Before RA, I never worried about exercise or weight loss. I played water polo and was generally an extremely active person - swimming, hiking, playing outside, running around with River. Because I was so active, I was lucky enough to never really have to worry about my weight.
But since the RA started, I've had a lot of trouble exercising. Either I'm too tired and achy to get myself to do anything at all, or I try to exercise just like I used to and I end up hurting myself or overdoing it. Due to this lack of exercise (and thanks in large part to taking prednisone for a year straight) I've gained a lot of weight. I know I'm not obese or anything, and I know that some amount of weight gain is totally reasonable given my situation, but I just don't feel good in my body anymore. I don't care what the number on the scale is - I just want to feel good about myself (and possibly fit into my clothes if that's not too much to ask).
So last weekend APL and I did some research and ended up going to talk to Boulder Bodyworks, a studio that offers private yoga, pilates, and physical therapy. We figured, with that basis of knowledge, that they would probably be able to help me figure out what I can do with my body within my limitations. We showed up there, unannounced, and I basically spilled my guts about my problems to the people who happened to be at the front desk. I told them about my RA and the trouble I've been having being active at all. I said I really needed help. It was not easy for me. At all.
But I was rewarded for my trouble with a call from the owner, who said she wanted to meet with me. We sat down and talked in more depth about my issues, and she even showed me some of the exercises I would do in a private pilates lesson. It was super nice of her to take the time to meet with me in person (it was Sunday and she was supposed to be on maternity leave) so she could match me up with an instructor who would be able to understand where I was coming from. I ended up signing up for 10 private lessons to see if I can get myself being a bit more active again.
Pilates, for the record, isn't really what I thought it was at all. I guess I thought it was some sort of aerobics, but in reality it is really more like slow and precise movements and exercises. Sort of like physical therapy, but with a focus on the whole body rather than just one part of it. It can also be done with the help of a lot of equipment. The equipment really looks like torture devices (springs and straps and bars) but I have found it to be really very useful in making the exercises low impact on my joints.
So far, I have been to three lessons. I honestly didn't want to go to any of them, because I've been feeling tired and achy lately, but making the commitment of paying for the lessons actually got me to go. And, although the lessons themselves make me a bit tired and achy, I'm glad that I went. Actually, I've found that I can do more with my body than I thought I could. With a little help, at least.