I’m on the Hunt for a New Pastime to Keep Me Active

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by Young Lee |

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When a batter hits a baseball in just the right way, the impact makes a sound that’s pretty darn satisfying. It’s the distinctive “crack” that many folks think of when they think about their favorite baseball highlights. It’s the sound associated with evenings in packed stadiums, cold beer, and decent hot dogs.

And it was that sound, or at least something similar, that I heard coming from the batting cage next to me — where a kid about half my age stood casually hitting ball after ball after ball. 

I, on the other hand, was having a much more difficult time. 

This wasn’t particularly surprising. I hadn’t swung a bat since playing T-ball as a young child. And if I had to guess, the teenager to the right of me probably had more experience with sports than I did. So, there was no shame. Still, I couldn’t help but find humor in the skill gap between the kid and me, my sad attempts at swings, and the cute “dings” that were my contribution to the sounds of the batting cages.

I was there, swinging my bat as hard as I could, over and over again, all part of my effort to find a new activity I could throw myself into to get my body moving and keep up my strength, because as many folks within the Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) community say, “Movement is medicine.”

It’s an effort that began after I attended a Zoom meeting hosted by the Charcot-Marie-Tooth Association about fun and creative ways to stay active. 

I sat in the meeting, fascinated by stories of other CMTers participating in sports and interests, some of which I had never even heard of. But I couldn’t contribute much except to say that once upon a time, I used to play badminton with “aunties” and “uncles” at a nearby Chinese church every week, something that still can’t resume due to the ongoing pandemic.

Sure, I had a gym routine that recently came back from hiatus, but I still had an itch that weights and stationary bikes couldn’t scratch. I felt grounded due to factors outside my control.

But of course, that’s not exactly true.

I have indeed found it easy, especially in my life after college, to remain stuck in old habits, old ruts, to rely too heavily on tried and true pastimes. However, there’s no rule that says we can’t learn and participate in new activities or pick up new hobbies later in life — things that may help keep us active for longer.

So, I’ve been trying to be intentional in my search for new things to help get my body moving — fun things to keep exercise interesting. I still try to make regular trips to the gym, now that some restrictions have been loosened. However, over the past few weeks, I also deliberately tried a few things outside my comfort zone: a dance class, a Zumba class, and a trip to my local batting cages.

It’s important to try new activities. It keeps things interesting. Sure, it can be daunting and scary to feel like a beginner again; however, it’s important for those of us with CMT to stay as active as we can, because our CMT bodies are prone to atrophy. And we shouldn’t capitulate to a disease that often tries to bring us down and keep us inactive.

I don’t yet know if dance classes, Zumba, or batting cages will end up being my new hobbies, but the search is fun in its own way, too.

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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, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Charcot-Marie-Tooth.