Late last summer, I embarked on a 30-day, 30-mile walk challenge to raise money for the American Cancer Society’s breast cancer walk. I wanted, and truly needed, to get my body moving! I had just come out of a period of sedentary living due to flare-ups and setbacks. I completed more than 30 miles, and gained enough physical endurance to take on a part-time job in retail, working on my feet for up to 5 hours a day!

You may be saying to yourself, “there’s NO WAY I would do that and risk a horrible flare”! I understand that feeling: I was afraid of that also. I thought if I pushed myself too much, I’d regret ever starting.

So, I didn’t push myself beyond my limits. Everyone’s case is different, but you know your threshold. I knew mine was that I was in pain at the 1-mile mark. I could time my distance by how my back felt, and sure enough at 1-mile, I could hardly move. At first.

This year, I am pursuing the 40-mile colorectal cancer walk by the American Cancer Society (ACS). My family has been touched by this harsh disease, and in support of those who are currently going through it, have gone through it, for those we lost, and to bring awareness to prevention I am committing myself to push to 40 miles this month.

I am also participating in the 25-Pushup-A-Day Challenge by ACS as well. I need the fitness boost after coming off of quarantine inactivity!

The Push

There will be times and days that you can do more than other days. There are days you can do less. Chronic illness is like that. At that time taking NSAIDs wasn’t as much of an issue for me, so I would either pop a tablet or I would rub up in pain gel. Those were the days I could push past 1 mile. A few days I got in 2 or more miles walking.

Find Alternatives

On the days the barometric pressure may be too much or the weather doesn’t permit outdoor activities, find something equivalent that can be done indoors.

I found a few walking programs that I did indoors to get my steps in and get my heart rate up to an aerobic level so clocking in my miles wasn’t a time problem.

Using light to moderate weights help me tremendously, as they may for you. Muscle development supports your joints and can help you do more with less effort later in your program. I found that to be true.

Get Rest As You Need It

My experience isn’t going to be everyone’s experience. I know that to be 100% true! What I know is that I have been sedentary again and need to move my body more.

Solutions!

Here are some solutions for me to be enabled and ready to finish this 40-mile challenge and the pushup challenge, and maybe they will spark ideas for you:

Ankle weights – I use them around the house as I go about my day. Starting off with short periods of time and working up to more is going to help recruit those leg muscles.

Water – Okay, you are likely so tired of people saying this but I’d be remiss in my duties to help you if I didn’t reinforce the notion. Water helps flush out the built up toxins, keep your joints lubricated, and can even help your breathing. **If you are on water restrictions by your doctor DON’T YOU DARE DEFY THOSE ORDERS! We don’t need to create a life-threatening situation for you. Just saying. Follow what your doctor says to be cautious of.**

Light weights and resistance bands – Upper body strength can be the first thing you notice weakening, so follow a good routine using weight resistance to regain that strength. Do the reps you can do and advance as you are able. You can go online, like I did, and find exercises for your fitness level.

Find a challenge – Post that sucker online. I had people donating money to the American Cancer Society in support of my efforts. I think of that whenever my own self-defeating dialogue started to chime in. You may find that to be motivating as well.

Yes, people with chronic illness are often able to take on certain challenges. Remember to listen to your body, not your ego, and pace yourself!

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