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“No, that’s not my thing,” I replied to a college friend who was a self-confessed “gym junkie” when he offered to teach me to do weight training.

Nowadays I regret turning down his offer.

If life was a video game, my friend’s offering would have been the tutorial level, which means I had just skipped an important phase of training – an opportunity to learn the game of life.

But life is very different from video games. Every phase of life offers learning opportunities, and we don’t always know when the important and potentially life-changing lessons will take place.

Lately I’ve been thinking about these dynamics in life, and especially in weight training, because I’ve tried to incorporate more weight training into my exercise regimen. After all, as many people with Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease (CMT) know, fitness is key to managing the disease and its accompanying symptoms.

Although I’ve always known this, I realize that I had underestimated how difficult it can be to maintain a decent fitness level as my symptoms progress faster.

For much of my life, my feelings about fitness have been “it’s not really my thing” or “it’s too embarrassing”. After all, progress rarely happens overnight, and gains are easily lost with a CMT body. Because of this, it is easy to fall into such negative thinking.

However, looking back, I should have realized that fitness, exercise, and self-care aren’t just for specific groups of people. Especially with a disease like CMT, such activities only become more difficult and important with age.

Hence, it is important to learn and develop good habits sooner rather than later. So, in the end, with all the regrets that I didn’t start earlier, I take to heart: It’s never too late to start, and today is still earlier than tomorrow.

My fitness goals are still a long way off, but I feel like I’ve taken a few positive steps in the right direction over the past few weeks. I still feel weirdly under-leveled, but even in video games you can still loop through a few levels later in the game and learn new tricks.

For the future, I try my best to stay open-minded, experience new things and never say too quickly, “No, that’s not really my thing” without trying first. I cannot allow fear or risk aversion to minimize my chances of learning new things and acquiring new skills.

Just seeking solace does not lead to learning opportunities. Often times, the best lessons come from learning to stand up when we fall – sometimes literally.

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Note: Charcot-Marie-Tooth News is solely a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always contact your doctor or other qualified health care provider with questions about any medical condition. Never disregard or hesitate to seek professional medical advice because you have read something on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Charcot-Marie-Tooth News or its parent company BioNews Services and are intended to encourage discussion on Charcot-Marie-Tooth-related issues.