Bonus – More exercise, more energy, more time

View from the top – my load was lighter

Yesterday was a good day. Went out to the beach and spent a lot of time running in the sand. I was a little concerned that I might overdo it, as I have in the past. But I didn’t run myself into the ground – just enjoyed myself and had a great time running to/from waves. By the end of the day, I was bushed, so my spouse drove home while I rested. I didn’t get much sleep last night, but I figured I’d make it up today.

I knew I was going to have a long nap this afternoon, and I also knew that I wasn’t going to get much exercise tomorrow, so today I figured I’d push the envelope a little bit. I had a good workout this morning, then around noon I put 20 lbs of books and an (unopened) bag of birdseed in my backpack and headed out into the woods for a hike. I’ve been wanting to do that for some time — either get a weighted vest or find a way to walk/hike/exercise with some extra weight. Feeling the heft of my backpack yesterday inspired me, so I decided to go for it today — add 20 pounds and march up to the top of a nearby hill, and back down again. I figured it wouldn’t be so much that it would bog me down, but it would be enough that I’d feel it after a little while… and when I finally got the pack off at the end, I’d have more of a spring in my step.

I was right. It was a good thing to do. The added weight not only kept the hike challenging, but it also forced me to pay closer attention to my feet and my posture, so I wouldn’t pull something. I thought it might weigh me down too much, but I honestly didn’t feel too terrible throughout the hike. It definitely got heavy towards the end, but it wasn’t and impossible load. I’ve backpacked before, years ago, and it felt familiar. 20 pounds wasn’t too much, but it was definitely noticeable by the end of the hike.

And when I got back and took off the pack, sure enough, I did feel a lot lighter on my feet. Good stuff.

So, after my hike, I took care of some chores, took a hot shower, and lay down for my nap. I did some of my body scanning before going to sleep… where I relax and “check in” with my body to see how it’s feeling, and I fell to sleep pretty promptly. I slept a little over an hour, and I woke up feeling really good. Still a little tired, but clear. Very clear.

I had a lot of good energy, too. Really good energy. A relaxed state that feels both mellow and alert. And all the stuff that’s ahead of me this week, starting at 6 a.m. tomorrow morning, feels a lot less burdensome than it did just 24 hours ago. It actually feels manageable. I feel manageable. Which is pretty amazing, considering the funk that I’ve been in, for the past month or so.

So yeah, exercise. Serious exercise. None of this namby-pamby stuff where I take it easy and coast through. In order to get something out of it, I really have to put a lot into it. Or it makes no difference at all. I started really pushing myself a few days back, and I feel 100% better already. I’m going to keep it up, too — including giving myself plenty of time to rest and recover afterwards, as well as eating more protein and less empty carbs to keep up my strength. It’s just too good to let go.

The wild thing about a lot of this is that the more I pushed myself and the more I wore myself out, the more of “me” I actually had to work with. I feel like “more of me” is back in action, and as a result, I’ve got more energy — and I feel like I have more time. I am less stressed out about little things, and I am better at planning things out — like looking at my calendar and realizing that I’m probably not going to get much exercise tomorrow, so I’d better do something extra today.

I’m also less stressed about the idea of resting and recovering. I get so locked into the idea of going-going-going, that the idea of stopping freaks me out. Not today, though. I put in my extra work, and I’m looking ahead to tomorrow. And beyond.

Funny how that works — you put more in, and you get more out. But maybe that’s how it always works.

Time to get strong. And be smart. And enjoy life — really enjoy it. I haven’t been doing much of that lately. Time to change that around.

Author: brokenbrilliant

I am a long-term multiple (mild) Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI or TBI) survivor who experienced assaults, falls, car accidents, sports-related injuries in the 1960s, '70s, '80s, and '90s. My last mild TBI was in 2004, but it was definitely the worst of the lot. I never received medical treatment for my injuries, some of which were sports injuries (and you have to get back in the game!), but I have been living very successfully with cognitive/behavioral (social, emotional, functional) symptoms and complications since I was a young kid. I’ve done it so well, in fact, that virtually nobody knows that I sustained those injuries… and the folks who do know, haven’t fully realized just how it’s impacted my life. It has impacted my life, however. In serious and debilitating ways. I’m coming out from behind the shields I’ve put up, in hopes of successfully addressing my own (invisible) challenges and helping others to see that sustaining a TBI is not the end of the world, and they can, in fact, live happy, fulfilled, productive lives in spite of it all.

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