Easy to say, many times hard to do…
Especially when you have CES.
Bowel problems, Bladder Problems, Constant Pain, Numbness, Drop Foot, Decreased mobility, Partial Paralysis, etc. These are not issues that make it easy to actually get any kind of healthy exercise on a daily basis.
When I got CES in 1999, one of the after-effects was that I instantly became home bound. Many days, I was bed bound.
This resulted in my gaining weight. A lot of weight.
When I was much younger, I ran Marathons at 155 lbs.
A few years after CES, I was at 300 lbs.
I tried various forms of exercise with little results.
I tried walking around my neighborhood but the strain on my legs and feet was too great. For much of the early years, I wore AFO braces on my bad foot and these braces just tore up my foot if I walked any great distances.
I purchased an expensive treadmill for in my home. I figured the cushioned walking pad of the treadmill would put less strain on my feet and legs. Well, the pad was cushioned, but the walking was still difficult and painful.
I was at Physical Therapy one day for one of my myriad of CES-related issues and the Therapist had me ride an upright stationary bicycle. The only hard part was climbing on and off the thing, otherwise, riding it was extremely easy.
I found that if I rode the bike fast enough, and far enough, I would break a good sweat and would get my heart rate up. I climbed down off the bike and found that my legs were tired, but not hurting. I had found a way to exercise!
I bought myself a Stationary Bike and set it up in my living room at home.
I started riding it in January of 2011.
I rode as much as I could when I did not have something better to do while trapped here at home. With my health issues, there was many days and weeks when I could not ride, especially when having bowel difficulties, and I was usually only able to ride about 6-7 miles at a time before needing a break, but I would climb back on that bike whenever I could not find anything to keep me occupied.
I ended up riding over 11,000 miles in 2011 and 2012 combined.
Within 6 months of starting riding, I had dropped 40 lbs of weight.
Of course, when the CES issues would keep me off the bike for any extended periods, much of that weight would come right back, but I was able to stay much healthier when I was able to use the bike.
***I use a step stool in order to help me climb on the bike, and have stirrups on the pedals in order to hold my numb feet in place. My butt is numb, so seat comfort is not an issue, but you do have to wiggle around a good bit in order to get properly balanced while riding. Riding for extended periods does put a bit of a strain on your lower back, so I tend to not ride much more than 20-30 minutes at a time.***
In order to avoid boredom on the bike, I always ride with my IPOD blasting my favorite music, and I started doing “virtual” rides around the US and CANADA.
Basically, I picked a starting point on the map and then started pedaling. At the end of the day, I checked to see where I would be on the map and then blogged about my current location, with pictures of that town, on my humor blog that I wrote at the time.
Each day, I rode in my living room, while I was “virtually” riding from town to town across the US and Canada.
This year, I decided to fly my Exercise Bike over to the United Kingdom in order to start a tour of Europe that will take me all year. I started in Scotland and hope to visit as many countries as possible before years end. I am hoping for 10,000 miles this year, as long as the CES will let me stay on the bike.
I used to be a runner, but CES stole that from me.
I also love the activity of Hiking, but CES has stole much of that from me.
I used to love long walks around my town, but CES has stole much of that from me.
When CES allows me to climb on the bike, I CAN and DO beat the CES for as many miles as I can pedal. My family looks at me like I am crazy. I will pedal for 20 minutes or so, climb down, do other things, take a few hours off, then will climb back on and pedal another 20 minutes, with this being repeated during most of the day. Why do I do it? Because I NEED to do it in order to try to stay somewhat healthy and to keep my weight down, but also because ALL THESE MILES ARE MILES THAT CES HAS NOT STOLEN FROM ME.
A Doctor with no clue about CES might look and say “Well, how can you ride over 11,000 miles if you are disabled with this so-called terrible condition that no one has ever heard of?”
I would answer that by saying….. “Yes, I rode over 11,000 miles in two years on an exercise bike, with CES, but without the CES, maybe I could have ridden a REAL bike twice that distance”.
Out of the 730 days of the last two years, I was able to ride on about 300 of those days. As you can see, CES won the majority of the days by far and kept me off the bike. But, for those 300 days, I WAS THE WINNER.
What forms of exercise have YOU found that are possible with CES?
Please share other forms of exercise in a comment so others can give them a try.
Any exercise is GOOD exercise.
I urge you to try to find what exercise your body can tolerate with your CES issues and try to do that activity as much as possible.
I am tracking my “virtual” progress across Europe on a new blog that is here. My European CES friends might want to watch outside their windows because sometime this year, this Idiot from Texas, on a Exercise bike, might come pedaling down your street.