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:
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.
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.
At the weekend I was lucky enough to see a lovely friend of mine who I haven’t seen for years. A fellow yoga teacher, she also happens to be an expert in nutrition.
I like to think of myself as health conscious with a fairly good grasp of what’s good for me and what’s not when it comes to my diet. And although I have been getting a lot of it right, after learning more at the weekend it turns out I’ve also been getting some of it wrong.
So after a lot of post-yoga-day inspirational thinking, I’ve decided to go for it and see how great I can really feel.
I usually let myself off the hook with the dramatic changes in eating habits, saying things to myself like “you’ve got MS, you deserve some treats in life” or “it’ll be so exhausting avoiding all those delicious foods”. But what my lovely friend made me wonder is whether it would be exhausting at all…
What if it was the opposite of exhausting? What if I felt so good that it was more than worth the effort? I’ve recently had a big increase in energy from simply upping my water and vitamin D intake. So imagine if I was to add loads more healthy nutrients and anti-inflammatory foods into my diet. And then imagine if I reduced the inflammatory parts of my diet too. It might be amazing.
The nutrition geek in me is starting to become a lot more than a little excited.
Of all the advice she gave me, this is what stood out to me the most – “Think less about cutting stuff out and more about adding more healthy stuff in”.