Last week I fell while walking home from swimming, on some uneven pavement, and hit my left arm. (And of COURSE there were witnesses!!) The arm hurt, but not too badly. And since there also was no swelling or visible bruising, so I figured that it wasn't broken. Yes it hurt, but I figured that it would get better in a week, at the most. I questioned if I would be able to swim on Monday, as LIFTING straight up hurt, but I WAS able to, as long as I swung my left arm out a bit sideways on the upswing. I even managed my full regular forty pool-lengths.
By Wednesday, my arm was much better. The day had had some light rain on and off, but a full-blown storm of several days' worth was blowing our way, so I decided to make the most of my ability to walk and swim while I could. [There are occasionally days when it is nigh-impossible to walk, as actually occurred today. On a Saturday (Shabbat) that it really rains hard with no breaks in the clouds, going out walking means getting drenched, as I do not use an umbrella on the sabbath. But that rarely happens; there are usually breaks when I can scramble out for at least a quick walk. (In such cases I try to walk near the house, so I can get back if I overestimate the time available before the next deluge.)] But when I know that heavy rains are expected, I will try extra hard to see if I can get in my walking when and if the opportunity arises. So Wednesday evening I went to the pool, did my 40 laps, and even a few more. I noted that I was able to swim normally, and was grateful that after a full week, the pain was subsiding. I did stretches after the swim to be sure to treat my muscles well, and headed for home. By the time I arrived home, my muscles were protesting vigorously. And I had extreme trouble falling asleep due to the pain in my left arm.
Thursday evening I went to sleep relatively early. Friday was a fast day, from dawn to dusk. I wanted to get up VERY early, so that I could drink my minimum therapeutic dosage of coffee-caffeine before the fast started, before embarking on a day of cooking for the upcoming Sabbath. Unfortunately, the pain in my arm did not allow me to fall asleep very quickly, and I only got about 5 hours of sleep.
So in the morning, I was faced with the choice after drinking my coffee: go back to sleep… or cook for the Sabbath bright and early. I chose the second, wanting to enjoy the coffee-effect while it lasted, and besides, it was one of the shortest pre-sabbath Fridays of the year. (The Sabbath arrives before sundown, anytime from 4:14 in the winter to after 7PM in the summer.) Since the predicted stormy weather had arrived at our doorstep overnight, I hoped to catch a break in the weather to walk a bit on Friday. I KNEW very well that after eating the post-fast-evening-sabbath –meal there was NO way I would go walking…. EVEN if there was no rain (which looked unlikely anyway). Remember, I could walk on Friday with an umbrella in hand, but not on Friday evening.
But by mid-morning I was literally falling asleep whenever I sat for a moment. Immediately I wondered "How in heaven did I use to function day after day on 5 hours of sleep?" And of course the answer was: by drinking coffee after coffee, by eating cookies to keep that sugar level up.
So I went to take a short nap. I awoke with a lot more energy, and even found the time for a quick 33 minute walk around the neighborhood between rainstorms.
So what are my points?
1) If you can get your exercise in, do. It should be relatively high on your priority list. Because it is a BIG factor in good health.
2) Look ahead. If you are realistic enough to know that you are NOT going walking (for example, after a fast) see if you can get it in (IF you feel good enough) earlier
3) Listen to your body. Get that sleep. (Yes, I know I'm not perfect in this yet, but I am improving a LOT.)
4) And during a shabbas deluge, don't go walking. Getting drenched is NOT great for your health. Some days, RARELY, when you are sick, very overloaded, or all H*ll broke loose… sometimes you just CAN'T get that exercise in. This means knowing when to back down gracefully……
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Meanwhile our plumbing is getting fixed, and in addition the air-conditioner heat is not working. It is cold. I keep drinking tea to stay warm. And the orthopedist can't see me until Wednesday .** GREAT** But tomorrow I expect the storm to be less, and I am eager to get out walking after a day just longing around.