In 2011 I ran my first and only triathlon. I had been planning it for a time but then this little diagnosis of Parkinson’s came along. I allowed the diagnosis to derail my training for about a year but eventually took up running and cycling again to finish my sprint tri the summer of 2011
I know I’ve just bored a significant number of you. The discussion of triathlons does not fit neatly along side your walker, wheelchair or cane. It’s seems at best preposterous and at worst insensitive. Bear with me just a bit if you will.
There is an ongoing discussion regarding physical activity and Parkinson’s. We hear often the quotes that exercise will help if not outright cure many of the symptoms that we face with this malady. And in truth I believe it to be true. I have lived the reality of feeling better while exercising. My joints move better, my body in general works better and I have less anxiety.
So why do I still find it so hard? I try to get in ten thousand steps a day but rarely top eighty five hundred. I have committed to doing yoga and stretching five days out of seven but often only see three or four. My life is not filled with marathons and tri’s. Why?
I think in the end you and I are not so very different. If you are a person with Parkinson’s you have a clear understanding of the physical and emotional barriers that this disease throws up to slow you. It is an immense challenge most days to do what absolutely must be done let along get up and ‘exercise’.
So how do we turn the corner?
Allow me to pose a number of questions. Do you want to feel better? Would you like to have better physical function? Would you like to feel better emotionally? Would you like to do more with your kids or grandkids? There are all kinds of possibilities should you choose.
Starting to sound like snake oil? Hold on….
It’s important that we clearly identify what we are talking about. My proposal is very simple and it is this; what can you do physically that you are no longer doing? Or, put another way; what would you like to try to do again that you no longer do? You see, it’s very easy to get lost in comparing ourselves to others and say things like, ‘Well, I can’t do that!’ which can be a very fair observation. However, most of us have a sense of what we could or might be able to do if we chose to.
When it comes to physical activity I will always encourage you to find something you want or love to do and do that! Whether that something is gardening, dancing, pushing your grandkids on the swing, going for a walk, yoga or running a tri it’s about finding some form of physical activity that you can do and begin to do it.
Now, of course, if you have not done any strenuous physical activity for some time you need to consult your physician before launching off in a new direction. Please, remember to play safe!
So, yes, this is the ‘snake oil’ I’m selling find something you love to do and do it regularly. Why? Well, there are a number of really good reasons. One, you do want to feel better, we both know that, and, this will help. It’s not going to cure you but you will feel better. Your body will benefit from it as well as your mind. Two, you love your family and want to take care of yourself for them. Three, your family loves you and wants you to be as well as you can be for as long as possible. There are three fabulous reasons to do something a little extra today.
I want to encourage you to pick something to start with….right now….pick up a pen and write down what you would like to do. It can be as simple as stretching on your own or as big as joining that group you know about. No one has to know (except your doc!) and then set yourself a little goal, nothing huge, just a goal you think you can manage.
I’ve set aside a little goal for myself as well. At last years SuperWalk we were able to put together one of the largest teams to ever walk together and raised over $20,000! It’s once again time to start building Tim’s Team and I would be honoured if you would join me again or for the first time. We want to shatter last year’s success! Click on the logo and you will be directed to the Parkinson Society of Manitoba where you can sign up and begin raising funds for Tim’s Team.
Now, for me, it’s time for a walk! Talk to you soon.
Strength & Courage,
Tim Hague Sr. is an author, internationally sought after professional speaker and Winner of The Amazing Race Canada season #1. Tim was diagnosed with Young Onset Parkinson’s Disease at the age of 46. He hails from Winnipeg Canada where he resides with his wife and children. For event bookings or to learn more about Tim go to www.TimSr.ca.