“Ill-health, of body or of mind, is defeat. Health alone is victory. Let all men, if they can manage it, contrive to be healthy!”
If you told me a few months ago that the gym would become my home-away-from-home, my "happy place", I would have laughed at you in the face. I might have even punched you in the arm (what can I say, I'm a hands-on kinda gal). Present day I go to the gym six out of every seven days in the week. Yoga with Hope on Mondays and Wednesdays, Pilates with Robin on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and then Saturday and Sunday just plain old gym days. Sometimes I double up classes on Wednesdays and do an "On The Ball" class before Yoga. Friday is my day of rest. After my classes I always pop into the cardio room for about 30 minutes on the Elliptical runner. On my "gym days" (Saturday and Sunday), I do 30 on the Elliptical and 30 on the bike. The bike is fabulous - because it has a personal TV that you can plug your headphones into (and it gets ALL channels) and a cool fan that blows on you, coolin' you off. I also use the rowing machine here and there - they are rather popular at the gym and getting on one is a crap-shoot. Where I'm getting with all of this is -- FITNESS is FUN. Fuck. I never thought that I'd say that. But I love it. I feel great, I look great, and I'm having a great time. I use to look at the gym like a chore, and now it's where I go to release stress, relax and have a good time.
I became frustrated with the gym when I was diagnosed with Lymes Disease years ago. I woke up one morning when I was a teenager and half my face was paralyzed. A frightening thing to happen PERIOD - let alone it happening OVERNIGHT. I never had a "bulls-eye" tick bite -- only a small percentage of lymes disease sufferers had a rash. After many tests at the neurosurgeons we found out that I was in stage 2 (there are 3 stages) of Lymes. It's a sneaky disease - with beginning symptoms being pain in the jaw, depression, severe exhaustion, and achy joints. Well I talk a lot - so I thought that was what caused my jaw hurting - I'm crazy with my ups and downs so when I felt depressed I just thought it was normal. And I work like a crazy lady and push my body, so I thought that explained me being so tired that I would fall asleep anytime, anywhere. If you go to the doctor with those symptoms - they are going to tell you to take some Vitamin C and get some rest. Lymes is on the back-burner medically for some reason - I don't quite understand. My very healthy, very active 50 year old mother has had Lymes for years, and recently was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis (caused by the Lymes). She suffers with horrible joint pains every day of the week. Suffers. And they don't think that Lymes is a real illness? There are others who feel as frustrated with how Lymes is treated aside from myself - someone who actually works for Philadelphia Weekly, and published a (cover) article this summer. PLEASE read this article. It is informative, eye-opening, and a must-read.
Okay, bringing it full circle. Sorry about that - went on a tangent. I ache. All over. I am 21 years old!!! An active, healthy 21 year old female. And when I walk around the block or am on my feet for a few hours, my ankles swell up. My knees hurt, my elbows, my wrists. So any kind of working out hurt me. I would go to the gym and push my body - walk/run on the treadmill and treat my body like I had in the past -- with little concern. When I began at the Ocean City Community Center I went because the extra weight I put on wasn't good for my joints - I figured I'd give the dreaded-gym a second chance. I started small, just going to Yoga and Pilates. I noticed a change in my energy, my skin, and my body within the first 3 weeks. My energy in the first week! These low-impact workouts, working my core and building strength, were just what my body needed. I have lost more weight doing these two classes and adding in light cardio than I ever did in "training". If anyone is looking for a change this new year - I encourage you to join the Community Center. There are old people, young people, fat, skinny, men, and women -- all there trying to do the same thing as you - get healthy and stay healthy! It is an encouraging environment, with everyone motivating each other. They have great classes, awesome equipment, and a pool (and sauna)! I'm not saying that you have to go the gym - I'm just saying get active. Go for a surf, a swim, a walk, or kayak. Get movin'!I'm sure that my gym schedule will scale back eventually, but I'm glad that I gave the gym a second chance. Seeing what my parents are going through, both victims of Lymes, I know that getting older isn't going to be the most comfortable, so I'm taking every effort I can to make sure that I take care of my body now. HEALTH is all you have --- you have one body. Cherish it. Treat it. Your body is only as good as what you put into it - and what you do with it.
-William Arthur Ward