I’m happy to report that Operation Up Scale is completed! Surprisingly, after plateauing for a few weeks, I gained the extra pound and another half pound to boot! It’s time to start working on my next goal, Operation Lace Up.
I mentioned in a previous post that I used to jog but I haven’t for several years because of pregnancy, childbirth, and general lack of extra energy due to caring for my active boy. I am feeling strong right now and am ready to give some planned exercise a try. I’m going into this realistically, however, and if I need to pull back because it’s too much, I’m willing to do that.
There are several reasons why I want to get back into exercising. Exercise is good for everyone, but it is especially good for CF patients. It is one of the few things that can actually increase lung capacity. It also strengthens the body and the immune system. A strong body means extra endurance for the challenges associated with cystic fibrosis. And exercise is a natural way to clear the airways of excess congestion.
Exercise is also good for bone density. People with CF are prone to osteoporosis and osteopenia. This is because nutrition, lung disease and bone health are related. If a CF patient has poor nutrition due to malabsorption or low appetite, the body does not get sufficient vitamins and minerals which are essential for strong bones. Lung infections cause inflammation which can also lead to bone loss. Sometimes CFers are inactive for periods due to illness and this weakens both muscles and bones. If that weren’t enough, some common CF medications such as steroids and appetite stimulants cause bone loss.
When I first started thinking about exercise I was considering doing a Couch to 5K program. However, after careful consideration I’ve decided that running three miles is not necessary for me. Before my pregnancy I was running and my fastest pace was a 13 minute mile. In other words, it will take me nearly 40 minutes to run a 5K once I work up to it, and that’s too much time and energy to devote to running right now. My doctor has stressed in the past that 20 minutes of consistent aerobic exercise will give me all the benefits I listed above. I don’t need to do more than that. I don’t want to have to cut back on all the activities I do with Lucas just so I can run a 5K.
I’ve decided my goal will be to run two miles, about 25 minutes of jogging for me. I found a Couch to 5K program online and am using it as a guide to help me get started, but I’ll be stopping at the two mile mark. It combines jogging and walking. At first you walk more and as the program proceeds the ratio changes until you’re only jogging. If the pace is manageable, it will take me about six weeks to work up to running two miles.
Lucas picked out some awesome pink running shoes for me for my birthday. He was very excited to give them to me. He will be happy to see my wear them.
I’m ready to lace them up and hit the road! This is going to be very difficult for me. I know that. When I get discouraged I’m going to glance down at my bright feet and think about my boys. I’ll remember how much they love me, how much I love them, and remind myself that many worthwhile things in life don’t come easy.