While it’s been a bit since I’ve checked in and updated about bionic life, please file this under the “no news is good news” category.
In the past two years since getting my ExoSyms, my physical abilities have been fabulous. I can still do so much more than I’ve been able to do in years. Here’s a look at just a few things:
- Walked all over Disneyland, all day long, enduring standing in lines a million times better than I have ever been able to in the past.
- Walked an average of 7-10 miles each day of a five-day vacation to London to visit a fellow bionic ExoSym friend.
- Camped several times and can keep up with the Girl Scout Troop I lead.
- Became an archery instructor and teach archery to Girl Scouts and other youth groups.
- Walked all over my beloved red rock country of Utah, again, this time going off trail in Arches for the first time!
- Gone on multiple snowy mountain visits to play in the snow with the kids, and can keep up with the best of them.
- Continued to attend the annual Heli-Expo, the helicopter industry convention, walking 15,000+ steps a day for four days (tons more than I’ve ever been able to do) and my feet don’t hurt a bit! My back, yes – that’s cement flooring. But my feet are great!
- Took on Emerald City Comic Con (bigger than Heli-Expo).
- Walked all over the Oregon Coast in the sand on vacation.
- Walked with my Girl Scout troop in the Fourth of July Parade. Twice.
- Gone our countless hikes.
- Logged 10-15,000+ steps a day for a two week vacation in San Diego – zoo, safari park, museums, beaches, and old town.
That’s a lot of stuff, but one thing has become abundantly clear through it all: You. Must. Keep. Up. Your. Exercises. As warned by Ryan, and somewhat forgotten about by many: https://www.facebook.com/groups/exosym/permalink/2131046657008882/
Remembering to Exercise
I’d been bad. There were weeks or months when I’d be at my desk working all day, not getting any exercise. For me, it wasn’t enough to just go on vacation or walk from time to time. Your core, like everything else, gets weak if you don’t work it. Oh, and your sorry middle age body gains weight, and not the good “it’s all muscle” kind.
Noticing I wasn’t as good as I’d once become in my ExoSym during the early days, things like rough ground or steep inclines got hard, I resolved to get this sorry butt back into shape. And lose the extra “baggage,” so to speak.
I started by creating a list of exercises–a mixture of those I got from the Hanger Clinic when I first got my ExoSym and some special exercises from my physical therapist designed to strengthen my very weak right hip flexor and abductor due to my birth defect and subsequent surgeries. Knowing I can’t stand to do repetitious gym-like work for more than 20 minutes a day, I broke them into fine doable workouts, Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, and Day 5. Days 1-4 work different muscle groups, and Day 5 is a lot of stretches and yoga moves.
No longer paying for gym membership, I took inventory. I had the exercise ball. I didn’t have a kettle bell or any resistance bands. A quick trip to the store and two-day wait for Mr. Amazon Delivery Dude and I was set.
Each morning I do one of the three exercise sets. They take about 20 or so minutes depending on how distracted I get from my four-legged moral support network that sees me being on the floor as a sign I want to be their personal masseuse.
Then I go for a 1.5 mile walk. I live in a hilly neighborhood, so these aren’t strolls in the park. I try to keep the beat of the dance music in my headphones and am usually rewarded with some good calorie burn. My walks typically take about 25-30 minutes. Once home, it’s a protein-filled breakfast to start my day.
Granted, I need to get up an hour earlier to make this routine happen before I have to get to the rest of my day, but I’m feeling more energetic throughout the day since I started this. I’m tracking my progress on the MyFitnessPal app, which also suggests caloric intake for intended flabby stomach and butt flesh loss (my term, not theirs) as well as portions of carbs, protein, and fat to hit my goal. I’m also drinking a ton of water and have cut out caffeine and, for the most part, alcohol. Believe it or not, the caffeine was not hard (as I’m getting energy boost from the exercise and better nutrition). Keeping the drinks to a glass of wine every few days is not so bad. My body doesn’t seem to like me drinking more than that now anyway, which is a good thing, right?
I walk every day, only taking one to two days off a week from the morning exercises.
In my first week, I lost about 2 pounds and am finding it easier to get up those hills only 8 days into the routine!
One thing we all ask is “how long will this last before I need to get another one?” Since I’m not running, jumping, doing cross fit, lifting incredible amounts of weight or otherwise putting lots of strain on them, my devices are as good as new at 2.5 years of age. Other than a couple of tweeks to the foam padding in the first year, they’ve needed nothing more than my ever-lasting devotion. I still wear them from the time I get up until I get into my comfies to catch up on Game of Thrones at night. My feet never hurt. They’re worth every last penny (which I understand I’ll be shelling out when they do wear out as insurance companies have gotten wise to the ExoSym cost and have started refusing to pay.)
They really have changed my life, and the only thing standing between me and perfect fitness is, well, me.