Fighting For Fitness In My Forties

by Michelle Williams

Mw At The Gym

This year I’ll be turning 40, and have felt the need to up the exercise. The amount of flab that has ‘appeared’ all over my body has caused a panic.

30 years of eating whatever you wanted because you had an inflammatory bowel disease to keep you slim (not a recommended diet), unfortunately leads to bad eating habits.

I have never been a fan of the gym, even when I was in the Navy

So I have now joined the local gym, to progress on from Family Yoga. I have never been a fan of the gym; even when I was in the Navy I avoided as much physical training as I could. I barely qualified each time I ran the fitness test.

On top of that, I am also nervous to do anything remotely strenuous due to numerous abdominal and parastomal hernias. I’ve developed those from just walking about (okay, one time I was shovelling snow)! So it’s understandable that I’ve become exercise shy. However, I am continually inspired by Jay Hyrons, so I finally bit the bullet. My impending beach holiday may have been the tipping point though!

It’s important to discuss your needs with a professional before you get started

Before embarking on any form of exertion I spoke to a personal trainer at my gym and she was very good at taking into consideration my physical ability and my conditions. My schedule is made up of both cardio and resistance training – the resistance being no more than a 5 year old could manage.

I also take a few classes - Aqua Aerobics, Yoga for All and Gold Aerobic lessons (‘gold’ meaning Senior Citizen). Don’t be fooled by the words Senior Citizens - those Nannas are hardcore and fitter than I was at 20 years old. They are also a bit gangster, you stand in their space and you’ll have a row on your hands!

I’m lucky to have my best friend for company at the gym

My best friend accompanies me to the gym, and is on hand due to my mobility problems and just in case I have a funny turn.

Some medical professionals say that exercise can help with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome but that’s one improvement I’m not yet seeing. However, I am lucky enough that I can go to the gym while Callum is at school and still have time to come home and take a nap before it’s time to collect him.

I am also adjusting my diet, along with my husband, Matty. We eat well together as a family, cooking from fresh and such, but we often let ourselves down when we’re apart during the day.

Eating healthily is just as important as finding the right exercise

I am trying to eat more fish; I love it but it’s the only food I feel I can smell from OUTSIDE my bag. My friends and family don’t agree but I’m paranoid about that. 

I’d love to eat more seeds, too, but they seem to be able to push themselves between the seal and the stoma and then lift it away from the skin.

I am yet to discover the exercise ‘high’ and I still have days when I think “God, if I feel like this now, how will I feel when I’m 80?” but I’m definitely feeling a glow and I’m starting to feel good.

About the author

My name is Michelle; I live in Kent with my husband and son. I have a permanent ileostomy as a result of Ulcerative Colitis. You can follow me on twitter.

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