Happy Friday everyone! We have made it through the week. Treat yourselves to a donut this morning. And possibly an adult beverage this evening. I’m planning to do both. Today is Day 5 of the #RABlogWeek Challenge. Today’s topic is Exercise and RA.
I’m just going to start by being totally honest. Because that is how I roll. I hate exercise. The idea of doing some sort of repetitive routine in a gym (or my house) day after day – gosh that’s dull. Even when I was healthy enough to stick to a workout routine I did it grudgingly and half-assed. When I was in college back in the late 1990s I was an athlete. I rode for 4 years on the university’s equestrian team. (If you don’t think that makes me a former athlete we can step outside and discuss later.) Halfway through my time on the team we became an NCAA team. Which meant in addition to the normal horseback workouts we did (which typically left even the toughest amongst us walking funny) we now also had to work out as a team in a gym a couple of times a week. I was the one in the back row half working out, half staring out the window daydreaming.
Now, don’t think that I’m a lazy slug. I love to move and work hard and push my body to it’s limits. I just prefer to be doing something while working out. Before the NCAA ranking forced me into a gym I had my own workout routine. Stacking hay bales that weighed between 60 and 90 pounds worked my arms. For my legs I’d ride without stirrups. Fellow horse people out there can tell you what a workout this is.
Today, RA has slowed me down. My back, shoulders, and wrists have taken stacking hay out of my life. It was sweaty, dirty, dusty work. I’m surprised to admit that I miss it. I can’t ride as often as I like but when I do I still ride without stirrups. Most of the time I don’t even use a saddle. I like to make sure my legs stay as strong as possible.
The one thing that RA hasn’t stopped me from doing is the one form of exercise that really never feels like exercise to me. Hiking. I am a lucky, blessed girl because I grew up within 30 minutes of the second largest canyon system in the US. The Palo Duro Canyon State Park has been my playground my entire life. I can’t do overnight hikes in the mountains thanks to my RA and my asthma. But I can grab a few bottles of water and my dog and hit the canyon trails. Somedays I have to stick to the easy trails. Somedays I can handle the tough ones that require lots of climbing. Somedays I only last a few hours. Somedays I can spend the day down there.
The canyon is one of my favorite places in the world. It is the one place where I can walk away from the world and just disappear into nature. It keeps my inner well of peacefulness filled. It is the best form of exercise because it is good for both my body and my soul.
If you’re ever up in the Top of Texas, make sure you go visit my canyon. It will be good for your body and soul too, I’m sure.
To read all of the #RABlogWeek blogs, go here. Click on the links under each topic to read that day’s blogs.