January 2013 Publisher Letter
Although I’ve never thought of myself as a particularly athletic person, I always loved to run. Then, six years ago, I underwent knee surgery from which it took several years to recover. Making matters worse, I learned that the surgery was unnecessary; the damage that seemed to be present was actually the result of a poorly calibrated MRI machine. The entire experience left me off balance.
The former pleasure of simply taking a walk outdoors became an ordeal, with pain spreading from my knee to hip and lower back. Running was no longer an option, and I found myself favoring that leg even when casually tossing a Frisbee or kicking a soccer ball around with my son.
Then 18 months ago, a friend tipped me to an online program called Couch to 5K that helps people begin running. Although I didn’t follow the plan, just the possibility inspired me to try to take that first step. I dug out exercise clothes, dusted off my running shoes and headed outside to walk for awhile, terrified to start jogging and fearing more pain. Finally, I jogged four steps before returning to a walk. Feeling exhilarated, and with a huge smile on my face, I jogged a few more steps, followed by a few more. I had my life back.
When my birthday rolled around, I bought myself a treadmill, and it has been one of the best gifts ever. I use it often, with joy. As my leg muscles grew stronger, the chronic and nagging hip pain disappeared. While my goal wasn’t to lose weight, get fit or increase stamina, all those benefits have come. Yet, I still do it for the sheer joy of feeling alive and able to move my body freely.
These days, I continue to do a run-walk combination on and off the treadmill. The good news, reported in Debra Melani’s article, “Stand Up and Move,” is that just 20 minutes per day of any kind of exercise, even broken up into 10-minute increments, works to improve health and prevent a range of diseases, from heart failure to Alzheimer’s.
The hardest part now is allowing myself time to exercise regularly. Fortunately, I recently came across good advice that I plan to follow: “Every day, choose to give yourself at least one gift that is the most loving thing you can do for yourself.” I’m lovin’ it.
Wishing you a healthy and happy new year,
Gabriella Buchnik, Publisher
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