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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

My Summertime Wheeze:
Doing Pilates with Asthma


"Childhood brought Joseph Pilates the experience that shaped his masterpiece method of exercise, the experience of unhealthiness. Born near Dusseldorf, Germany in 1880, Joseph Pilates suffered from asthma, rickets and rheumatic fever as a child. The troubles of being a weak, defenseless boy in a rough world, inspired Pilates on his lifelong pursuit for health and strength.

One of the reasons I chose Pilates was that I've suffered from bad asthma since infancy and have developed other chronic illnesses.

Summer, especially late summer, is horrible for my asthma and allergies. August is a month I dread. It's just murder on my breathing and I end up congested straight through September, sometimes October. I'm prone to sinusitis and, consequently, acute bronchitis. Augusts are also when I tend to be hit with nosebleeds (which got so bad one year, I had to have my nasal blood vessels cauterized...not fun).

It's also draining. Having active allergies assaulting one's immune system saps energy in a big way.

Well, August seems to have come early. My "Summertime Wheeze" period has arrived.

Working out was really, really difficult Monday. Liza, my trainer at The Pilates Room, had to accomodate the fact that I simply had a hard time breathing (with or without exertion). She was really great about it, but I felt disappointed that I couldn't put in the effort I'd put in previously. It was so much harder to do ANYTHING, cause I just wasn't getting oxygen like I'd do without the wheeziness.

Today, I made sure to stay away from any triggers (can't do anything about the air outside, but I can control other things in my house and diet), drank two cups of coffee to get the that oomph of airways dilation, took all my allergy and asthma meds (Singulair, Zyrtec, Flovent, Serevent, a nasal wash with saline, and my albuterol inhaler right before class). I did some prayer and then some focusing meditation to think about air going in and out easily, easily, fully.

I was still experiencing a hitch in some inhalations and exhalations, but I was game. I'd do the best I could.

I did better than Monday, felt more in control of air and body. Not perfect; better. Liza was terrific with making adjustments as needed to ensure I was taking in air. For example, instead of the standard five in/five out breathing for the Hundred, she had me do 3 in/3 out, which was a massive help. Massive.

Getting through summer will be tough, but I like what Pilates is doing for my body, and I've got the will to continue, even if my illnesses pose difficulties. I trust my trainer to be watchful and make adjustments as needed.

It's nice to trust someone with your training that way. I feel lucky.

Even with summer bashing my hyperreactive immune system. Even with my worst allergy month ahead.

Screw you, August!



Anonymous said...

Good job! Many people would have already quit and stayed home and sat on the couch if they couldn't breath. Good job for keep going.

Once Upon A Dieter said...

Thanks. I was tempted to cancel, just a wee bit. But I snapped out of it and sucked i tup. : )

It's a NSV, yes?

The P