I’ve talked a number of times about my battle with anxiety.
In a nutshell: It’s no walk in the park. It is, however, a run through the park with a knife-wielding psycho breathing down your neck.
At least that’s how it feels when you’re having a panic attack.
If you’re new to my blog you may wonder what you’ve stumbled upon. “I thought this site was about fitness, so what’s all this talk about being chased by a murdering psycho? That’s not even close!”
Well, it sort of is because fitness is the one thing that separates me from a padded cell most days.
Here’s an example…
Last week I was filling out an online form for something important, a new gray root cover-up or subscription to a Lipstick Of the Month Club – whatever – when I suddenly forgot the name of my street. A total blank, as if someone removed the memory chip from my brain.
We recently moved into our new home, but it’s been a month. I should know it by now and remembered it readily until this point.
I sat there and stared at the computer screen, slightly freaked out.
Is this how it starts? I think to myself. One day you forget your street address and the next thing you know you can’t recall your Nordstrom password and are unable to buy those cute kitten-heel sandals??
I would not move and inwardly refused to look up my own address. I vowed to sit in front of that computer until I regained my memory, however long it took.
Fortunately, it came to me before night fell. That was a seriously disturbing moment for me.
On an uncharacteristically serious note… My grandmother died of Alzheimer’s at the age of 95. Even before witnessing the horror of that godawful diseases’ progression I’ve had a lifelong fear of losing my faculties.
I realize dementia is not something anyone would wish on their worst enemy (at least most of them), but it’s a particularly bizarre fixation of mine. I’m not totally sure why.
It could be because anxiety and panic attacks make you feel as if you’re losing your mind.
So there’s that. If you’ve ever had a panic attack I’m sending you a virtual high-five. Good job surviving.
Plus, the meds I take that stop the panic attacks work by curtailing the whirlwind of thoughts that swirl around and around my head, otherwise known as obsessive thinking. In fact, I’m on a drug given to help people with obsessive compulsive disorders (OCD).
As someone who avoided medication for more than 50 years, when I no longer had a choice (I became agoraphobic), meds literally given me my life back. (I say this because there’s still a stigma about mental health issues.)
Imagine, these posts are constructed by my non-obsessive, allegedly sane, mind. It’s alarming to think how much worse they could be (both the posts and my symptoms).
Here’s how I’d illustrate the before and after difference of how my mind works (BM= Before Meds, AM = After Meds):
Old me (BM): My head hurts. I never get headaches. This must be bad. I wonder if it’s a tumor. My arm feels numb. My heart is racing. I can’t see straight. I must be having a stroke! Call 911!!
New me (AM): My head hurts. Where’s the aspirin?
It’s subtle, but can you see the difference?
The downside? A side effect is mild confusion, which could explain my address lapse. My doctor once upped the dosage by a bit (I’m on a low dosage that gets rid of about 85% of the anxiety, but I still have my moments), but that made me forget who I just spoke to five minutes earlier.
Plus, I started getting daily headaches. So I went back to the lower Rx.
But forgetting my address admittedly set me back for longer than a few minutes. The fact that it happened last week and I’m writing about it now says a lot.
This fear is a big reason I’m so dedicated to exercise.
TONS of research shows how exercise helps maintain blood flow and oxygen to the brain, which is believed behind the link between regular exercise and reduced risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s.
I don’t need any other reason to work out than this.
If you need motivation and living longer, being stronger and having a firmer body doesn’t do it for you, how about the ability to remember your own name?
That, my friends, gets me to the gym on time.
On a lighter note, who’s up for a nice set of guns?
Summer is just around the corner, and unless you plan on wearing long sleeves in 90-degree weather, it’s time to firm up, shape up and tone those biceps, triceps and shoulders.
Why shoulders, too, you say? Because they’re part of the arm that people notice. And, since they’re often neglected, when you work those muscles they’re usually quick to respond and reward you for your good work by shaping up noticeably.
Before I forget (see what I did there?)… If you like the short series of exercises here and on other blog posts, you may enjoy my new monthly plan I have in the works I’m calling my Ageless Army.
I’ll be including videos that target specific body parts and for different occasions, such as Toned Tank Top Arms, Absolute Abs, Thinner Thighs, Flatten Your Belly, etc.
I will also feature fun PDFs and info still to be determined.
If you’d like more details and be put on the Waiting List for first dibs, click HERE and I will send you updates and let you know when the program starts!
In the meantime, here’s an example of a mini workout similar to ones you’ll find when you join the Ageless Army…
NOW YOU… What gets you motivated to work out? Let me know in the comments below… and please remember to forward this link to your (deserving) Ageless friends ♥
Other posts you may enjoy:
Your Ageless Body Coach,
Linda Melone is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, certified trainer and award-winning health and fitness writer. She specializes in helping women over 50 get in shape and lose weight.