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Epilepsy Blog Relay™: Balancing Fitness Goals with Epilepsy

?This post is part of the Epilepsy Blog Relay™ that will run from June 1 through June 30. Follow along and add comments to posts that inspire you!

I love it when people say, just find the right balance. It sounds so simple. But, is it really? The most common “balance” struggle we all probably hear about is finding a work-life balance. For me, though, everything has always been about finding a balance between life and epilepsy. I always find myself slightly adjusting what I’m doing to ensure that I do not have a dreaded seizure…whether it’s going to bed early because I can feel myself getting overtired or making sure I am conscious of my stress levels and being sure to take my medicine on time. There’s always a time where I am “finding a balance.”

Balancing Fitness Goals

So, how do I balance my active lifestyle with epilepsy? How do I train for a half marathon or meet my current fitness goals with epilepsy? First of all, I’ve had epilepsy for nearly twenty years… so, a lot of practice for starters. I now also know exactly what will trigger a seizure. That said, though, there are a couple rules of thumb that I always keep in the back of my mind:

 

1) Have a plan. Whether your plan is to meet up with a friend or get moving as soon as you finish your work day, stick to it. My body is now used to waking up on Tuesday and Thursday mornings at 5:30. I know that’s “the plan” and it makes it much easier to stick to it. Plus, I can adjust my schedule as needed to accommodate it.

 

2) Get enough sleep. I REALLY like to work out at 6 a.m. Morning workouts help me start my day off on the right foot. It wakes me up (once I get there), and it just plain and simple makes me feel good. But, on the two days a week I wake up at 5:30 a.m. I am conscious of what time I go to bed. I make sure that I do not stay up past a certain time, because that could be harmful to my body. So, make a conscious effort to get enough sleep.

 

3) Listen to your body. This is kind of a cliché statement, but it’s an important one. Usually you know when your body is telling you to slow down, so thoughtfully listen next time. You might be pleasantly surprised.

 

4) Mix it up. If you are training for a specific race, this might be a hard one. In my last post about the Houston Half Marathon, I was obviously committed to running. I needed to be able to make it 13.1 miles, but I find that I do better (and so does my body) when I mix up my routine. Sometimes I go to the gym, sometimes I just head outside and walk my dogs. Either way, you are being active, and that is all that matters.

 

5) Celebrate successes and don’t let epilepsy bring you down! It’s not easy to meet fitness goals when you need a few more hours of sleep than the rest of the world or when you never know when your next seizure might happen. Celebrate little successes just as much as the big successes, because yes, it is a big deal when you meet any goal!


NEXT UP: Be sure to check out the next post tomorrow on https://livingwellwithepilepsy.com for more on Epilepsy Awareness. For the full schedule of bloggers visit livingwellwithepilepsy.com. And don’t miss your chance to connect with bloggers on the #LivingWellChat on June 30 at 7PM ET.

Abby Gustus-Alford
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Contributing Writer

Abby Gustus Alford was diagnosed with epilepsy at the age of 12 after multiple grand mal seizures over six-mos. She has a BA from Purdue and her Master’s from Northwestern.

  1. David
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    Great advice. My son is extremely active, so we’re always looking for ways to make sure we’re allowing him to explore and run and play while also being mindful of what contributes to more seizures…tiredness being a huge factor. We’re also trying to work on a vocabulary for him to be able to communicate what his body is feeling and to help him listen to it.