Strong title to match my feelings – I’m not sure about you but I’m fed up of hearing sentences like ‘if you don’t feel sick you’re not doing it right’. This was uttered to me after a fitness class at my work gym and I almost screamed out loud NO. Just no. It’s not true – no one likes feeling sick so why relate something like exercise that should be nurturing with that discomfort? Because people love extremes and are always looking for a story to tell? That’s what I think is part of the problem when it comes to the latest lot of ‘fitness freaks’ hooked on heavy Crossfit lifts and pouting selfies before, during and after exercise. They don’t know when to stop.
When you hear comments like the one above it isn’t a surprise that there are concerns that the strong is the new sexy ‘movement’ encourages eating disorders. Particularly on Instagram, there seems to be a rise of people brainlessly writing messages like ‘addicted is just what the lazy call the dedicated’. The same wouldn’t apply for heroin would it. (I know, I know exercise is good for you…in moderation). #fitfam #fitness and #workout have around 135 million posts between them on the social media channel – while some of it is positive and encouraging, there is a section of the content that is just stupid and dangerous. Here’s a few idiotic images I found today:
So how does this fit for someone with myasthenia gravis? Well the culture of ‘if you’re not killing yourself, you’re not exercising in the right way’ is dangerous for anyone let alone someone with MG. As my consultant doesn’t give his opinion often, the fact that he recommends trying to keep fit is important to me. But learning my body’s limitations has taken a long time and I have definitely pushed it too far at times. Have I been influenced by the ‘exercise as torture’ generation? Yes I think I have been, but I vow to denounce it for what iris right now – stupid.
Let me be upfront – I’m completely addicted to exercise (today’s pic is me lying outside my work after a lunchtime sprint session). It’s a bad week if I don’t get to do some kind of training four days out of seven and because of this I’ve learned to read my body’s state. When I’m physically exhausted, you won’t find me out running, on my bike or in the gym. I may be doing some yoga or Pilates to stretch out, but I try to do these flexibility sessions when I’m feeling strong enough to give them my best. In comparison to the stupidity of the comment above, my yoga teacher this week stressed the importance of listening to your body. That’s what everyone needs to do more of.
Tomorrow I will have a day of rest after a full-on half week of exercise and I won’t feel bad about it. Knowing when to rest is one of the most important things you can learn on your myasthenia journey. If you are able to, and plan to, fit exercise into your life, I would recommend listening to your body over torturing it.