Tag Archives: walking

Weeks 5 And 6 – Walking My Way Back To Health

5 Aug

All this walking has given me time to consider the benefits of gentle exercise. Yes, I have been increasing the distance and speed of my walks and have the inevitable aches and pains but I have to say, I have really enjoyed myself! Rather than a chore, getting out in the open air is refreshing, doesn’t hurt like my lung-busting running sessions and gives me vital reflection time. Either with my iPod or just my thoughts, walks have become a time to unwind.

I didn’t think not working would be as hard as it has been. The problem with our work/life set-up is there is no distinction between the two sections. Working from home means I struggle to escape the pressure pouring out of the office where my partner is busy pulling his hair out with stress! This means my walks are a great time to get out and relax. I realise this is what I used to do when following a training plan working up to a race. My run or gym session in the evening was a de-stress mechanism. With a multitude of people reminding me to take it steady and not do too much, I have to remember that there is a thin line between recovery and sitting on your bum, watching TV and eating chocolate! Not productive by anyone’s standards!

My nursing background has given me insight into the different ways people handle illness and recovery back to health. This also applies to childbirth, I have witnessed woman almost breeze through labour and others appear to suffer the worst kind of torture. My desire to get back to a previous level of fitness is almost powering my body to achieve more than is expected after heart surgery. I have read stories of elite athletics up and about the day after major heart surgery and back training again within 2 weeks. I am most certainly not elite, but I like to think my fitness levels have helped me in this process.

Running is officially allowed in 2 weeks. Can’t wait!

Week 3 Recovery

16 Jul

2 weeks ago, my first walk was for seven minutes around the block. My longest walk is now 60 minutes! How quickly the body adapts when it is pushed a little further everyday.

Cardiac rehabilitation is something that has always interested me for both professional and personal reasons. As a nurse, I enjoy cardiology and learning about the heart. After any form of cardiac event (e.g. a heart attack) or heart surgery, a programme of rehabilitation is offered. I completed my dissertation on this subject, focusing on the care offered in the community and accessibility to patients. During my nursing career, I have attended several courses relating to the heart and this has given me a deeper insight into my condition. Not necessarily a good thing as I believe it is true what they say about nurses, they make the worst patients!

On a personal level, my family history of heart disease has always concerned me about the future of my health. My unspoken mission appears tom have been ensuring I take control of my health with healthy eating and physical fitness. Genetics of course have a part to play in determining illnesses in life. Environmental factors have a huge influence on your overall wellbeing. Given the opportunity to try to prevent a cardiac event, wouldn’t you like to do all you can, be it a life long exercise commitment, eating unhealthy foods in moderation and avoiding stress. This is certainly my aim!

My love for maintaining a healthy lifestyle has driven me through my ill health recently. A desire to get back to running safely is so strong that I know nothing will stand in the way. Confidence and determination is what sees you through above all else. If I had to give one piece of advice for marathon training (including to myself) it would be see yourself finishing. You have to visualise your aim clearly in your mind and this translates into a belief.

Yesterday, I went for a check up with my consultant, 3 weeks after my heart surgery. All was well and I had my questions answered about returning to exercise. Small issues and niggles can easily become larger worries when you are sat with nothing else to think about so it was good to dispel these concerns. I was told I can run again at the end of August, building up slowly. As my fitness as declined since the start of the year, I can empathise with those embarking on their first challenge or race. Each step further hurts so much. My head tells me that it is ok to push further every day and that my body will once again take me the 26.2 miles. Until you reach your goal for the first time, you have to rely on the fact that you are getting closer and closer to your goal.

My scar is healing well and all who see it complement me on how good it looks! When I am out and I have seen people looking at the scar, I am not embarrassed. I am proud of what I have gone through and am almost feeling glad that I have a physical reminder of what I have gone through. I am grateful that my ASD (hole in the heart) was picked up at an age when I am fit and able to recover well from a major operation. I am looking forward to a future with running, triathlons and hopefully getting a little faster!

To keep myself busy, I am planning what I will be able to do at recovery benchmarks of 6, 8 and 12 weeks. I am discounting my ‘bad days’ and focus only on the ‘good days’. At the end of the 12 weeks, I am planning a holiday as a kind of reward for successfully making it through a long summer!