Thursday, February 9, 2012

Exercising With MG? Yes, Wii Do!

When I was in the hospital after my diabetes diagnosis one of the doctors told me how important it is to exercise. Exercise helps move insulin into cells. Starting an exercise program sounded like a good idea, except I have myasthenia gravis. MG makes it hard to move.



One of the biggest misconceptions about MG is we feel tired all the time. Nodding off, yawning, blinking and sinking deeper into the couch, that is tired. MG doesn't feel like that. MG makes us feel fatigued.

Remember riding your bike all day and then coming home? Remember how it felt when you walked through the front door and your leg muscles felt like wet spaghetti? That noodle leg feeling is what MG feels like. Only we don’t get to go for the fun bike ride first. And our muscles are rubbery and unsteady. How unsteady varies from day to day.

On a good day I can walk as much as I want. On a bad day walking from the sofa to the bathroom and back is an accomplishment. The only thing consistent about MG is how inconstant it is. Given that MG weakens muscles, but blood sugar demands I move, how am I supposed to start an exercise program?

I considered working with a personal trainer, but MG sounds like an excuse. "One more. Just give me one more. Don't tell me you can't." There is only one person who knows how far I can push it and when I need to stop: me. And just because I could do 10 reps yesterday doesn't mean I can do 10 reps today.

I also worried the opposite would happen. The trainer would tell me to stop when I could keep going. What I needed was a personal trainer who wasn't human. One I could turn off and on. That’s when I discovered the Wii Fit.

The Wii Fit is the perfect exercise machine for me. It has games that help improve balance, which is something that I struggle with due to muscle fatigue. My right side is weaker than my left. I’m getting stronger a little bit at a time. The Wii Fit also has a variety of aerobic games that improve stamina. But, at the same time, most of the games last three to ten minutes. They are perfect for me because my body only works in short bursts and then gets limp again.

I rock the super hula hoop. (But not as good as this guy!)




And the segway. (Not me, either.)




Playing with the segway game stretches my calf muscles and I’m not waking up in the middle of the night with leg cramps anymore. I can feel my body getting stronger, too. I couldn't be happier. Thanks to the Wii Fit my blood sugar is lower and my stamina is improving. It’s a win win and a lot of fun.

Along with the Wii Fit, I love walking in the woods when my legs let me move. What's your favorite way to exercise? 

4 comments:

  1. Very inspiring! Your story is a great example of needing to figure out what works for you. Sometimes I need the reminder that I am the only one in my body and I am the only one who can actually take care of myself.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I hear you. I am the only one in my body is a mantra for me. It is empowering to remember that.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Wii Fit is fun isn't it. Have u played table tilt while holding the cat yet?

    ReplyDelete
  4. No. I don't think he'd like that very much. I did beat your high score, though.

    ReplyDelete

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I am not a doctor. I do not have a medical degree. Nothing on this site qualifies as medical advice. These are lessons I'm learning at the University of Catastrophe. What I find to be correct answers in my classes may not be the right answers for you.

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