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Exercise After a Cardiac Procedure--My Experiences with 'How Much is too Much?'

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After my recent cardiac procedure, I couldn't afford attending cardiac rehab at $20 or $30 per session. So, I walked. With the dog of course. After my discharge from the hospital, I started first walking inside the house back and forth from the front door to the back door. At first I was stopping every round and taking a breather. It was hard to walk but 10 steps. Just going to bathroom was an ordeal, but as the time went by it got easier.

The last time I went through this, I remember doing pretty much the same thing with rehab, but with one difference: I just walked for a few days and later on started jogging and pretty soon I was jumping ropes and doing weights. I was also six years younger and could do a lot more things much easier. As the years have gone by I guess I lost the stamina and muscle power that I had back in the days. I recovered lot faster then. I went back to work within one month doing mammograms, sometimes 20 to 29 per day.

For some reason this time I find myself being less physically active. I do walk the dog every other day. I joined the local gym where I attend Zumba classes every Tuesday and Thursday. I do most of the household chores just so I could keep myself active. But I think either my age is catching up with me or I am not doing something right. I do have interest in working out but when the time comes for it I keep making excuses to get away from it. I don't think all people my age are physically less active. As a matter of fact I have a neighbor who is in his 70's and still does sky diving, paragliding, hiking and what not. I have seen 60 and 70-year-olds working out with so much excitement at the gym. Then what is really wrong with me? Why couldn't I be like anyone else? Especially with my health condition I should be working out everyday. Is it the medicines that I take?

I sat quietly in a corner yesterday early in the morning and contemplated my difficulties and reasons for not being up to the workout regiment. I filtered out each reason and analyzed it from every angle. I considered all the concerns I had regarding my health issues : the medicines, my blood sugar, my food habits, my shoes, my sleeping patterns, my daily routine, etc.

I narrowed it down to my blood sugar, my food habits and my sleeping patterns. I haven't been following a proper diet. I have been eating too many carbs that are causing me to slow down due to raised blood sugar. I go to sleep very late, sometimes at three in the morning, which makes me groggy and grumpy. Naturally, it is hard to be able to do anything physically active.

So, I changed my diet completely. My breakfast consists of one slice of whole wheat bread with margarine and half a teaspoon of honey, half a cup of bean sprouts, and one cup of coffee. I used to eat half a cup of white rice with lunch--I changed it to a quarter cup of brown rice. For dinner I now eat half a whole wheat tortilla with some vegetable curry or chicken or ground turkey. I eat mixed nuts, half an orange, half an apple and tea for snacks. My blood sugar came down quite a bit with that. So, there is no longer a problem there. I started getting to bed by 11 or 11:30 so I could wake up early by six. You would think that since I'm now doing everything right that my exercise issue would be better; so why am I still having a problem exercising?

I finally noticed that every time I walk the dog I am being pulled so hard by her that I am not only getting exhausted but ending up with sore muscles the next day. And every time I walk I am getting carried away--I just go for hours in the hot sun and come back tired with absolutely no energy for the next day. Last but not least, I carry water for the dog but not for me. Now, I know better than to walk for two or three hours--I go out now for 40 minutes or so. I also got a training chain for the dog so she won't pull me hard enough to yank my joints out of my sockets. I finally realized how much exercise is too much for me. Yep, I do it one day at a time, one step at a time. I don't let the dog lead and push me around; I lead and hold her on the leash because, MY LIFE MATTERS.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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