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When we recover, when we recuperate, we are taught to listen to our bodies and be sensitive and responsive to the messages we receive.
And I sure get a lot of messages. Which should I tune in to?
I find this advice annoying and confusing:
- I am tired, so I won’t do much. Laze around the hotel room all day. Sound divine.
- I am sleepy, so I will take a nap or two. Love them.
- I am sore so I won’t exercise or walk. Feels better not to walk or exercise. Less pain. And less work.
- I am winded, short of breath, so I will rest and not push myself. I am still sick and inflamed after all.
- In order to overcome my fatigue, I need to be active and exercise. The more I do, the more I can do. I know that to true for myself and just about everyone who is not acutely ill.
- In order to get back to a normal sleep pattern, I need to avoid naps. My sleep is already disturbed by night sweats and my changing clinic schedule.
- In order to rebuild lost muscle from my days in bed and the steroids, I need to do my strengthening exercises and my stretches. I will never get back to walking any distant relatively pain free if I don’t rebuild my muscles and regain the lost range of motion that occurred while in hospital. And while it may hurt, I feel so much better afterward and can walk so much further without pain as I put back the muscle bulk and movement that melted away so fast when I was so sick.
- In order to build up my endurance, I need to walk and push myself a little. Again, I need some exertion to rebuild my exercise capacity.
So it seems the answer is the Buddha’s middle path of moderation:
- Be active, but don’t overdo it and take short rests if needed. Know when to quit.
- Nap, but keep them short and certainly no naps in the late afternoon or evening- even when I really want to sleep.
- Do all the stretches and strengthening program from the physical therapy, but don’t strain or hurt myself.
- Pace myself when I walk so I don’t get too breathless, but do walk.
Walk even when I am tired, sore, sleepy and winded.
Walking in Olympic Sculpture Park
The Wave by Richard Serra
Clinic tomorrow. Hope to have more results to share soon.