February 1, 2011

My Parkinson's Week: A reminder on the importance of exercise and weight control!


Last Wednesday night, I was settling down to watch the PBS News Hour at 7 p.m. when there was a loud pop followed by darkness. Thanks to a heavy snow fall, a power line across the street went down knocking out power to the dozen or so houses on our cul-de-sac, not to return until 5 p.m. Saturday.

My housemate and I toughed it out in our igloo for the first two days, building many fires in the fireplace and spending lots of time at the movies and restaurants and in the American University library's computer room. But the house temperature sank below 50 on Friday morning and when I went to Starbucks for my morning coffee a neighbor said she'd been told by Pepco (DC's utility company) not to expect any relief before 11:30 p.m Saturday. That did it. I checked into a downtown Embassy Suites and my housemate went to stay with friends.

Saturday turned out to be a great day. Taking advantage of being downtown and the plethora of free attractions that DC has more of than any city I know, I spent the day re-exploring the Capitol Hill section of DC, taking the subway to the recently restored Eastern Market, walking from there to the Library of Congress where I spent more quality time than I ever had before, and then took the new tunnel from the LoC to the new visitors' center at the Capitol where I took the tour for the first time in my 55 years in DC!

Splendid as the day was it reminded me of things I'd been neglecting. With my usual obsessive/compulsive tendencies, I've been so absorbed in launching this blog that, once again, I'd let my life get out of balance. Spending a day with lots of walking, much of it outdoors and trying something new and different was euphoric. But I was more short-winded on climbing stairs and walking up hills compared to last fall. My gardening and other exercise last year had my weight down and my stamina up. But a winter with too little exercise and too much time sitting at the computer had taken its toll. I'd lost the feel-good fitness I'd had in the fall AND I had gained over 5 pounds.

That's the lesson learned. Now will I do something about it?
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