High maintenance life followup: Catherine’s profile

The words "high maintenance" on a green background

Hey readers– did you catch Natalie’s post on Saturday? Nat realizes she is high maintenance!

If you haven’t gotten to it yet, do check it out. But if you’re too busy, here’s the tl:dr version:

  1. Natalie does a lot-a-lot of varied physical activity in her daily life.
  2. She combines movement with social connection, getting a twofer benefit.
  3. She does physical activities she enjoys, often directed at a goal (e.g. charity ride, pretty garden).
  4. She doesn’t expect or get disappointed that her physical activities don’t produce a thin body.
  5. She knows and accepts that with regular varied physical activity comes some pain; she’s decided that this pain is better for her than the pain she gets from inactivity.
  6. To support and maintain her life of physical activity, she makes sure she has the right meds, medical devices, and professional support (e.g. chiropractor).
  7. It may be connected, or it may be an independent fact about Nat, but she takes the best selfies of anyone I know.

This is all awesome. Yay Nat!

Making up the list above made me think about my own activity and social habits. How am I doing on 1–7, and what do I want? Here’s my rundown:

1.I do some varied physical activity– I cycle, I walk, and I do yoga regularly. I like to swim, hike, and lift weights, too. I’d like to do the latter more often and more consistently.

2. Cycling, walking and going to yoga with friends helps keep me on track. I schedule road rides with friends once or twice a week. On vacation, I just did a couple of hikes and also swam with friends. My friend Pata and I are combining forces to schedule visits to the YMCA for weight and strength work. Swimming will remain an occasional group activity treat for the summer.

3. Yes, doing activities for enjoyment is what it’s all about. I don’t have any event goals right now, but I’m tracking my workout days on Facebook, on the 219 in 2019 group. I’m up to 100 workout days now– I’m tracking days I work out rather than individual workouts. So far I seem to be active on average 3 days a week. I’d like to get that number up to 5, as I think I’ll feel better physically.

4. Disconnecting physical activity from body shape and size has gotten a bit easier as I’ve gotten older. My 57-year-old body is larger and a different shape than it used to be. I have some negative feelings about this. At the same time, I’m grateful that my body can do the above-mentioned activities, and I want to help maintain and even improve my functional fitness.

5. Pain: for me, it’s not about the pain after exercise (there is that, but I don’t mind it much). It’s the discomfort I feel during exercise that I have trouble with. That is, in this body at this point in time, I have to exert myself a lot more to do the things I used to do with less exertion. This sucks in a big way. Of course, I can go slower, go for shorter times and distances, take breaks, and also try to give myself a big break– I’m out there doing it, so stop being so self-judgy, Catherine! This part is hard. Like Nat, less activity makes my body less happy and less comfortable, so this is the road I’m taking. But it’s not easy.

6. Support is so important to maintaining physical activity for me, too. I go to acupuncture and therapy, which help a lot. I take meds for anxiety, and getting enough sleep is my highest priority. I’m lucky and privileged that I have access to good medical care and a work schedule and home environment that allow me to get enough sleep. I mentioned the support of friends and community in 2, but it bears repeating: my friends are on similar paths, and we find that traveling together makes the journey easier. Writing for and reading this blog is an enormous help as well; the solidarity with other bloggers, commenters and readers helps sustain me.

7. Now, to the best part: the selfies. Here are but a few of her masterpieces.

Inspired, here are a few of mine:

So readers: what sorts of maintenance do you find you do? What’s hard? What’s easy? What’s on your wish list? We’d love to hear from you.

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