I’ve been recovering from tendonitis for 3 weeks now, and whilst the end is in sight, I’m not there yet.
During this period I’ve had plenty of time to mull over why coming back to running after years away is such big deal for me.
I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s about more than just running. It’s about restoring my health, the benefits of exercise, and feeling good about myself.
I know the importance of being physically fit, and the science behind how it helps our wellbeing and longevity. Most importantly I’ve led an active lifestyle before and I know how great it feels.
But all through my late 20s and 30s I let myself slip into inactivity and weight gain.
Due to long term knee injuries I struggled to find a form of physical activity I enjoyed and my diet got progressively worse as I became more and more sedentary.
By 2018 it got so bad I had developed high blood pressure, was put on medication and was only a couple of pounds away from being considered obese on the BMI scale.
Diagnosed with this self- induced lifestyle disease I was now statistically on the path to chronic disease and an early death. High blood pressure results in;
Increased risk of heart failure
Increased risk of stroke
Increased risk of kidney disease
Increased risk of vision loss
Correlation with type 2 diabetes
I was also setting a terrible example for my kids, who I want to grow up to be fit, healthy and love exercise.
The high blood pressure diagnosis was my wake-up call. The moment I decided things had to change.
I want to be able to keep up with my boys as they grow up, play sport with them, run around at the beach and go hiking in the mountains together. I want to be able to lead an active life for as long as possible, feeling good about myself and being able to do whatever I want.
Obviously you can’t control all the circumstances of life, but I’m determined to make the most of what I can influence to ensure I enjoy every moment.
This includes diet and exercise.
The good news is that I’ve taken action and reversed the high blood pressure and lost a stone and a half in weight by transitioning towards a plant-based diet over the past 12 months or so. I’m proud of that achievement and thankful that my family has supported me in it.
But it’s not enough.
I’m out of shape.
I’m still more than 3 stone overweight.
I’m still at increased risk of chronic disease.
I realise I will need to do more than just running to undo the damage I’ve caused to my body, but I think it’s a great place to start and a gateway to significant change in other areas of my life.
Based on my doctor’s advice and how I’m feeling, I’d guess I’m about a week away from lacing up my trainers again. By thinking about everything I have to gain from running I’ve kept my motivation up through this injury.
I intend to continue focusing on the positives to keep it that way!