As a working Mum, it is hard to find time to exercise as it seems as though I am either working or taking care of Joshua, yet I need to find time to do more exercise as I am getting bigger and bigger. My husband and I are using our next respite weekend, to go away on the ferry with our bikes again and I have hardly used my bicycle this summer, so I thought I ought to get some practice in! For the last fortnight I have had to take the dogs to work with me to leave the house clear for our window installers, but now they have finished, they can go back to staying at home. the sun was shining, even though there was an autumnal chill in the air, so I dug my bicycle out, dusted it down and set off with 20 minutes to spare to get the 2 miles to my office. I was confident so I took the longer route round to get there, via the seafront. But it soon became clear how unfit I was as I struggled and I was only just at work on time and even then, I was red faced and out of breath. My legs complained as I climbed the stairs to my desk.
As I recovered, I started to feel more pleased with myself : yes it had been tough but I had made it and it had to be better for me than driving to work. I took the more direct route home at lunchtime and it never feels as difficult going that way and I was pleased with my 4.7 miles by the time I got home then took the dogs a walk. I drove back to work for the afternoon as I had shopping to do after work, but if I just did that every day this week, it would be an easy way of getting some exercise combined with commuting. The problem is that i am a fair weather cyclist – I do not envisage keeping that up on cold, wet or windy days, so I need to find an alternative. Once again I cursed the year -long closure of our local leisure centre as our next nearest is 25 minute drive away, which being less convenient, is less tempting, so I do miss my early morning swims.
I used to joke that pushing Joshua’s wheelchair was my main form of exercise and certainly, caring for him has certainly made me stronger than I would be otherwise. I no longer attempt to pick him up like I did when he was younger, but I do help him out of the bath and I often have to chase him in Tesco, when he makes a bolt for the door as I am packing my shopping away, which amuses the staff as I suddenly sprint after him. Getting Joshua dressed and undressed requires a lot of bending – really caring is a physical role, just not physical enough; it puts repeated strain on the same areas, in my case my back,neck and achilles. I can remember an OT telling me, before Joshua had his brain surgery ,so he was not yet a teenager, that if he fell to the floor with a seizure and I was home alone, that I should not be lifting his body weight as he weighed more than the recommended maximum. So I asked her what he was supposed to do, to simply wait on the floor until my husband got home?! She had no idea of the practical reality of being a carer. It was only last year that I found some super-human strength to lift Joshua out of the bath, while he was fitting, and to manage to drag and then lift him into his bed, as I had no alternative and his need was urgent.
I do know that if I am going to be fit enough to care for Joshua as we both get older, I need to find an exercise routine that fits into my busy lifestyle, as if it is too hard to do, it will fall by the wayside.