We're looking for new routines here. After 8-and-a-half years, life without a dog or two is very quiet and very strange. I've been waking up early, coming home at lunchtime, walking morning and afternoon, letting furry paws out and back in at the latest possible hour…that's all gone.
I remember that in the early years, I stressed about fitting in enough activity time for the dogs around my work schedule and parental responsibilities. I may possibly have groused about having to get up early every single day to try and prevent accidents or disasters. But now, of course, I only want to do all those things.
While revhoney was here visiting last week, we talked about exercise, and I acknowledged that I loved being out with Sam and will miss the walks through our favorite parks and the neighborhood. He was a fantastic dog, on leash and off. Being in the fresh air (even in the winter) was good for my brain chemistry.
"How can we get you walking?" she asked.
Just last week I clicked on a link at an RA blog, leading to My RA Fit Kit. Amazingly, my RA has been pretty manageable despite the extreme stress of the past six weeks. I took the exercise survey and got advice that was actually unsurprising, because it echoed the advice given my my primary care doctor when I first started to take better care of myself, pre-RA, in 2007. I should be aiming for 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic exercise. That's 5 30-minute walks, which is about the length which my knee and the joints in my feet and ankles will tolerate. The rest of me would like to walk longer, but I have to listen to the joints.
RA is improved by exercise, but not by overuse.
LP and I talked, and we agreed that we both needed that walk in the afternoon. So today, even though it was brisk, we put on our sneakers and took off for Walk #1. I had to guess what would make a half-hour walk. It's been a while since Sam took one of those, because even before he had cancer, he had iffy elbows beginning this time last year.
It was also good for us to get back in our neighborhood and walk, to reclaim our space and not let it be lost to grief.
So we took off on a familiar route, and we walked and talked, and when we got home, having moved faster without a dog then I could do with him, it had been 27 minutes.
I'll be scheming a way to make it take a little bit longer. But that's a good start.
(The strength training? We'll see about that.)