, and I even did aerobics with a video tape in my living room quite faithfully when my girls were little. So when a friend of mine asked if I would be a guinea pig for her as she takes her training to be a fitness instructor, I schizophrenically agreed, second guessed myself, agreed . . .

So my friend brought her mom and we had an aerobics class in my basement. Shockingly enough, I managed to keep up and I made it through the class! Even more shocking, I feel fine today. (Well, fine as in my base level symptoms and pain.) We agreed to try it again next Saturday. I'll let you know if I survive. Maybe I should listen to all of the healthy people who keep telling me I would feel better if I got some exercise. 

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