I eagerly anticipated writing this blog because I didn’t fully understand just how exercise would be helpful.  I knew researching would clarify it in my mind, and it has.  But then, a new wrinkle entered my life after all my exercising and researching: I stopped losing weight and even gained a few pounds despite my minimum of a half hour of daily exercise.  This while I was strictly adhering to the renal diet, the one that required only a certain number of food units for each food group a day.

I knew exercise was important to control my weight.  It would also improve my blood pressure and lower my cholesterol and triglyceride levels. The greater your triglycerides, the greater the risk of increasing your creatinine.  There were other benefits, too, although you didn’t have to have CKD to enjoy them: better sleep, and improved muscle function and strength. But, as with everything else you do that might impinge upon your health, check with your doctor before you start exercising.

I researched, researched and researched again.  Each explanation of what exercise does for the body was more complicated than the last one I read.  Keeping it simple, basically, there’s a compound released by voluntary muscle contraction.  It tells the body to repair itself and grow stronger. The idea is to start exercising slowly and then intensity your activity.

I’ve been dancing in one form or another since I was eight years old as far as I can remember.  Being an independent person, I had trouble following choreographed routines so I couldn’t dance in shows (well, that’s the reason I gave myself).  Later on, as a single mother of two, I had a problem getting to dance lessons since the kids’ activities always seemed to fall on my dance class nights.

But they were busy with their own social lives on the weekends, so I could go dancing at the clubs then.  That didn’t work so well, either, since I was neither a hot young thing who commanded dance partners by my very appearance, nor was I comfortable going into any place that served liquor.  I didn’t drink myself and had previously had some bad experiences with people who did drink.   I did realize it was possible to be a social drinker without drinking to excess, but was already prejudiced against drinking establishments by my prior experiences in them.

As a young woman back in the 1930s, my mother had gone to tea dances with her older brother.  These included swing dancing, and she became very, very proficient at this.  We always listened to swing music when she came to visit, but I’d never tried to dance to it.  Then I found a swing dance class at the local YMCA during the same time my children had their ballet (for one) and singing (for the other) lessons.  It was a tight fit time-wise, but I could do it.

I met a single dad there whose son was at Cub Scouts at the same time in the same building.  We hit it off as dance partners and decided to try the clubs together.  I convinced him that he could meet eligible young ladies there but didn’t really know if that were true.  We tried some of the swing clubs in New York City and had a great time, but he didn’t meet anyone, so we started going to the swing dances instead.  Bingo!  He met more women than he’d thought he would, I had my dance partner, and I learned to appreciate dancing with other partners.  The swing dances are also much less expensive than the clubs which charge a minimum for drinks whether you drink or not.

Most swing dances don’t serve liquor although water is always available. More importantly to me, they are open to people of all ages so I tried to get my kids interested.  The ballerina didn’t like the beat, and the singer didn’t like dancing at all.  That’s when I started going by myself whenever my daughters had social engagements.  The dances weren’t meat markets, no liquor was served and there were plenty of dance partners.  The whole thing was comfortable for a woman alone and I got to exercise, often vigorously.

What I didn’t know at the time is that your body becomes accustomed to a certain kind of exercise and then it isn’t as effective anymore.  Yes, it was definitely fun, the music always raised my spirit and the dancing created quite a sweat if done correctly, but I was at the point when I needed to find something else in addition.

I was newly diagnosed and had realized swing dancing wasn’t enough exercise when my daughter asked me to come back East for two weeks so I could attend the two bridal showers she was having there.  While she’d become a swing dancer herself once she grew up, she lived in a remote part of New York with only one dance a month.  That one dance wasn’t going to be while I was there. I had to come up with something else and I did, which I’ll tell you about next blog.

And NOW, simply because I finally figured out how to do it, I present to you the cover image for the book upon which this blog is based:

Have a terrific three day weekend with a little time to think about Dr. King’s contributions and, until Tuesday,

Keep loving your life.

Published in: on January 14, 2011 at 11:50 am  Leave a Comment  

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