A Healthy Change

I‘ve been really craving a lifestyle change lately. For the healthier that is. I don’t hate working out, but I don’t love, love it either. But I’m hoping that’ll all change soon. I’ve been eating really healthy for the past week (I’ve done so in the past but it never seems to stick!) and I notice that I not only feel better in general but I also feel better about myself.

I’ve recently started to go to the gym three times a week and have an elliptical at home. It’s been really hard to get back into going to the gym. A lot of the times I’m supposed to or want to go I have a havoc wreaking headache or haven’t slept, etc. But I finally realized that it doesn’t really matter because no matter what I’m always going to have a reason why I don’t feel good enough to go or why I don’t want to. Eventually I just forced myself to go anyways, and once I got there I was happy about it.

Since then I’ve gotten back into my old routine of going once every second day. Sometimes it’s hard to motivate myself about going to the gym because while it’s good for my spirit and my confidence my body always seems to freak out afterwards. If I have a slight headache then by the time I leave I have a huge one. Same with any aches and pain in my back or ribs. The gym seems to irritate those things more. The same goes for how tired I feel. If I’m sort of tired going into the gym I’m absolutely exhausted coming out and for hours afterwards. All of those things are downers on the experience, but I still think that the pros outweigh the cons.

There are special considerations for those with connective tissue disorders when working out, especially if you have aortic root dilation. Since mine is still on the slight side and I’m not on beta blockers yet I’m still allowed to get my heart rate up as high as recommended for a good cardio workout. I’ve only been instructed not to lift extremely heavy objects as that can be too hard on the heart. We also have to be careful because of the dangers of damaging our already weakened tissue. It’s easier for us to tear muscles and dislocate joints than most other people so we need to be aware of what to do and what not to do.

I choose to get my cardio workout on the elliptical because it’s low impact and easy on the joints while still being a good way to get your heart rate up and get your sweat on. I stay on it for thirty minutes and then switch to weights. A lot of those with CTDs have lower muscle tone than others. This is mostly true for me when it comes to my upper body. My geneticist once described my arm muscles as “doughy”. The speed that I can increase my leg weights is much faster than my arm weights. The difference is huge. Sometimes I feel like maybe I am pushing myself harder than I should or am supposed to, but I’ve been given the go ahead by several different doctors so it must be okay.

For those of you with Marfan Syndrome and other similar disorders here is a link to the National Marfan Foundation’s website explaining safe ways to get exercise without injuring your body: http://marfan.org/marfan/2728/

If you plan on joining a gym or something similar make sure you’re educated and aware of how to be safe about it. Talking with your doctor may be a good idea.

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