03 October 2011

The long road back...

Well, I got back on the rower yesterday for the first time in ages and, while I was pleased that I'd done it, it was rather a shock. Oh dear.

I knew I'd lost fitness and I am also well aware that I am still trying to shake off the last of this damned bug (antibiotics round two prescribed on Friday), but wow! After a mere five minutes rowing, and not pushing it hard at that, I was gasping, coughing and shaking and feeling very slightly queasy. My usual (OK, my 'expected') stroke rate has dropped dramatically too, so that it took me well over five and a half minutes for 150 strokes. It also took me quite some time to recover. Not good.

This morning's stint was damned hard too. It felt much the same, and I rowed about the same, rate and time-wise. However, I didn't feel quite so breathless at the end although recovery time was still pretty poor, I wasn't so shaky and didn't feel queasy. Progress?

What's shocked me more is measuring my peak expiratory flow (PEF) rate. Again, I haven't done this for a little while and the result has certainly made me sit up and take notice. My asthma apparently isn't as well under control as I'd thought. My average peak flow (from three readings) was only 370 l/min today! That's really poor considering that it is generally around the 450 l/min mark, and that was the case not all that long ago.

Somewhere in the region of 450 to 460 l/min is about the expected 'normal' value on the charts used to calculate expected PEF for a woman of my age and height, so dropping this far down is quite a surprise... and not a pleasant one. It has convinced me that I need to continue using the steroid inhaler as well as the salbutamol for some time yet.

It's also shown me, quite graphically, that I need to build up my time and stroke rate on the rower gently but steadily, and keep at the walking too. Sure the eating needs to be good and healthy but my priority and focus has now shifted away from pure weight loss. Improving my fitness, particularly lung function, is definitely top dog at the moment.

Making this point more than merely a slight concern is a recent report linking the use of HRT (which, of course, is so relevant to me!) to an increased risk of severe asthma attacks

Having been hospitalised by a severe attack in the past, I do not want to go there again.


Diane Fit to the Finish said...

I think you are wise to take it easy after taking some time off. You will probably be surprised how fast your fitness level comes back.

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