Like a lot of people I’ve seen writing about this, I wasn’t diagnosed until I was at University, after a friend told me of her symptoms and I found myself saying “That’s me!” after every one. It was a massive relief finally understanding why throughout my education I’ve struggled with basics such as time management, memory, and the biggie for me: physical activity.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been slow. At everything. At primary school I remember being laughed at for always being the last person to even finish eating my lunch, and PE lessons were hell. The latter is something that remained the whole way through school, and I found myself useless at everything – running, riding a bike (impossible!), and activities that require a lot of co-ordination like gymnastics. During a high-jump lesson once, a teacher even let me go and get changed and read a book instead as I was doing so badly!
Since going to University, I’d say I have pretty much completely avoiding doing any real exercise apart from walking everywhere – which I always figured served me well enough. But for the past month now, I’ve been working at my new job at a leisure company and have been bitten by the exercise bug. Like most people, I’d like to be healthier than I am and wouldn’t mind losing a few pounds, so I decided to make the most of my free gym membership and signed up for a spin class.
I thought I’d be fine with spin – it’s a bike that doesn’t go anywhere, so I don’t have to worry about balance, right? So wrong! After spending the whole hour with my bum planted firmly on the saddle while everyone was standing up on the pedals really going for it, I felt exhausted but mainly so embarrassed. It was such a weird feeling – I was proud of myself for giving it a go, but at the same time it brought back so many memories of standing out in sports classes for not being able to do what everyone else could do. It got to me so badly that I burst out crying and couldn’t stop the whole way home!
Since then, I haven’t been back to spin, but I have become more determined to stay active. I’ve started using gym equipment and have a programme written for me, but it’s still not the easiest thing in the world. My instructor has given me the goal to be able to use the treadclimber without holding onto anything, and I think this might take a while but is doable.
I’d say it’s a good environment for me to be working in as everyone is so passionate about fitness and exercise, and I can totally see the benefits and would love to do lots – but whenever I mention that I have dyspraxia no one really knows why that should stop me, and I suppose it sounds like I’m making an excuse.
Small goals seem to be the way to go for me – and making the most of the facilities available to me. I’m considering starting a swimming challenge if I can drag myself out of bed early enough to get some lengths in before work!
If anyone reading this is dyspraxic, I’d be really interested to know what exercises you find work for you? Do you set yourself small goals or are you going for something big?