Why do people tell me they are proud of me for going to the gym? Is that something that I should be proud of? Yes, it is true that going to the gym and working out is not always the easiest thing to do, but does that make it a noteworthy accomplishment?
I have Charcot-Marie-Tooth type 1A and wear ankle-foot orthoses. Going to the gym is just something I do. Last summer, I worked with a physical therapist to identify exercises that are safe for me. He helped develop a plan that I could follow and explained how to increase the reps or time. When I started, I could do about 25 minutes on the stationary bike, and now I can do 40 to 45 minutes. Some people have said they are proud of me for working hard. I wonder whether they would say that to an able-bodied person.
I try to get to the gym two or three days a week. When I do not have the energy to go, I try to do chair yoga. I do not have the balance to do yoga standing up; I would definitely fall over if I did not have something to hold on to. Chair yoga serves several purposes: stretching my muscles, practicing breathing techniques, and quieting my mind so I can sleep better.
Why do people feel the need to tell those of us with disabilities or chronic illnesses that they are proud of us? What have I done to make them proud? I get up every morning, shower, get ready, and go to work. Then, I work a full day and come home to do household chores. Is that different from what other people do?
Are some days a struggle? Yes, but I think everyone has those days. Granted, when you live with a disability, you might struggle more days than not. There are days when just getting out of bed is an accomplishment; yet, I’m not really sure anyone needs to be proud of me for that.
Honestly, I do not think going to the gym is something that should inspire admiration. I should exercise and I should eat healthy foods. Some days, I actually manage to do both. Other days, I do one and sort of do the other.
Why do people feel they need to reward the disabled for doing things that are not really reward-worthy? Is it because people think we should not be going to the gym and doing the same things they do? I hope that is not the case. Truthfully, I don’t even enjoy going to the gym; I go because I know it will help me in the long run.
I don’t need praise for doing what anyone else would do.
Note: Charcot-Marie-Tooth News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Charcot-Marie-Tooth News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Charcot-Marie-Tooth.