November 2022 Issue
Energy Express by Marilynn Preston
Sickness happens. It’s part of life, the not-fun part. Even though you’re a ferocious warrior for your own well-being, doing all you can do to exercise with joy, keep your immune system strong, get enough sleep, eat real food and help love, or at least like, your neighbor, still, health setbacks are unavoidable.
That’s why I want to share this recent email from Theresa G.:
Dear Marilynn: I try hard as I can to stay healthy, eat right and exercise. I was on a good roll recently. I would go to the gym in the morning, do a 30-minute workout and then head out to a trail close to my home and ride my bike for an hour. Then I hit a brick wall. What I thought was a cold turned out to be pneumonia. I have been down for almost a month. The medicine helped to reduce the symptoms, but the side effects took a (different) toll on my body. I had insomnia, jitters, weight gain because of the prednisone and a horrible taste in my mouth because of the antibiotic. What is your advice about getting back to a healthy routine while still recovering from such a blow? Thanks. —Theresa G.
You hit a brick wall. Ouch. But remember this: Even brick walls can be gotten over or around ... with patience and resilience. You have to stay positive and be willing to try new things. You already know that, or you wouldn’t be reaching out for advice:
You mentioned your workout routine, so that’s where I’ll start. You did a 30-minute workout at the gym followed by an hour bike ride on a trail near your house? Wow! I’m searching for my jar of gold stars. Of course you miss your routine. So does your body. You’re not getting the rush of bliss chemicals you’re used to. And no amount of Valrhona Guanaja 70-percent chocolate bars will replace that.
What to do? Start where you are. Accept your limitations, realizing they’re temporary. If you can’t do what you did, do what you can. Short bouts of exercise—spread throughout your day—will boost your mood and help you heal. Ten minutes at the gym, 15 minutes on the bike. Make sure your doctor approves of this. If he or she doesn’t, well, I’d be surprised.
The smartest doctors these days know that appropriate exercise—gentle for some, more vigorous for others—is an invaluable part of health and healing, as long as you’re not trying to do too much too fast.
HOW’S YOUR SUPPORT SYSTEM?
Loneliness is a drag on your health. Surround yourself with loving friends and family who are positive and supportive. If you’ve got that going now, bravo. If you’re not feeling the love, align with a community that lifts your spirits, listens to your story and reminds you of your strengths. An organized support group? Your Tuesday yoga class? A book club?
When I get a cold, I tell myself it’s a divine message to slow down and rest more. Then I settle in and make a big pot of chicken soup. Do you see an upside to this recovery and recuperation period? It would be good if you could. Yes, you’re going to move through it and be healthy again, but meanwhile, is there a lesson, a teaching, you can take from it?
ARE YOU OPEN TO INTEGRATIVE MEDICINE?
I hope so. The side effects of traditional drug therapies are notoriously unpleasant, as you already know. So my question is: Have you looked into complementary ways to promote well-being? Essential oils to help you sleep? Meditation and breathing exercises to keep you centered? Acupuncture to help reduce inflammation?
KEEP A JOURNAL.
Keep track of what you’re going through now—the ups, the downs, your good days, your great days. Then, in another month or two, you can look back and see that brick wall, crumbled and fallen behind you, and you’re back on track. Good luck, be patient and feel free to stay in touch.
OUT, OUT, OUT!
"Serious illness doesn’t bother me for long
because I am too inhospitable a host." —Albert Schweitzer
Marilynn Preston—healthy lifestyle expert, well being coach and Emmy-winning producer—is the creator of Energy Express, the longest-running syndicated fitness column in the country. Follow her at www.marilynnpreston.com.
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