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Never Underestimate Physical Fitness

By Annie

I was always in fairly decent shape. I could eat what I wanted and not really gain weight. I liked to keep active, go for long walks and spend time swimming. My blood pressure was normal, my weight was normal and everything was fine. I was healthy.

Then one day I got into a car accident and dislocated my shoulder. This put a damper on things to say the least. Not only was I in a lot of pain, but I also couldn’t do the things I loved to do. I thought it would only be for a few weeks, so I tried not to let it bother me. I thought it was best to take it easy, take some pain pills and try to get better. Of course, I also consoled myself with cookies. I deserved to pamper myself a bit.

However, there were complications with my healing, and weeks turned into months. Acute pain turned into chronic pain. And I had got out of the habit of exercising. At first, it was because whenever I tried, it would aggravate my shoulder. After the first attempts, I didn’t try anymore. It was easier to sit at home and say, “I can’t.” I was feeling sorry for myself. And I got lazy.

Next thing you know, I had put on 20 pounds! To make matters worse, I was tired all the time, and started experiencing depression and bad headaches. A routine checkup showed that my blood pressure had soared. What could be causing all this? A battery of tests showed nothing else unusual. My doctor asked me if there were any changes to my lifestyle.

The only thing I could think of was my lack of activity. I didn’t think that stopping exercise for a couple of months would have such an effect on my health, and my stress level, but I guess I was wrong.

My doctor said there were things I could do that would not aggravate my shoulder. In fact, with the right exercises and physiotherapy, it may actually start to help the pain. This is something I think I always knew deep down. He referred me to a sports medicine specialist.

It was hard to get motivated at first, hard not to say “poor me” and stay in bed instead of getting up for a morning walk every day. But each day it got a bit easier, as the habit came back.

I am happy to report that one month later, I am down eight pounds, and my blood pressure is normal. I have a better outlook on life and more energy. I wish I could say that my shoulder miraculously doesn’t hurt anymore either — but it still does. I am still working through that. I now know that the shoulder pain isn’t my whole life.

Most of all, I learned that living a healthy life is the best thing I can do for myself and my healing. I know I won’t take good health for granted again.

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