Tuesday, January 24, 2012

exercise, fitness, caregiving for Multiple Sclerosis

Across the years of caregiving, I’d guestimate I’vepushed Patti’s wheelchairs at least 5,000 miles (8,000 kilometers).

Multiple Sclerosis caregiving is physicalcaregiving. Sure the pushing might sound dramatic but the heavy lifting isincalculable beginning with the first time I helped Patti off the floor after afall to the non-ambulatory stage and one person unassisted transfers.

Not only have I had hernia surgery but achesand pains so common I joked that Bengay was eau de cologne forcaregivers.  A ‘back brace support weightlifting belt’ and/or large pain relieving patches were too often simply part ofgetting dressed.

That is until a year and a half ago when I firstdiscovered Planet Fitness, “Caregivingly Yours: are you fit to care / exercise

Exercise recommendations for someone caring for a loved one are no different than for anyone else. 30 to 40 minutes ofmoderately intense exercise three or more times a week.”
“Caregivers responsible for lifting loved one’sin and out of bed or chairs require a strong core.”

Hey! 90% of the time I’ve been a caregiver Iviewed exercise as some hobby for the spandex clad bourgeoisie - some of usjust learn slower.

Using the Planet Fitness 30 Minute circuitworkout (a series of stations with lever-and-pulley machines for each majormuscle group) I’ve not only been able to strengthen the specific muscles usedto transfer and lift Patti but build better muscle harmony and no longer need the ointments and braces.

To train the ‘pushing engine’ it takes aerobic/cardioexercise and their variety of choices and bells and whistles is most appealing.When the same thing gets boring, I lose interest. These days I start with onemile on a treadmill with maximum incline to best replicate pushing a wheelchairup a grade and another mile on an elliptical or bike for cardio endurance.

As sweat stains your shirt you only need askyourself - how many people do you know who will step in to push the person youcare for up the hills and across the years?

Caregivingly Yours, Patrick Leer