The woods in any season, in any weather, is the most comforting and peaceful place for me. I am grateful to be able to get back to hiking and riding in the great outdoors. Of course, with dermatomyositis (DM) I am always cautious; listening to my body’s feedback and discerning if that feedback is a red flag or something that can be pushed through. It can be scary – if I don’t read those signals correctly, I could get stuck out in the woods!
I recently went on a 4-mile hike with an intense climb going in (elevation gains of 400+ feet) and coming out! I needed enough energy to make the round trip and I had to interpret and rely on my body’s signals.
Getting my lungs to hit and maintain VO2max for at least 15 minutes was a big goal of this hike. It’s hard for those of us with lung issues to give our breathing muscles (diaphragm, intercostal, etc.) a challenging workout because the only way to get our lungs to max out is through some pretty strenuous muscle work. For this particular trip, I thought that getting some elevation gains in a short time would be the best way to pursue that goal.
I don’t know how I was able to do that hike! I have read about so many other people who struggle with lung involvement and it sounded like I shouldn’t be able to complete such a strenuous hike! I can proudly report that I made it!
I wanted to share some hope with all of you. Maybe, as long as I keep trusting my body’s signals, I will be able to continue offering my body these physical challenges. Maybe it will keep replying with “yes!” I am pretty sure that my mind and my body are both happier out in the woods.