Runners in their 70's finishing 5 Ks and 1/2 marathons, lap swimmers in their 80's swimming like clockwork, and ladies in their 60's taking HIIT classes all are so amazing. I have had the privilege of knowing and working with some pretty awesome, inspiring people who are seasoned by time and ageless, true examples to follow. I have clients like that.There isn't anything I can give them that they would ever refuse the challenge. But make no mistake, they live with pain and physical issues daily. What's the secret of these "second wind-ers"? They know their limits and don't give up!
Arthritis, heart conditions, joint replacements, and diabetes, among many conditions, affect Americans of all ages every day. Some allow their lives to be defined by their conditions, while others learn to manage their conditions effectively and live life to the fullest.The main determining factor is all in the mindset. I knew a pastor who was very large with a gruff disposition. It had been a while since I had seen him when, suddenly, at a pastor's conference, I couldn't believe my eyes! I saw a much thinner, more upbeat man with his name. He had become ill and found out that he had type 2 diabetes. At the urging of his doctor to exercise, he began to run 5ks for the American Diabetes Association. Health issues became his incentive to begin exercising. Not only did he lose weight and get his health under control, his disposition had changed as well. I know a beautiful sweet pastor's wife who has rheumatoid arthritis and endured joint replacements. She is still quite young and has children at home. She keeps up with her kids, contributes to her husband's pastoral ministry, and paints beautiful artwork. What's her secret? Joy and gratitude to God her Creator. Attitude goes a long way in either breaking us down or building us up.
Do you have health issues that bog you down and don't know where to begin? Here are some tips I've picked up from amazing people with physical "thorns":
You are not defined by your illness or limitation.
My youngest daughter has type 1 diabetes, but the only indication you will have that something isn't functioning right in her body is the insulin pod on her body. Sometimes it is on her arm, or back, or thigh. If it's not readily visible, you will see a bit of a bump under her clothing. She counts her carbs and proteins faithfully and manages a full-time career. She and her husband bought bicycles to ride the trails and in their neighborhood. Her schedule is demanding, but rarely does she miss a beat. She has not allowed herself to be defined by juvenile diabetes. It seems to be more of a speed bump in life for her. She is a vibrant young woman who has diabetes, she is not "a diabetic".
Find out what you should avoid, then find out what you can do and focus there.
I have an older daughter with fibromyalgia and celiac disease. She has dealt with this all her life, but it wasn't until she was a young adult on her own that she found out what all she was fighting. She is a young mom who homeschools her two older children with a babyon her hop, blogs, and is now a personal trainer/health coach. She eats gluten-free and manages her allergies and fibro symptoms through diet and exercise. She found that she can lift of heavy weights, but works with the flares and remissions. No crunches for her. Instead, she focuses on core conditioning to avoid making the separation in her abdominal wall from pregnancy worse. She avoids processed foods, sugar, nightshades, and sticks with organic/non-GMO foods. Her health has taken an awesome turn around from when she was in school. She knows what she should and should not do, then works within that framework.
Accept there will be bad days that set you back and determine to get back up on the good days.
I have fibromyalgia, arthritis and celiac with multiple allergies. This past year threw me for a loop with several setbacks. I've cut back from my normal workout routine for now because if I don't, I will be down on the couch. I love to ride my bike, swim, do kettlebells, PraiseMoves, and my regular workouts with weights, body weight functional training, and cardio. When I have bad days, it is important to scale back or skip a day when things are really bad. I have developed over the years the attitude that if Plan A doesn't work, then keep resetting plans, even if it means a Plan ZZZ. Just because my plans are thwarted for the day, doesn't mean quit. I assess my day, after my shower and coffee, what I should and should not do. Occasionally I misjudge, but bad days don't have to get me down because I work with what I have. I am the Queen of Setback-and-Rebuild.
Begin slowly with a fitness professional who specializes in your health condition.
If you aren't used to exercise, or it's been a while, find a personal trainer or health coach who is educated and experienced with the issues you have. Jumping into a CrossFit workout to lose weight would be a terrible idea! They will know how to get you started, teach you how to manage set-backs, and help you progress steadily and safely. Maybe CrossFit will be in your future and maybe it won't. Progressively work up to find out what your capabilities are with the safety net of professional help.
Eat healthy and according to your health condition.
Beginning to eat properly for diabetes is a big part of the health care plan your doctor and dietitian will give you. You will learn how to count carbs and protein intake as well as bolus insulin for your food intake. But what about arthritis, cancer, heart conditions and the other conditions? Begin to eliminate processed food heavy with preservatives and learn to love veggies and fruits that are fresh or frozen--preferably organic.Cut down on sugars and salt, reduce fats. Next, find out from groups like the Arthritis Foundation, Caring 4 Cancer, and the American Heart Foundation about foods to avoid and those to include in your diet. For example, if you have fibromyalgia, there are foods that aggravate the condition such as chocolate, green peppers, MSG, sodium nitrite, and caffeine. They don't affect everyone, but it is a good place to start. If you have arthritis, eating berries for the antioxidants are helpful. Food intake is the most amazing source of healing there is!
Get enough rest.
Adequate sleep is the next most important step toward good health. According to recent studies, 7-9 hours is required for a healthy lifestyle. Anyone getting less than 6 hours of Zs risks early heart attack and death. Don't shorten your life! If your joints are painful, it might be challenging to even get the 6 hours. Manage work/rest intervals, use adaptive devices such as jar openers, balance the loads you carry across more joints (i.e. don't carry all of your things on one side of the body), learn to lift correctly, etc. You can reduce painful, sleepless nights by managing your pain levels through simple adjustments to your lifestyle habits. Follow the pain management plan your health care professional gives you and look for tips from specialty groups online.
Find someone with your issue for your inspiration and follow what they do.
I have known several positive people with fibromyalgia and arthritis who inspired me to keep doing what I love and give up the things that I shouldn't do. Breaking boards and bricks in martial arts is now are out of my repertoire. The person who inspires you may be sitting in the next church pew. I once read a Yahoo News story about a gymnast who was born with no legs. She looked up to an Olympic gymnast, whom she found out later, was her biological sister. She will be an inspiration to someone, too.The common thing you will see among successful people is a can-do attitude. Find someone like that with your issues and follow their lead.
Surround yourself with positive, Godly people who will encourage you.
Believe me, there are enough people who will pull you back and kick you down. If those seasoned athletes had listened to their peers, they would be sitting in restaurants clogging their arteries depressed, with their health in decline, and shortening their lives. Who is there around you who is always upbeat, looking for the best in everyone and everything? Their gratitude to God is contagious! Catch it!
Assess yourself each day to determine what is possible for the rest of your day.
Never make a major decision while you are in bed. Take the time to get up, eat breakfast, and get dressed. How you feel by this point will usually give you an idea of what is possible for your activity level for the day. Never make big decisions while you feel like garbage. They won't be an accurate assessment of your overall potential. But, by the same token, don't make lofty plans without a contingency plan in case of a set-back. A while ago, I felt great at the beginning of the day. When I went to the allergist for immuno-therapy that afternoon, I had an allergic reaction. After being injected with adrenaline, taking Epinepherine, and Benedryl, my big plans for the day were shot down. I felt pretty crummy. My morning assessment would have been accurate, but the possibility of a setback was included--and needed. Grocery shopping was put on hold, I did a very light workout, and my hubby took me out to dinner. Make sure that when you assess your day, have a back-up plan.
Give God the glory!
There is absolutely nothing we can do, sick or well, apart from our Creator. Don't ever forget that fact. Because once you do, you may find out just how totally dependent upon Him you are. Ask anyone who has had a heart attack or near death experience. They will tell you right away how helpless we are and how able our God is. I realized that very early on in my journey to wellness with fibro and autoimmune issues. I had been very active, fit, and vibrant, then the rug got pulled from under me. I was able to regain most of my physical abilities, but with speed bumps along the way. He gives me the ability to do everything I do. There are people who are on disability with my condition, and I am not. Not only that, I am able to train people, teach classes, write, take care of my home and husband, all because of the power of God. We must depend on Him daily and give God all the credit due His Name! Philippians 4:13, 2 Corinthians 4:5-7
May God bless you with all that you need!
Sites to see:
Arthritis Foundation www.Arthritis.org
Arthritis Today Magazine www.ArthritisToday.org
American Heart Association www.heart.org
American Diabetes Association www.diabetes.org
Celiac Foundation www.celiac.org
National Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain Foundation www.fmcpaware.org
MS Society www.nationalmssociety.org
Caring 4 Cancer www.caring4cancer.com
Lupus Foundation www.lupus.org
There are many other groups for other conditions. Do a search by condition to find yours.
http://probablyrachel.com My younger daughter's blog
http://reinventing-lolli.blogspot.com My older daughter's blog