Getting the Exercise I Need to Fight RA

Sara Nash Health Guide
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    Why is it that when I know something is good for me and will make me feel better, I don’t do it? Generally, I’m a pretty motivated and disciplined individual. I was never one to procrastinate on big assignments or papers in school, and in my professional life, I’m usually right on top of things. Yet, when it comes to my personal life, and indeed, my personal well being, I can be a bit of a slacker.

    This morning is a perfect example – I meant to get up and start the day off right by practicing some meditation and yoga.  But I slept fitfully during the night, so I ended up sleeping late- much later than I intended.  When I finally got out of bed after noon, instead of rolling out my mat and doing even just ten minutes of yoga, I headed directly for the kitchen, where I grabbed some cereal and then parked myself on the couch and proceeded to watch three episodes of the TV series LOST.

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    This example is perhaps not so egregious, given that I did sleep poorly, and we all know how that can derail the best of plans. But here is one that is. I have a confession that is completely, unarguably lame: though I have exalted the benefits of acupuncture and have intended to do it ever since I was diagnosed over two years ago, and even though I wrote about how it was a resolution of mine last year to finally stop putting it off and do it, I still have yet to try acupuncture.

    This fact baffles me. I have avoided writing any follow ups about resolutions because this unresolved one has been following me around, making me feel guilty all year long. I mean, what’s my problem? I want to try acupuncture. Really, I do. I believe it could have a lot of benefits for both my RA and my migraines, and probably many other things.I have tons of friends who have done it for one reason or another, most with satisfied results, and at the very least, I know that it would be an hour of total relaxation, which I am always a fan of. I even have the number of an acupuncturist sitting on my desk who was recommended to me by my yoga teacher.

    And yet, it remains undone and untried.It’s kind of ridiculous at this point.When I think about why I haven’t yet picked up the phone and called to make an appointment, the usual excuses about time come to mind, but that’s not really valid. I’ve had an entire YEAR to get this one done and still haven’t managed to do it. Plus, I have more time now than I have ever had before as an adult.

    So what is my problem? Do I have some deep seeded unconscious grudge against acupuncture of which I’m not aware? Am I lazy? Or am I growing complacent about my health?

    That is one of the unspoken dangers with a chronic disease: it is always there and (most likely) will always be there. Because I’m a lucky one whose meds are making a difference, and because the non-negotiable parts of my management plan like regular doctors appointments and taking my meds already take up enough of my time and energy, the ‘extras’ like doing yoga every day or trying acupuncture end up taking a back seat. After all, it’s not like next month I won’t have RA. Even though I am managing mine well, it’s not going anywhere. That’s the one thing you can count on with a chronic disease. Managing and dealing with it becomes a daily occurrence that has no end in sight. It becomes part of a routine.   In other words, though there is a beginning to all this mess, there isn’t a nice, neatly laid out timeline that includes a middle or an end, and for someone like me, that means it’s somehow easier to put off some aspects of managing it, apparently indefinitely.

  • Sadly, there isn’t an easy antidote to dealing with the chronic nature and constant care of RA. But I guess the good news is that there are plenty more opportunities to keep trying to do a better job of it.

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    Sara is the author of the blog, The Single Gal's Guide to Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Published On: January 27, 2010