Monday, 18 July 2011

Running away

Running round the WiiFit island feels good in my body, but sometimes gets a bit boring in my mind. 

So while I'm running sometimes I take the opportunity for pray for friends who need the Lord’s help especially just now.  Sometimes I mull things over, think through a piece of writing I need to do, or consider how to approach a section of editorial work for someone else’s book.

And if all else fails, I look at the track on the screen and listen to my feet padding along, and remind myself where I’m running to and what I’m running away from.

Running away from fluid retention… from obesity… from diabetes… from fibromyalgia… from worsening varicose veins… from depression… from flab (quick! faster!)… from fatigue… from osteoporosis… from muscle loss…

Running towards vascular health… mental alertness… cheerfulness… strength… muscle tone… lymphatic health… bone health… extended independence in old age…

Over breakfast ths morning I sat chatting with Fi my youngest daughter about muscles – ‘I love muscles,’ she said: ‘they’re amazing!’

Specifically, we were thinking about the bag/net/cradle of muscle that wraps around the pelvis – abdomen, perineum, lower back muscles – creating a core of strength and stability that protects against getting bad backs, prolapses and incontinence, and is the source of strength for moving and lifting.  The spine is a willowy thing, designed for bending and flexing, not for carrying loads.  When the muscles that weave around it are allowed to atrophy, the spine and skeleton are asked to perform tasks God never meant them for, and they go wonky and out of kilter – and then the body starts screaming ‘Uh oh! Life-you-are-doing-it-wrong alert! Alert! Alert!’

The Badger says the thing with exercise that people often forget to mention is the time lag.  From when you start to where it begins to feel good is about a fortnight.  He thinks if more people knew that, fewer people would give up.

I love the loose, easy feeling of running.   I love the sound of my feet on the floor like an African drummer’s bush message of health and cheerfulness.  I love it that I can see bones in my feet, that I haven’t seen for years because of fluid retention.  I love it that, because of the way I eat and the running, all the awful pain I though I was stuck with forever has gone – the fibromyalgia pain in my legs, the chest pains, the excruciating acid reflux, the sore, swollen tongue (how long have you got?)  Gone, gone, gone.  Not to mention the tonsilloleths and the candida and the awful fatigue that felt like my life draining away.  Gone.  I ran away from them and ate them away.

I feel so well these days.  Plant-based, whole-food eating.  Running running running.  I feel good.  The Badger did point out to me that it’s much harder running actually outside in the streets and the park instead of padding along an off-cut of carpet.  Stored away for future reference, when my body gets nifty and speedy and strong  :0)    


Elin said...

I love exercising but not running. I love riding my bike, walking, swimming and different muscle training (weights or with other types of resistance) but not running. I have just never seen any point with running and didn't like it even as a child except running up hills which still is fun. I don't know what that says about my personality and I will spare you of the analysis this time. I think it is my muscles really, I grow muscles very easily and I am very explosive so my body is not very good for running longer than 50-60 m. I can do many short sprints and walk long distances but running/jogging just doesn't really work.

Ember said...

Oh, isn't that interesting! My other form of exercise I love is swimming. In my physique I am a lot like an amphibian - frontways on I am wide but sideways on I am relatively flat, and my body is very soft and bendy - even my skin blisters easily - plus my hands and feet are like flippers. The Badger says I am descended from the Princess who married the Frog. And I think it's why I like swimming.
I used to really enjoy cycling too, but it's lethal in Hastings - too much traffic in narrow, twining, hilly roads.
I love the idea of you being explosive and growing muscles easily - because you come across as a forceful (in a nice way!) quite urgent sort of lady, who feels things deeply and has eyes that really look at a person.

Jules said...

I love more of kickboxing type exercising and walking, I want to start swimming more as well. I love reading your posts they are so thought provoking!

Ember said...

Thanks, Jules! :0D

Bean said...


I started walking in April, I now do five miles/day five days per week, I have lost FORTY pounds, I feel absolutely wonderful. I now crave my daily walk. I have energy now that I would never have felt possible 4 months ago, I too no longer have body aches, stiff muscles, weakness, my muscles were there all along and they were telling me in no uncertain terms that they wanted to be used, so use them I am, and the benefits are almost miraculous!!!!!

I too pray while walking and think of all of the health benefits of exercise :)

And, I would love to encourage anyone who is not doing some form exercise to START TODAY. Take fifteen minutes and walk, and guess what you have started and you can take it from there, you will be astonished at what you can accomplish in a month or two, and by then you will be enjoying all of the positive benefits>


Ember said...

Totally! Thanks for that, Bean. I read so many posts from sisters on Facebook who suffer from aches and pains and tiredness and obesity. I don't like to add to what is already a big struggle for them by saying things about diet and exercise directly, but like you I would love to encourage others to make even a tiny beginning in a direction that can be so healing and energising.
And it's not like you have to be superwoman - just walking in the normal way, or padding along in the living room like I do, which is excellent for self-conscious ladies who wouldn't be seen dead out and about in running gear!!

Michelle-ozark crafter said...

Moving, moving, moving! I love moving around and only wish my body didn't fight me on it. I still go as much as I can! I am proud of you sister!

Bean said...

I just walk at a normal pace, which is about 3 miles/hour. The wonderful thing about walking is that you burn about 100 calories/mile, it does not stress your knees, and it tones up your entire body.

Elin said...

Ember, I really hope I am the person you see, I love the description of her at least. Yes, I think you got the forceful part correct and I am very emotional but that is both good and bad. I do get angry easily and say way too much bad things to people sometimes but people seem to forget that being emotional also means that I am probably happier and have more fun than the average person too. I work on my temper and I am much more calm nowadays...

My eyes seem to interest people but to me they are just eyes that do their job tolerablely well. I am slightly near-sighted and I cannot take too much sunlight without sunglasses because they are light blue but other than that they are good.

When it comes to swimming I am more of a seal, complete with some protective fat here and there... (Let's call them feminine curves as we are in a nice mood today)

I love riding my bike, I ride from early spring until it is too cold late autumn and I ride my bike to work 9 km away as much as I can. I love getting that exercise and the feeling of the wind in my face. I feel bad for you not being able to ride your bike, I don't know what I would do if that where the case.

Ember said...

Hi Michelle, hi Elin, hi Bean!

D'you know, I just *love* the people who comment on this blog. Sometimes if I've been on Facebook I feel all jangly inside with some of the hateful, prejudiced things people occasionally say - but that *never* happens here. Everyone is so thoughtful and gracious and sensible. Someone commented to me just a little while ago on what a nice bunch of people hang out here.

And so you are! Mwa! Mwa! You're gorgeous! xxx

Vicki said...

Hi Ember

Sorry I've not commented for a while - I have been reading and I always love your posts!

Had to comment today lol! I've been very ill over the last 1.5 yrs with lyme disease and it seemed my life fell apart, I went from being a happy, healthy, fit mum to someone who couldn't get out of bed, even walking was incredibly hard seemingly overnight. After realising that conventional medicine wasn't going to make me better, I made it my mission to research diet, etc for answers. I now eat a whole food diet, lots of raw fruit and veg, no sugar, no dairy and very limited animal products, no packaged food or junk and the difference is amazing. I had to do this pretty much overnight on becoming pregnant - one too many airlifts to hospital! I'm also exercising usually walking daily, although my dream would be one day to be able to run again (I love running!)

Sorry far too much waffling, but the diet you speak of and exercise really does help heal the body.

If you ever get chance I would love if you could share more about your journey. Do you have any good vegan recipes? The ones I find have been hit and miss and so many call for margerine and sugar - which I can't touch.

I made some gorgeous cookies the other day experimenting so I felt like I was having a treat using oats, wholemeal four, raisins, honey, coconut oil, cinammon and vanilla extract. They were good!

Looking forward to receiving your new book at the end of the month! and happy birthday for next week - you share a birthday with my husband.

Vicki said...

Oh and forgot to say - love the picture!

Ember said...

Hi Vicki! Lovely to hear from you.

I did a post on 30th Jan 2010 about my dietary health journey. If you type 'fibromyalgia' in the search box at the top right of my blog, the entry called 'Health Notes, a personal journey' is th eone you want.
I might do another post actually, because some thing have changed since then. For example, I can now eat citrus fruits again - I suspect that more of my problems were dairy-related than I thought, and having been dairy free (apart from occasional food in other people's houses) for well over a year, I think a lot of related problems have subsided. So, yes, I'll post something about it in the next day or two.
And I'll do a post about some of the meals we cook, and the snacks we make.
The cookies you made sound excellent!
Hope you enjoy 'The Hardest Thing To Do' when you get it, and thanks for your birthday wishes!
I'm now off to look yp 'lyme disease'! x

AbiSomeone said...

Sweet Ember ... how wonderful it is to hear that you are feeling so well!

I must say that it totally shows! The picture you've been sharing so such a lively and vibrant soul. I am deeply rejoicing for you.

I am also getting better and stronger, but my path is a bit different (as, really, all of our paths are, eh?) ... and I am confident that things will continue to come together in Father's good time.

Running, however, is not something that goes along with the knees I inherited from my father :^( ... but I do love Wii Fit and am getting back to it. It's all good!

I have been doing vibrational therapy with Power Plate for the past four or five years ... and it is awesome -- allows me to work out when I'm not really strong enough to "work out" :^)

Infinite variety ... :^)

Ember said...

Hooray! This must be the Season of Wellness!

Hawthorne said...

Thank you for this, Ember. I try to walk whenever I can. I love to march my way to town, listening to music on my ipod shuffle, or singing in my head - "For all the saints" is a great hymn to stomp along to, and God does'nt mind if you can only remember a couple of verses! ;-) Now I ought to get on my bike again too!

I read up your post about changing your diet and was particularly interested in how you gave up sugar. I've always used sugsry foods as a reward to myself and as consolation when I'm down. Lately I've realised I'm going for them when I'm tired. Do you have any tips for cutting out sugar? I don't think I could just do it overnight though!
And a hug for your birthday next week! x x

Ember said...

Hi Hawthorne. Re sugary foods, the thing is a girl needs a snack sometimes. I have settled for 4 options.
1) A wholemeal bread marmalade/jam sandwich, with just a small scarping of vegan marg and good quality jam (read the label to steer clear of this bad high fructose corn syrup), and thin sliced bread.
2) Nairns Oatcakes do a brilliant range that includes dark chocolate chip, fruit & spice, and ginger. The ginger is low GI, the other 2 are higher - can't remember what GI rating but it says it on the pack. They are small, wholefood, and not too bad for you.
3) A small heap - like a sherry-glassful of mixed dried fruit and nuts.
4) If just a drink will do the trick, a cup of hot choc made with unsweetened soy milk and Green & Blacks hot chocolate powder (the vegan sort in the big brown glass jar), and just a tinsy bit of sugar to taste - use less than you think will be nice and gradually your taste will adapt.

Also, if you are just feeling kind of maungy & low, sometimes your body craves carbs for the cheerfulness, in which case a little dance or run can see it off. And don't let yourself get too hungry or you'll just want to eat everything in sight!

paula said...

Dear Pen,

So good to read this! Success stories are always encouraging.

Sometime this spring, I passed over some exercise threshold and now MUST exercise every day--or so my body insists! I was trying to work on my "bad back," which turned out to be a very weak bunch of core muscles. I have gone through the latest set of physical therapy sessions (it's been an annual event for some time), and this time I think I will finally become well again. I walk and do endurance weight training (meaning that the weights are light, like the load that God gives me).

I do not like music in my ambient life any more. I'd rather just think about God while I walk the track at the gym. I often end up in a meditative state, and next thing I know I have prayed for everyone I know and I've walked for 45 minutes. Then it's time to hit the weight machines. :)

Love, Paula

Ember said...

Hooray! Blessing and strength to your back and core muscles!

Hawthorne said...

Thanks for the advice, Ember. I've been worrying all night that you'd tell me something really strict and hard to do, and then I'd feel guilty cos I wouldn't be able to keep it up! Lol. x

Ember said...


Linda said...

I have no idea what wii running is like, although we have a wii. Last night though my fourteen year old daughter and I danced, gently after a little while it was exhausting lol, on the spot. It was her music which was good and this morning I could shower without having spasms when I dried my right leg or rather bottom. I have been scared to have showers a few weeks ago. Can you tell us about atrophy? I have a chiropractor but is a long way away. I need to go to the new one here perhaps it is not going to fix itself. I have been content to let it go because I can still drive etc. which I can't sometimes, and the spasms usually are a really bad thing, this time awful but I can still do things. Last time I had it put back it lasted four days and the whole thing went out and I couldn't go anywhere. Or even sit for more than a few minutes.

Ember said...

'Atrophy'? It just means 'wasting away', decrease in mass of muscle.
When you say 'spasms', do you mean cramp? You could do a bit of internet research about that for nutritional help. I am not a nutritionist and have no qualifications for giving any kind of advice, but I have heard that muscle cramps can be caused by a lack of magnesium, or sometimes a lack of sodium, in a person's diet. And I *think* co-enzyme Q10 might help with that too - especially if a person is taking statins. But a patient morning spent searching on Google should turn up useful information.
The book 'Unexpected Recoveries' that I have recommended tells you all you need to know about eating to restore health.

Linda said...

A quick look on google suggests it is well know. ehow says: How to Treat Back Spasms. Back spasms send many people to the doctor and emergency room each year to deal with the excruciating pain and sometimes fear.

Another one says: A spasm is a spontaneous, abnormal contraction of a muscle. When it occurs in the back near the spinal cord or the nerve roots, it can be very painful.

Fear is the worst. In this case nothing bad has come of it as it usually does. But still very scary. I had three episodes in the past year, one in about 2000, luckily no others. They were the serious ones. This minor one is my first. So glad I stopped it with my dancing gently, it will be interesting when I have my shower tomorrow if it comes back.

Linda said...

One website suggested: The best thing to do is to simply relax and allow the pain to pass.

I found this to be true, it is like contractions when you are having a baby. I was getting out of the shower at the time. I had help because often during these times it is difficult to dress.