The Waiting Room

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Thursday, May 15, 2014

The First Steps Are The Hardest

Posted by Seeking Solace |

Yesterday, I was chatting with two of my neighbors. Both are in their late 20's/early 30's and are stay at home moms. I am the oddball in the neighborhood, as I do not have human children. They are nice young women and I enjoy talking with them. Both commented on my weight loss and my dedication to working out. One said that she wished she could go running or even walking, because I make it look so easy.

My response: The first step is always the hardest.

I think that's true for anything. The first steps toward change is always the hardest. We are programmed to stay in our comfort zone. When you have a chronic illness, this is definitely true. You don't want to do anything that will hurt, make you tired or take you out of any state of remission. Being in remission is safe and comfortable. Doing anything that may send you health into a downward spiral is often ill-advised.

When I started my walking routine last year, I had those thoughts. I had been diagnosed with FMS, which on top of the RA, just made things more difficult. I had quit my job at Tech College and was just trying to figure out what I was going to do next. My body was starting to heal from all the stress. I began walking,  mainly because I needed a place to process things with minimal interruption. The other reason was that Junior would not let me be until he had his "walkies".

The first steps were slow. I think I walked .25 miles and it took 25 minutes to complete the short loop in my neighborhood. I was afraid to do any more than that. What I found was that over time, I was getting stronger and was able to go further. I decided to make a game out of it. First, it was the short loop, then the half loop and then the full loop around the neighborhood. Over time, my speed increased and distance increased. Now, I can slow jog one mile and fast walk two miles.

That doesn't mean that it's all easy. The first steps are still hard for me. There are days where the last thing I want to do is go outside and jog or walk. My RA doc says that the best thing that I can do for myself and for my joints and muscles is to move. So, I have to decide how much movement I can handle that day. I wait to see if I have entered "the zone". The zone is that place where I am at peace with myself. I am conscious of my breathing and the sound of Junior's paws on the sidewalk.

Once I get in the zone, I'm good. And if I don't get to the zone, I just chalk it up to being a bad day and I will try again tomorrow. I don't do the same thing everyday, and I give myself "rest" days to allow my body to rest and recover. That also means that Husband is responsible for Junior's "walkies".

I don't think I will ever "love" exercise. I think I fall somewhere between "like" and "tolerate". And, the first steps will always be the hardest.