A.J. Walker

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Steps and Steps

When I first got the diagnosis of MS (or at least after the time it took to get over the initial shock) I decided to walk regularly and I set a lower target than the “10000 steps” generally talked about in terms of keeping fit. It was multi reasoned, 1) to prove I could and 2) just to regularly exercise (it would be too easy to hide away in the house with a spurious excuse available on tap). And early on I was very much doing the amended target of 8000 steps most days; and occasionally significantly more.

Recently I have not been achieving this often at all for a variety of reasons. I think partly because I knew “I could” that reason to do it disappeared off my radar. I’ve had a couple of other issues which have stopped me entirely for a while including a dodgy foot and also a knee issue (neither MS related as far as I can tell) and then last week when I was confined to quarters with the ubiquitous ‘Ping’.

Since the start of the July I’ve only been above 8k steps seven times. That’s over a period of 26 days.

I’ve decided I need to get the regularity of achieving this original aim back up. Not be anal about it, but just to do it more often. I kinda think I can, but at the same time I’m aware that if I’m not doing it then I may not notice if and when any things go downhill.

This past week I’ve felt more “buzziness” in my feet and legs. It’s not necessarily anything to do with MS. For a start for half of last week I couldn’t leave the house and garden and so exercise was a little constrained. On top of this it was damn hot so dehydration may have been an issue. And lastly my prescription for blood pressure tablets lapsed at the wrong time (they get dispensed at a chemist which is shut for much of the weekend) so while I don’t think any feeling in my legs are likely to be due to stopping taken blood pressure medication for a few days, it is another factor to consider.

In any case the buzziness is nowhere near as bad as it was when I first had the “waist down” issues. Apparently temperature can be a significant issue with respect to MS (so much so that it was historically used as a diagnostic tool: they’d plunge patients into a hot bath to see how they’d react to the heat (presumably other than get burnt skin)) so maybe the heat we’ve been suffering from for the last week or two has been a contributory factor to this slightly returned buzziness.

For the last two days I’ve walked into town (about five miles) and these two days have been okay. I’ve got the walk done without any particular issues: they’ve felt quite tired the last couple of days when on the steps down through Everton Park. But that could be just normal fatigue towards the end of a four or five mile walk in the heat - as opposed to anything more “medical”. At the end of today I’ll have exceeded 10k steps on only three days this month: two of which will have been the last two days. It’s an hour and a half to walk into town and maybe I should simply schedule do it three or four times a week. It’ll get me exercise back up to where it should really be. And I can keep an eye on any obvious differences for how my legs - and the rest of me - feel e.g. maybe next time I go down the steps I’ll feel better as the heat will be less of an issue.

I think I’ll return to the aim to walk an average of 8k a day i.e. achieve 56k/week not worrying about days I don’t walk 8k as long as I do the extra steps on another day.

In fact after just typing that sentence I can see it makes sense to keep recording it (not that my phone doesn’t do that automatically anyway). So after each week I’ll put a total up my steps for the week… and woe betide it’s below 56k (clearly if one week is below the additional steps will have to go on “catch up” the following week - surely?). The last week of the month could get scary if I don’t keep up with the numbers early on. Then again if a month falls below… well, you get the picture.

Onwards and Upwards (in terms of step numbers at any rate).
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