When the neurologist first diagnosed me with Parkinson’s, I was surprised but calm.  It was when he said I really should exercise an hour every day that I practically burst into tears.   Exercise for me has always been a chore.  When people say, “Oh, find an exercise that’s fun for you,” this is like saying “Find a mammogram that’s fun for you.”

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The Reality
The Aspiration

At least the mammogram is productive.  I do some sort of exercise nearly every day but I still have a collapsing posture, no core, tight muscles, and can’t run down my driveway, much less around the block.   I am going to a new personal trainer, the latest of a long series of classes, physical therapists, and personal trainers.  When I complained to the trainer that my attempts at aerobic exercise didn’t seem to be very aerobic, he responded, “Maybe you need to work harder.”

Wish I knew the secret to “working harder”.  I got to the gym this morning and I boldly set the timer on the elliptical for 30 minutes.  I s-l-o-w-l-y fought my way to…. 15 minutes.  I mentally pushed myself to “another five minutes” , then “another five minutes”, but just couldn’t force myself the final five minutes.   Was I puffing and out of breath?  No, of course not.  The elliptical as usual gave me a target heart rate of 134, which I have never gotten anywhere close to.    I believe I started out at 85 this morning, and occasionally made it into three figures.

I should be inspired by Esperanza.  That’s not her real name of course.  I’m calling her that to protect her privacy and because she should inspire hope for me.  I see Esperanza fairly frequently at my gym, but I only recently learned she comes three times a week, from when the gym opens (5 am!) till about 11 am or so.  Esperanza is accompanied by her (even more remarkable) mother, because Esperanza has severe mental challenges.  I don’t believe she can even verbalize language … but she can sure do a great Zumba.

So, maybe next time I’ll make it to 30 minutes on the elliptical.  The weather is finally getting warmer and I hope to do more walking and hiking.  (This is exercise I actually enjoy.)  And shout-outs to my fellow PD bloggers who write of their victories with exercise:  Natasha McCarthy (horseback riding, Boot Camp) and Bruce Ballard (long distance swimming and 22 days of 22 pushups to highlight prevention of veterans’ suicides.)

About Laura Kennedy Gould

Author of "The Magic Trick -- Life with Parkinson's"
This entry was posted in Parkinson's People, Status and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Esperanza

  1. Lucy Kennedy says:

    I’m impressed…I’m trying my darndest to do more than three days a week.

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