Walk the Dinosaur

Today is May the 4th, and it’s an easy excuse to sit in front of the TV and veg out in front of a back to back Star Wars marathon. (I know it’s not just me that thought that!)

But that’s not a good idea if you have AS. Remember, your body is building more spine to replace the bits that your immune system has been attacking (you know, because it was bored, confused, or it just decided to throw a hissy fit).

Sitting down and relaxing is nice, we all like to do it. But it’s not good for you. When you sit your posture changes, and your body builds the spine in a shape that fits that. This is one of the causes of kyphosis. I did this regularly before my diagnosis and – if I’m completely honest – I still do now.

I hear you, honestly I do. And I’ve said exactly the same things myself. I STILL say exactly the same things. And even though I know it’s bad I still will.  Let’s see if I can get some heads nodding:

  • I’m not feeling up to it
  • It hurts getting up
  • I’ve got a pain in my hip
  • I’ll just have half an hour to prepare myself
  • I’m waiting for my tablets to kick in

Fellow Ankylosaurs – I know exactly where you’re coming from. And let me tell you, it’s not just you. Nor is it just the two of us.  We all feel like this at some point, some people every day, some people when they’re having a flare. Just because you can do everything one day and nothing the next it doesn’t mean that you’re making it up or imagining it. Your immune system is stupid. (I don’t know if you’re aware but cells don’t have brains…)

But the key thing that you can (and must) do is to keep moving. Whether it’s going to the kitchen to make a brew, going for a walk around town with strategically planned tea and coffee (or pub) stops, walking the dog, or running a marathon. Keep moving.  Hopefully you’ve been to see a physiotherapist (if not speak to your Rheumatologist or GP), if you’re lucky you’ve had hydrotherapy.

Follow their advice, do your exercises and keep moving.  It’s just 5 minutes a day. I can’t do them first thing in the morning because of the stiffness and I’m embarrassed doing them in front of people so I usually wait until my partner has nipped out for a few minutes and then I do them.  But May is Walk Your AS Off month. All this month people with AS all over the world make a conscious effort to move, exercise and help their condition. We log the number of steps we take each day and add them all together. Last year we walked for enough to get to the moon and halfway home. (It’s no wonder I was out of breath, but in space no-one can hear you whinge.)

Now, I’m not asking for money. The whole point of this blog is about raising awareness and explaining how AS has affected me. But if you’re feeling generous and want to help us I’m part of a team called the Orange Apples and we’re raising money for NASS (the National Ankylosing Spondylitis Society), a UK charity that is dedicated not only to helping people with AS, but also educate medical professionals to recognise the signs.

So, if you have some cash spare (and I know that won’t be everyone, there’s a lot of great causes out there at the moment, Nepal for example.) then you can donate by going to the Orange Apples Justgiving page or by texting NASS53 £1 to 70070.

But if it’s a choice between giving money and moving, get off your backside instead!

And just to prove that I’m practicing what I preach, Cassie and I went for a walk on the moor today and racked up 4,500 extra steps! Pics or it didn’t happen you say? Here you go!

Ethan and Cassie walking Ethan and Cassie walking Ethan and Cassie walking

And if you want to know what I was listening to as I walked around the moor, that would be Professor Elemental, Chap Hop is great music for walking to!

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