Thursday, 6 March 2014

March 2014 - health & fitness musings

I suppose since I had my first real health scare last year, I have become a lot more aware of how unfit I have become, and that I want to do something about it. I guess there is always a catalyst to make you do something, a Pituitary Tumour was mine.

However, I can't entirely blame my lack of hormones for my reduced fitness levels over recent years, although undoubtedly they were a factor. You've got to really want to do something before it fights its way up your priority list.

Thinking back to my youth, I was a Postman for many years and made me hyper-fit into my late 20's and early 30's. Through my 30's I did 7 years of circuit training 2 or sometimes 3 times a week. Played Badminton a lot, cycled a lot.....but gradually this tailed off. Probably only in the last 5 to 7 years and probably due in part to getting older, lack of effort, and lack of hormones. Thinking about it recently, I can tie down a point that I really realised that my fitness had gone downhill, although I had ignored it until now. Deb and I joined a Badminton club in an effort to get into a routine with our playing, we thought going to a club weekly would both increase our fitness, and make our game better....neither worked very well for me (quite well for Deb though). In my first week there, I badly sprained my calf muscle....up until that point in my life (about 5 years ago) I had never sprained a muscle. Although they didn't think they were, these club members were really rather good Badminton players, much better than us. So to try and make up for my lack of playing skill, I tried to make up with physical ability...and what was the first thing that happened, I injured myself. We played quite regularly for the year we joined, and my game probably got better, but I barely won a game all year and was pretty fed up by the end. I was struggling, but didn't understand why.

Then in the last few years, I would start to get tired when out of walks, have energy crashes and feel generally 'lacking', all of which I know now was due to the Pituitary Tumour.....but I was thinking was just down to me being a lazy devil, which in part of course was true.

So although I have started doing a lot more walking and a bit of cycling (and this is working well), I decided that I needed something else a bit different. So I have been doing Pilates, in a men-only class, for the last 9 weeks. I knew that my 'core' needed a lot of work and this was more than proved in the first week, painfully proved. I didn't know a lot about Pilates other than what Deb had talked about as she has been doing it for about 18 months. What I didn't realise is all the other muscles Pilates affects, and just how much of that muscle I haven't exercised for a long time. My back is very weak, arms, legs you name it. The other thing it has highlighted is just how much suppleness/mobility I haven't got in my hips, back and shoulders. I just can't get into some of the positions required by Pilates....I am improving though. This is probably less to do with Pituitary matters, and lots more to do with sitting at a desk for years hunched over a computer. I am determined to sort this out during the year. My least favourite Pilates exercise so far is "the 100"'s bloomin' hard work (it might not look it.....)

At least now I have the correct amount of Testosterone floating around my bloodstream, I have a good chance of building muscle now, so all my hard work won't go completely to waste.

Lastly, another thing occurred to me, panic attacks. In the year or so before my operation, I had several episodes that we put down to me having a panic attack....for no obvious reason most of the time. I read a story from a fellow Pituitary patient who has been suffering with panic attacks, and I suddenly realised, I haven't had any since my operation. Not sure what the link is, but I am sure there is one.

First blog post in March, over 9 months since my operation already.....

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