Back at the Fitness Center

I go to the fitness center on a regular basis – when I am healthy, that is. I go Monday through Saturday and take Sundays off. I have a program that I do. But when the asthma hits, I have no choice but to take a break from the fitness center.

It was just a month ago I was feeling so good. I remember getting up one morning, taking a deep breath, and thinking, "Gosh, I haven’t experienced any asthma in over a year. This is a great feeling. Aside from the medicine I take daily to stay this way, this might be what a non-asthmatic feels like."

An asthma-related setback

And then I got COVID. And a month later I am still dealing with the lingering effects. It got bad enough that I am currently on my second bout of steroids. And it doesn’t seem to be helping much, as I can still feel it in my chest – and I continue to cough periodically, despite getting treatment for that too.

So, besides my twice-weekly upper body workouts to maintain my progress, I have had to skip my aerobics. Now, weeks later, I feel like a bit of a winded slob. There's a nagging thought that the added adipose tissue during my time away from the fitness center might be contributing to my sense of shortness of breath.

Returning to the fitness center

Today, I pushed myself to restart my workout program. I took it easy, reducing the weights, but I went through my usual upper body circuit, incorporating some aerobics into the routine. It was challenging, but I got through it.

About halfway through my workout, I thought, "I'm going to finish this, and it feels so good to be here doing this." And another notion crossed my mind: "I bet I'm the only person in this fitness center who is short of breath."

I glanced around, and the place was bustling with fit men and women – almost all, I imagine, who have never dealt with asthma or had to pause or skip workouts due to their health. I could be wrong. They probably see me and think the same, unaware of what is happening inside my body.

And sometimes, I overhear conversations like this: "Look at that lady. She comes to the fitness center every day. And all she does is walk on the treadmill while reading a book. What is the point of that?"


On days like this, I reflect, "We should not judge others, as we do not know what is going on inside their bodies and in their lives. We should be proud of them for being here and doing what they are able to do to get their bodies in shape or keep them that way. If someone is walking on a treadmill reading a book, all the power to them."

Rediscovering the fitness center amid asthma challenges has indeed been a personal triumph, impacting both my physical and emotional well-being.

Reflecting on this journey one month in, I express gratitude to my past self for that decisive step, as the evident positive changes in my well-being today speak volumes. As people with asthma, setbacks may be part of the journey, but getting back on the saddle is a testament to resilience and the pursuit of a healthier self.

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