Saturday, August 11, 2007

Use it or lose it

I have been a gym rat since my undergraduate days at UCLA. I stopped working out for a few years after graduation, but came back to the gym in the early 1970s and have worked out regularly -- typically 6 hours per week -- ever since. Until my retina detached, I don't think I went more than one week without at least one heavy workout in all that time. On off days, I would typically jog or do a hard training ride on my bike.

The most strenous thing I have done in the last two weeks is walk a few blocks.

Well, I am going a bit nuts. I was addicted to exercise. I always felt great -- rejuvenated -- after a workout, but the addiction was not all positive. I think I was also afraid to skip workouts -- afraid to lose it. If my eye heals, and I can resume training, it will be interesting to see if I can come back and, if so, how long it takes.

If things go well, I have to wait two months to resume training. Hopefully I will be able to do some exercise before that. Right now I am not allowed to bend over, lie on my back, lift anything heavier than five pounds or walk fast enough to raise my heart rate. (The first night I had to stay up all night lying on my stomach with my face parallel to the floor to keep the gas bubble floating against the retina).

Two weeks of inactivity have already taken a toll -- most notably on my legs. They are smaller and the thigh muscles are less defined. Abs too. Less deterioration of the upper body. More important, my legs feel very weak. I think this is also bad for my heart. I feel some arrhythmia and a little bit of the effect of being low on oxygen. That may contribute to the feeling of weakness in my legs. It might be in my head too. I will monitor the comeback if I am able to resume working out. We'll see how long it takes to reach the level I was at two weeks ago, if I can do it. That will be most interesting.
Post a Comment