Over the last week, I did something rather extraordinary, for me! I signed up to membership of our local Leisure Centre! I now have access to use of all of the facilities; including gym, pool and the various classes that run from there. I have ordered some new gym wear and I have booked myself in for the first of three one hour sessions with a Personal Trainer, later this month.
Those of my readers who are also family and friends will no doubt be shocked at this news! Indeed, I am a little stunned at myself for such an out of character decision! In fact, it is so out of character for me to consider not only going to a gym, but also to attend a physical exercise class with ‘other people’, that I have even wondered whether this is part of a compulsive behaviour that is caused by a side-effect of my Parkinson’s medication!
Then, I remind myself why I have taken this decision. There are a few serious reasons. One, is that I owe it to my spouse to do everything I can to remain as mobile as possible for as long as possible. All of the research suggests that Parkinson’s progression can be slowed by regular exercise. “Use it or lose it.”, they say. It would appear to be true, from everything I read and everything that my Neurologist and medical support teams advise me. If it truly is possible to hold off some of the degeneration and disability that lies ahead of me, then I must do that.
Another reason for my decision is that an inspiring friend in Canada, called Tanya Lestrange, has taught me a lot about the benefits of physical activity when living with a degenerative neurological disease.
Tanya also lives with Parkinson’s and she is a shining example of how maintaining fitness and agility can make a positive impact on life, as a person with Parkinson’s.
Finally, a key part of this decision to actively take up regular exercise comes from my relationship with myself. I know that, in the future, I would hate to look back at how my life progressed, following diagnosis, and feel remorse and regret for not having done enough; for not having tried and for not having fought this disease with everything I have. So, I have no choice but to do what is uncomfortable and daunting. Not doing so would mean that, in the future, I would be disappointed in myself. That is unacceptable when, as stated above, my illness also affects those closest to me.
Over the past six months, I have lost a stone in weight. I have achieved this through simple dietary change and by becoming more active. I made a decision to improve diet and to take up more physical activity and then, day by day, I made healthier choices that matched my decision. This is working well.
One day at a time. I have my membership in place for the Leisure Centre. I have my session with my Personal Trainer booked. I have my new gym wear on order and I am now just awaiting Monday 21st, to get started.
Wish me luck! If you have been through/are going through a similar experience, do leave a comment below and share your story.
(c) Dean Parsons. May 2018.