Monday, February 7, 2011

She's back and--yes--IMPROVED!

I confess.  Since my last blog, I have been really down in the dumps.  Some of it might be a little seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which this winter-loving person doesn't want to think she has. Then December is my hardest month, and school started in January, and.... I have run out of plausible excuses.

So here's the scoop.  I want to  blame PD, and I could find a host of other "reasons," but I have ever-so-gradually gotten out of the strong fighting shape I was in when I was younger.  Today and tomorrow are new days, so bear with me while I ignore the past and forge ahead with my handsome, young personal trainer, a diet, the encouragement and--groan--outspokenness of my partner, and a new attitude.

I have started fitness boot camp.  Knowing I had to do something for my body, a fact which was driven home at the Vandy Symposium in October, I finally heard "exercise, exercise, cures everything." Or something like that. I haven't been worried about my brain power since I am a college professor with a cerebral bent and a partner with an IQ of 240 who challenges everything. Back to the body.  The message from the symposium was clear: exercise is as important as mental stimuli in our battle with the insults of PD. And, to demonstrate that we could all do some activity, our speaker held a session right there. We played volley balloon and did various leg and arm movements.

Once I ran a 10k. I fought fire and ran daily and had exercise equipment at home.  And, when it wasn't used for hanging things on, it was utilized for strength work.  Rats! I wasn't going to discuss the past, but I wanted to put BOOT CAMP into perspective.

Realizing I had to act, I checked out several local gym programs and the Jewish Community Center--none of which we can afford right now.  Then I seriously looked at A&E's new hit, "Heavy." I went to their Face Book page and discovered that everyone else in the world was thinking the same thing: How do I get on the program?   Then, there was a post from a guy who is a personal trainer, has a successful gym program and record to prove it, and has now taken his program online. Crunch Time
is a rigorous 10-week program that challenges any body--young or old.  Its premise is clear: working the core muscles is critical to a fitness program that also includes diet, stretching, other exercises, and weights. It comes with a food diary, a workout diary, and the advice and counsel of personal trainer James.  For the rest of February, the 10-week online price is $60. After research and phone calls with James, I signed up. And I haven't regretted one second of it.  I am not up to the point where I can jump into a workout as fast as a young guy can, and I told him that. We have discussed every aspect of MY PROGRAM and that includes alternative exercises for klutzes who hear "get down on your mat" as "fall and break something."  I have so far talked or emailed with him daily and gotten great tips, personal interest and tweaks to my program, and access to useful videos.

Back to Parkinson's.  Putting my experience and Vanderbilt's expertise together,  I can only try to encourage my readers to jump--or step easily--into a routine.  Since PD plays cruel games with our minds in later stages, exercise is integral to well-balanced program--one that also might help as we get stiffer and our arms don't swing and our faces look expressionless and our voices go silent. I am going to focus religiously on these issues in upcoming blogs and try to combine sound research and exercise tips with personal experience and some humor.  My previous blogs have given some easy-to-perform exercises to start with, and--shamelessly self-promoting those--Getting Into Routine gives some great beginning movements.

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