Not exercising hurts more than moving around


This is updated from one of my earliest posts when I started my blog.

People like to tease me because I’m in my almost-60s and work out regularly, so I have muscle soreness all the time. I’ve just learned to live with it. My muscles are particularly sensitive because I lived the first 52 years of my life without using them much except for essential tasks, such as going to the dinner table, leaning out of my car into the fast food window and getting in and out of bed. You get the idea.

So I live with the muscle aches and pains, taking painkillers as needed to help me deal with the constant aching. I warm up and cool down well and try not to overdo my workouts so I don’t injure myself.

Well, in the last three or four weeks, I’ve only worked out about four days. Total. That’s not exactly a regular routine. With everything going on in my life recently, my workouts have taken a hit. And not only do I feel unhappy about it mentally, I don’t feel good physically.

Because what I didn’t expect was how much my body hurt when I STOPPED working out. I have aches and pains in my joints I have never had. The muscle aches from regular workouts went away. But joint pain from non-use appeared out of nowhere. One day of working out last week and almost all those joint issues went away.

It’s true when medical experts tell you using your body helps pain such as arthritis. Movement is good. I know it seems simple, but really, the muscle soreness is nothing compared to the joint pain of non-use. And the muscle pain helps me know I’m alive and healthy.

I have been having a lot of difficulty keeping up with the workouts over the last month or so. My husband was in the hospital for almost three weeks, and I tried to maintain a normal work life while he was there (impossible, of course). He’s home now, but we’ve been working together to get some things done that need to be finished before the holidays. That has absorbed a lot of my workout time.

And of course, the stress means, I’ve been eating more than I should. That is still a problem that I am having trouble reining back under control. But I will. It seems when my workouts are working my eating is also working. When one is off they both are.

It really does feel better to work out than the alternative. I look at my husband who is using an LVAD to keep going (a left ventricular assist device, otherwise known as a heart pump), and I realize I have a lot to be thankful for, because, for now anyway, I still have my health. And even when I’m doing everything right I never know how long that’s going to last.

So if you’re having trouble getting out for a walk, just remember how GOOD you’ll feel at the end. It’s the feeling that will keep you going when you don’t want to go. And it helps you remember that you’re alive and in good health.

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