Green Eggs & Ham and a side of ‘Crossfit’ for 2020:

It’s ironic really that I sit here writing a blog on MS and exercise in the baggiest tracksuit I could find after a month of Christmas, New Year’s and engagement celebrations.

For the past 2 weeks I have had no concept of day, time or even place on occasions, my exposure to natural light has been minimal and too many times I have convinced myself that chocolate is absolutely acceptable for breakfast! And once again I find myself at the beginning of the New Year feeling guilty, sluggish, excessively tired and with a list of resolutions an arm long for the year ahead. I have been researching gym memberships and gym classes and keep uttering the mantra of ‘new year, new you’!

            Over the years my perseverance with adequate exercise has fluctuated – some months I am a powerhouse and other months a disaster. Dropping out of prepaid exercise classes, not using that gym membership and being on first name terms with the delivery guy was a common occurrence prior to my diagnosis. Since my diagnosis I have certainly improved and while I am more conscious of exercise and overall health, I am still nowhere near being consistent with it and over the past year I have realised that ‘consistency’ has always been my issue. I would do a yoga class, absolutely love it and feel the benefits of it and then suddenly stop doing it

I would decide to do a 5km walk in the forest every evening, feel energised and better after it and then not go for a walk for a month after.

Last year I discovered Crossfit and I absolutely adored it- I loved the community feel, loved lifting the weights and challenging myself. I was ¾ way through a fundamentals class when I stopped and never kept it up. So I needed to really ask myself why I wasn’t being consistent in things that I enjoyed and things that were of benefit to both my physical and mental health. And it took a loved one to point out the answer to me – I was too eager to do more and lift more and stretch more that I was burning myself out, I wasn’t listening to my body and I certainly wasn’t giving it time. I was also being too hard on myself; a glass of wine at the weekend made me feel that all my good work during the week had been in vain so I might as well scoff on chocolates and takeaways for the rest of the weekend and start again on Monday. What I needed to do was simple – I needed to exercise for my physical and mental health but I needed to listen to my body as I did it. I was much better off to lift 5kgs in weights than to think I was Hulk Hogan and lift 10kgs and be unable to move the day after.

            Exercise is of upmost importance for every single one of us, and especially for those with MS. It is a necessity that we tailor exercise to our own abilities and listen to our bodies. If we can lift a dumbbell 5 times today that’s much better than not lifting it at all. Exercise can be adapted; it can be done from a chair, from the floor, even from our living room. We need to be consistent to reap the rewards but we have to enjoy it and we have to go at our own pace and listen to our bodies.

So my resolutions for 2020 – I will try those green eggs and ham and all those other healthy foods that I have been avoiding; Everything in moderation- I will have that glass of wine or bar of chocolate as a treat and not feel guilty; Be consistent with my exercise- whether it’s a short walk, some stretches, chair yoga or crossfit, I will go at my own pace, tailor it towards my own abilities and listen to my body, a little bit every day goes a long way!

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