The Secret to Hippocampus Happiness

My inner neuroscience geek and I couldn’t help but be pleased with the exclamatory greeting that welcomed us upon arrival to my most recent naturopath appointment, so naturally, I wanted to bring it home to you!   147  minutes of aerobic goodness per week was a pretty laughable goal back in the day with a busy work schedule and consistent flares.  I’m not at all surprised to learn my hippocampus was dwindling as a result.   Some Lupies experience short-term memory loss as part of their “lupus fog” and fatigue.  I’ve never experienced that (except for a short time during my last flare), but my long-term memory is terrible.  I don’t know if that has anything to do with Lupus, but most often when keepers reminisce and ask, “Elena, do you remember when…” my answer is no.  It saddens me that so many of my memories are not readily accessible to me.  The brain is an incredible organ, capable of mysterious ways of healing and regenerating, so I am hopeful this will not always be the case.  If I can make it happen, potential growth in my memory muscle is a definite bonus for me!

At the moment, my two summer dance classes and running put me over the top for aerobic minutes and with yoga twice a week, I’m the most active I have ever been in my entire life.  Don’t get me wrong, my body and I are still struggling to understand each other in this strange, pain-free state, so my physical adventures are still in the stage of slow and steady discovery.  In yoga class, my muscles and I are never more aware of this!  But, really, for me, it’s not so much about the minutes, it’s about sustaining the regular physical activity, something that I’ve never had the ability or the chance to do until recently.  To be honest, I’m happy with ANY amount of minutes!  My last week of summer dance classes end next week, so my high aerobic minutes will take a hit, but at least for now, I’m making my hippocampus happy and hopefully, all this activity is increasing my white blood cells as well!

In related news, this past Sunday, I completed the 2.6 mile run I committed to in a previous blog post. I surpassed my finishing time goal of 30 minutes by four minutes, and to my surprise, came in 6th in my age category!  The run included families, so most of the women in my age category were slowed down by their children, putting a pretty hilarious spin on my ranking, but it was still a lovely turn of events!  My next running commitment is a 10 km run benefiting the Canadian Diabetes Association in September.  It will be the longest distance yet (eek!), requiring an actual training plan and increased awareness of what my body needs in regards to recovery time and nutrition.  So, it seems I have a bit of research ahead of me, especially in light of the wear and tear Lupus has already caused my joints.  I can, of course, always consult my running guru (a.k.a Dad) for guidance!  Who knows, a new category of posts may be in order to record my “running newbie” high jinks!

5 thoughts on “The Secret to Hippocampus Happiness

  1. Have you experienced any trouble with stiffness and fatigue since you’ve been so physically active? I’m trying to become more physical, but I really pay for it afterward.


  2. Hi, Amber!

    Thanks for your comment! It’s nice to hear from you!

    Yes, stiffness and fatigue can be an issue for me, especially in the beginning. Even now, I am very careful about when I decide to be physically active. When I took my dance classes, I made sure they were on a day I wasn’t working, so I knew I had the entire day to rest and be relaxed beforehand. When I run, I only do it when I feel rested and on days when I don’t have much going on. I usually have a quick nap afterwards, as well. Actually, I had one today after a work out, although it wasn’t a quick one… more like 2 hours!!

    I keep my fitness schedule very loose and flexible – I always have it penciled in on my agenda, so that I always feel like I can erase it and reschedule it if I am feeling too under the weather that day. Once your body gets over the shock of moving more than usual, your fatigue and stiffness will lessen. It took me probably 7 months of regular activity to feel like my body was adjusted. When that happened, I was surprised to find that I was looking forward to getting physical activity into my day. Remember also, that you’re still figuring out what amount of physical activity will work for you right now. This will keep changing (sometimes daily) depending on what’s going on with your body (I am assuming you are a lupie, too?). I still have days when I’m in my pjs all day with zero physical activity.

    Yoga has really helped with the stiffness. I really recommend it, or at least, a strong focus on stretching. Diet is a big factor, as well. The “cleaner” I eat, the more energy I have!

    What kind of physical activity are you doing right now?


    • Thank you for all of the tips! I’m sorry it took me so long to respond- I accidentally stumbled across your response…

      I am a lupie, too, that’s why I’m so happy to hear when you’re doing well with exercise! I’ve been really bad about exercising regularly for the last few months, and I’m at the point where I’m tired of feeling tired and am ready to get back on a regular schedule again (although, I love your idea of penciling in your workout schedule so that you can move things around).

      When I have been getting exercise, it’s been outdoors: hiking, biking & swimming. But I miss yoga…and my abs ;). So I’m taking baby steps so I don’t get discouraged–some yoga tonight, a healthy dinner. And I’ll go from there. I love your blog–keep writing great stuff!


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