My Happy Place – A Walk for All

I absolutely love this place. A five minute drive from my house and a manageable circular walk for my crazy leg.

And then I saw this:

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This sign made me very happy.  Happy that someone had thought about it. Happy that someone had realised that not everyone can walk everywhere, and at times, anywhere. And even though I already know this is the case, I was still happy to see it in writing and to be reminded that I am most certainly not the only one stumbling around the old railway line as if I had had a few gins for breakfast (people with MS can look like they’re drunk due to the fact that balance, muscle stiffness and nerve damage can affect gait. For me this worsens the further I walk).

One of the things that I never imagined as a child would be difficult for me was walking. I grew up in Durham and spent lots of my childhood leaping around the beautiful North-East countryside with absolutely no idea that one day I would be in any way limited.

Mentally for me, this time spent outside in nature has always been absolutely essential. Aside from the physical benefits, I feel more positive, inspired and much more likely to get a good dose of Vitamin D. At the moment I can always cycle this route on the days that walking is too difficult for me to. But if I ever can’t cycle (horror) then at least I can get my hairy husband to push me around it.

I’m aiming for that to never be necessary.

I nailed that walk this morning.

 

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Is there life outside yoga?

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I couldn’t possibly put down in a short blog how much yoga benefits me. Out of everything I do to keep myself well, it is the one constant that never fails to make me feel better physically and mentally. With an immediate effect.

Yoga will always be The Boss in my MS-y world.

But I am also a secret gym-lover (sshh), so this article makes my occasional couple of hours in the gym seem a lot more important than I had realised.

Here’s to keeping my brain as un-atrophied as possible 👍

 

I’m much better at Yoga than I am at selfies

Can someone please teach me how to look a bit less awful on social media?

Cross eyed, bag eyed, one eye bigger than the other, one tooth longer than the other. Don’t suppose it matters really.

The hair. I know. Storm Brian is to blame.

That’s not what bothers me. What bothers me is the weird not-quite-confident-enough-to-pout-or-do-the-side-angle-selfie-face (I’ve tried it. I look and feel ridiculous).

I look like a mum trying to do a selfie. Oh. I am a mum trying to do a selfie. My poor kids are going to be so embarassed in a few years time.

Anyway the point of this blog is NOT to analyse a block of pretty crap pictures of me looking a lot older than I had hoped I do.

It’s about me trying stuff that’s not that comfortable and easy for me.

Like the yoga class I went to this morning.

It felt amazing to be practising back where my yoga started. In an Iyengar yoga class that felt like a real challenge. And after ten years of MS progression, the challenges are different.

The teacher had no idea that I am a teacher. He noticed when I needed help and I accepted the help as if I knew nothing. Which at certain points, was true.

*You never stop learning yoga. Every class you teach, attend or practise at home uncovers something new. That’s one of the many things I love about it.

Some days I feel that it would be easier to stick to what I know I can manage. Fear of worsening my symptoms or bringing on fatigue often holds me back. But on a sunny, well-rested Sunday like today, I felt strong enough to ignore my MS. And I am so pleased I did.

I’m nearly forty-two. This morning when I was upside down feeling strong and focused, I felt twenty-two.

Bring. It. On.

Thanks lovely yoga centre. I will most certainly be back for more of the magic.

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The Forest Look

Living with MS means I am constantly thinking about how to take good care of myself. What I eat, how much I eat, sleep and exercise all makes such a difference to me. And if I spend a couple of weeks on holiday eating and drinking too much (like now) then I try and counteract the overindulgence with more exercise (preferably in a forest-it really is true what they say about forests and forest bathing).

I’m currently trying all sorts to get fitter and stronger. This can be quite a challenge due to the fact that my leg gives up after a few minutes of walking or running, and I barely break into a sweat before I have to stop to rest my crazy leg.

So yesterday I cycled up a massive hill pulling my (heavy) children in a trailer behind me to try and get a sweat on.

The husband was getting loads of dirty looks as I struggled up behind him. He even got heckled at one point.

I was mostly giggling at my ridiculousness and the dirty looks hubby was getting  (the giggling makes it impossible to cycle up steep hills by the way). He was mostly taking the piss out of my cycling-up-a-hill-tactics, and trying to explain to the heckling strangers how stubborn I can be.

But I did it. I broke into a sweat and was quite out of breath at the top.

And I felt a sense of achievement that you get from things like childbirth and completing a marathon. (By the way a marathon for me now is walking further than I did yesterday, which isn’t very far, so please don’t think I only consider 26.2 miles a worthy challenge. I’ve done both. And my mini walks are so much harder than when I actually could run a marathon).

So here it is. My sweaty-forest-look. Crazy hair optional.

Here’s to finding ways to stay as strong and fit as you can for as long as you can. It feels pretty amazing.

Love, Lynne x

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It’s all about the gym faces

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Last week was my first trip to the gym in at least 3 years.

I hadn’t been there since my leg decided to start doing its own thing about 3 years ago, so I had no idea how long it would be before I needed to sit down; however, I was hoping to at least break into a sweat before I needed a rest.

I decided that if it was an embarrassingly short time before that happened, I could pad things out with some yoga (for which I never seem to run out of energy). However, I would risk being that person who does yoga postures in front of the mirror, in the gym, wearing trainers.

At least I would have this lovely lunatic with me to keep me on the straight and narrow.

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In the morning I was disproportionately excited. I used to be extremely fit, so not being able to exercise properly for the last few years has been really frustrating. This week was the first time in ages I felt I might be able to get at least a chunk of that life back.

And as it turns out, I did alright. And in spite of not being able to lift my arms above shoulder height without pulling the face above (not that helpful for a yoga teacher), I’m already planning my next trip.

For now I’m off to whip up some post-workout energy balls. And then sit down for a bit. Because aside from the fact that I have Multiple Sclerosis, I am also 41 and a half…

Love, Lynne x