Staying positive with MS


This is a very crucial part of my well-being.

On January 2nd, 2014, I watched Conan O’Brian interview with George Tekai. Conan asked George Tekai how he stayed so fit. George Tekai said he does 100 pushups every morning. I realized at that moment that if a 76 year old man could do this, I had no excuse. I decided this was what I was going to do.

I decided I was going to do pushups every day, 100 of them. Pushups have never come easily for me, even at my best. Initially I could only do five or ten at a time. I set some rules for myself. It didn’t matter how many sets it took. I just had to work in 100 of them.

I told nobody what I was doing. I worked them in throughout the day, and the next, and the next. I decided I’d try it for a week. After two weeks of doing this, it started to come easier, and I was completing them in fewer sets. Then I decided to shoot for a month. Then another.

After several months, I was doing them in two sets. I would do my first set of fifty, and then finish with a second set. Even when I felt like I could keep going, I deliberately quit at 100. I was getting to where I could do my first set of 75.

By the end of the year I’d missed a few days, but I had some days when I could do all 100 of them in one set. I was faster, and my form was better. I was knocking out all 100 of them consistently in two sets in less than five minutes. I saw visible improvements in my body, and felt significantly better. Not only did I have the physical exercise, but it did wonders for my psyche.

In August, I ran into several things and had talks with a few people that got me to thinking about my lower body as well. One of the great things about the pushups is that I could do them any time, anywhere. I didn’t pay for a gym membership. I didn’t have to schedule time. If only there was a way I could do the same thing for my legs.

Enter squats.

They don’t have a sexy name, and they aren’t glamorous, but I started working them in. Wow! One of the things that has changed a lot for me with MS is my walking gate, and not in a good way. Initially it was rough getting started, but the squats have been a major key in improving my walking abilities. In short, I had been falling down several times a day on average, but with the exercise and a couple other things (that I will cover in later sections), that happens rarely, and always includes external circumstances that would have made me fall when I was a fully able-bodied person.

So where am I now? This year, in 2015, I have set myself some goals. I am not doing pushups every day. I want to give my body a chance to rebuild between workouts. This is my current schedule:

* Monday: 50 pushups, 1 set
* Tuesday: 50 squats, 1 set
* Wednesday: 50 pushups, 1 set
* Thursday: 50 squats, 1 set
* Friday: 50 pushups, 1 set
* Saturday: 50 squats, 1 set
* Sunday: Rest

To help me not miss any, I have set up a reminder on my phone that has the details for what to do that day. So far, it is going very well!