Exercise and injury

I missed another day. A friend came over and we talked through the night. I’m tired.

We spoke about exercise, mostly because I’ve committed to doing more of it and she wants to do the same. We’re in the same situation, battling against injury and sickness to get closer to good health, and it’s not like either of us has enough time or money to get better.

That’s something that the Instagram fitness chicks won’t tell you. Everyone assumes that we’re all starting from a similar baseline of sedentary behavior, easily rectified by cardio and crunches. The truth is that there are far more people out there who, through age, genetics or just plain bad luck, can’t do many simple exercises without hurting themselves further. The people who are so quickly judged for being fat, as if fatness is a moral failing and not the result of complex biological interactions between DNA, environment, mental health, physical health, and other factors, likely don’t start at that baseline, but somewhere far beneath it.

My friend has injured her back and knees, and she has kidney problems that means she will be on medication for the rest of her life. She used to be very slim, but having a child (and nearly dying in the process) has ruined her metabolism. She is still somewhat thinner than me, but that’s not unexpected seeing as my frame is much bigger than hers.

I have joint problems. One of my elbows is very weak, and my knees and ankles are so-so. I’m just unlucky; I’ve had a lot of bad sprains, and possibly dislocated my elbow. I’ve lost flexibility. But I’m trying, because I have to, and I have a few people I trust who show me how to do exercises that won’t hurt me further. I must work out to build strength, and to make sure I don’t lose whatever flexibility I have left.

Not much consolation when my elbow pops and hurts again, but it’s better than it was. When I sprained it, I started to lose feeling in two of my fingers.

Apart from the muscle soreness the next day, I’m doing alright. I write, I exercise, I stretch (because you need to stretch so you won’t be too sore), and hopefully I blog. It’s an ongoing process.

If you’re like me, then don’t lose hope, and don’t blame yourself for things outside your control. Don’t beat yourself up for not being capable of doing exercise, or of attaining perfect health. Don’t fall into the trap of self-hating fatness, and think more about doing what you know to be good for your body.

‘Tis better to be fat, content, and as healthy as you can be, rather than destroy your own mind and body in pursuit of thin-ness and health outside of your reach.

//shay

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