Breaking out of the vicious cycle of being sick – one minute at a time

When you’re sick it becomes very easy to become extremely sedentary. Especially when every effort causes you to be even more out of breath. The problem with that is that the more that you don’t do, the more that you can’t do.

So because you’re not active it becomes even harder to be active. When you’re housebound in isolation there aren’t a lot of choices in addressing this issue either.

A few weeks back I started trying to follow the 28-day fitness challenge of increasing the amount of time each day you hold the plank position. My first few attempts I didn’t even make the first days target time of 20 seconds. I did eventually manage the 20 seconds. However, it took me 20 minutes that day to get back up off the floor. At which point I decided that this probably wasn’t the best activity for me.

Unfortunately, I’m now in month 3 of being off work, house-bound in isolation, and while I don’t seem to be gaining weight anymore, I have put on a lot of extra weight in this time due to the steroids I’m on and initial comfort eating. So I’m now in the vicious cycle of needing to exercise, being heavier than usual which makes exercise even harder, added to which I can’t walk very far, due to my breathing issues but also because I can’t risk the exposures either outside or in the local ice rink which is my normal go-to walking venue.

However, yesterday I had a brain wave! A few years ago I was hospitalised for 3 months. During that time this issue of exercise came up with my doctors. I am one of those people who has never enjoyed sports and can’t imagine the adrenaline high that people talk about. I exercise because I should, not because I want to. In the past, I’ve tried gyms, Curves, swimming, exercise classes etc. None of which keep my attention or interest. However, what was suggested to me in the hospital was to use the Wii Fit and balance board.

They had one in the hospital and taught me how to use it safely. When I was discharged I used my own faithfully, for several years. It was very much about doing it because I knew that I should but I will admit to enjoying competing with myself. Over that time I bought several other Wii games that utilise the balance board. So I now have a variety of games to choose from. All of which require me to be physically active.

So yesterday’s brain wave was to go back to the beginning with the Wii Fit. Thankfully I had enough batteries to get the board set up again. Embarrassingly the Wii remembers your activity and once I got past the announcement that it had been 378 days since I last used it and that my weight was considerably higher than at that time, I started ‘working-out’ again.

Today, I managed 6 minutes of basic step. My accuracy was pretty poor but I did manage the two, three-minute sessions. I then used the yoga deep breathing for two, two-minute sessions. I survived! Well, with the help of Ventolin, and a long recovery period of several hours – I survived!

The big advantage of the Wii Fit is that I can use it at home, where I’m safe from allergens. I also don’t have to wear anything special and in fact can do it in bare feet which works much better for me, as I have better balance bare foot than I do in shoes.

Molly had seen this seemingly bizarre activity before so she just watched from the sofa. Kai wasn’t quite as sure about it. He watched closely for a bit and then lay down with his nose against the balance board keeping a very close eye on me. I wonder if he can understand that it’s the same concept as when he runs on his treadmill?

Anyway, I’ve started.

Day one completed.

I’m committing to using it every day. Whether it’s for 3 minutes or 20 minutes it doesn’t matter at this point.

Any exercise is an improvement on none!

More importantly, hopefully, it’s a way out of this vicious cycle of being sick with very little improvement. Even if it doesn’t get me better it should help prevent me getting any worse!


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