A Healthier U

My Story: Why you need to make exercise and your health a priority

By Charity Wayman, B.S. Health Education and Promotion

At age 17, I was completely bedridden. I had recently been diagnosed with Lyme disease and a heart syndrome, and I was no longer able to go to school. I was always active and played sports growing up, so to struggle to even sit up in bed felt suffocating.

But after a while, I got used to lying in bed. And pretty soon, I couldn’t find the courage not to. I think getting used to being sedentary happens to a lot of people in different ways. They are active when they are young, but then they grow up and they tell themselves that they are too busy, or that their joints are bad, or they don’t need to lose weight so there is no point in exercising. But there is.

We all have excuses, and many times, they are completely valid. For me, I was scared. Walking up a flight of stairs or doing a few pushups spiked my heart rate up to the 180s and put me at risk for passing out. Doing anything more than that caused my heart rate to keep escalating and give me chest pain. I was right to be scared. But that doesn’t mean that I had to let my excuses have the control.

Fast forward almost five years, and I am a fitness instructor at PEAK Health and Fitness. How did I get there? By having the courage to look past my excuses and my fear and make a goal to do whatever I could to become healthier. Over the past five years, I have worked hard to gain strength and win back my health. However, even last year, I was doing really well when the Lyme disease came back and my heart worsened. I had to quit my job and go back to doing treatments and lying in bed. I felt like I had to start all over, and that’s okay. I never lost sight of my goal to work towards being healthy through exercise. I have fallen and stumbled, but I have never given up. And neither should you. I am constantly working to be healthier and stronger than I currently am, no matter where that is.

Start where you are, make a goal to be more active, and stick to it. I started by only doing small walks, and maybe that is where you need to start too. But don’t let your excuses win. Make health a priority because, trust me, it is worth it.

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