if at first you don’t succeed…

23Aug13

I’m always learning new things about how MS affects the body, or at least how it affects my body. And perhaps I can pass my wisdom on to some of you, to maintain your strength.

I think it goes without saying that for almost all of us–MS or not–when learning a new dance or piece of choreography, the first go-round always seems significantly more challenging than the second. The first time, it’s completely new, and the brain is creating new pathways. Sometimes I find the first time not only more mentally challenging, but more physically tiresome as well.

I’m finding something similar with my weight lifting routine these days.

For the sake of muscular variety and “confusion”, I rotate through exercises, sometimes not repeating an exercise for up to a month, even though I work out that muscle group more than once a week. Today, during my shoulder workout, I was doing front raises, a move I hadn’t done in a while. My first set (of 3), I set up with good posture, steadied my shoulder blades… and… oof, I had a hard time raising more than about 60 degrees.

I thought, had I lost that much strength in my shoulders? I almost dropped down in weight for my second set. But something told me not to.

And I’m glad I stuck with the same weight, because round two was a zillion times less awkward. (“Easy” isn’t the right word; if it were easy, there’d be no point in the exercise.) And I did a third set, all in full range of motion!

I’m thinking that some days, with MS, even basic patterns (raising arms forward against resistance…) occasionally have to be remapped in the brain. So if I lift a box or bag from an awkward angle at any point and it feels terribly heavy… I’ll have to remind myself that it may just be a temporary brain blip. Maybe I should set my parcel down and try it again, and suddenly gain superhuman strength.

Or… mostly, I should never give up on myself.

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2 Responses to “if at first you don’t succeed…”

  1. I LIKE the way you think!

    • Thanks! In our situation (MS), it’s important to remember, right? Sometimes, our muscles just don’t get the message the first time. And it’s OK. That’s just life for us. But as long as we get back up on that horse and go again, we’re all good. 🙂


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