Exer – what??? Life Before and After RSN’s Exercise Program

By Cherly Moorman

“Eight, nine, ten… two more! Straighten that back, Ms. Cheryl!” These are the words of encouragement I hear Mondays through Thursdays each week through my computer speakers. In April of 2020, or just about the time the world shut down, I made a great discovery. And, day by day, it is changing me and improving my health.

Having fallen into a routine of baking and eating to fill my time and quiet my COVID-worried mind, I gained many pounds too quickly. I needed a new outlet. In scrolling through the programs offered by the Renal Support Network (RSN), I was intrigued by the 30-minute Zoom fitness classes with personal trainer Edina Tanacs. I signed up for the virtual exercise class and actually showed up for the first one! I have been a regular exercise ‘Zoomer’ ever since!

Cheryl (left) and her kidney donor

In 2018, after my second kidney transplant, I was finding it difficult to manage my weight. Because of my gratitude for my gift of life, I wanted to maintain my health by living a healthy lifestyle. I am blessed with normal kidney function for the second time because of my living kidney donor. She is a loving friend and a personal trainer. At the time of my transplant, I vowed to live ‘like she was watching.’ In my mind, this meant eating healthy and exercising. Unfortunately, my good intentions left me feeling nothing but guilt because I wasn’t taking action to keep my promise. I tried community exercise classes but lacking motivation, I didn’t attend consistently. Sugar and carbs had a hold on me, especially at night. I felt bad about what I was putting into my body. I felt bad about my lack of exercise too, but I had no hope for change. The healthy lifestyle I needed just wasn’t in me.

In 2018, after my second kidney transplant, I was finding it difficult to manage my weight. Because of my gratitude for my gift of life, I wanted to maintain my health by living a healthy lifestyle. I am blessed with normal kidney function for the second time because of my living kidney donor. She is a loving friend and a personal trainer. At the time of my transplant, I vowed to live “like she was watching.”

In my mind, this meant eating healthy and exercising. Unfortunately, my good intentions left me feeling nothing but guilt because I wasn’t taking action to keep my promise. I tried community exercise classes but lacking motivation. I didn’t attend consistently.

Sugar and carbs had a hold on me, especially at night. I felt bad about what I was putting into my body. I felt bad about my lack of exercise too, but I had no hope for change. The healthy lifestyle I needed just wasn’t in me.

But then, everything changed with my first RSN exercise class. I found others with kidney disease who wanted to add fitness to their daily routines. I was surprised to find participants from so many states across various time zones. We quickly found camaraderie and an unspoken knowing of shared experiences.

Edina, the instructor (or “The Terminator” as we like to call her), makes the classes challenging yet doable for those of us just getting back into fitness. Her goal is to keep us coming back. She knows we are not going to show up again if we find the classes too hard or too strenuous.

I’ve discovered exercise classes can work when you attend them! I remember the first chair plank I tried under Edina’s watchful eye, supervising me for correct form and safety. I rediscovered abdominal muscles I didn’t know were still a part of me! Today I have willingly started a 30-day “plank challenge,” holding planks for longer than I ever have!

I give my kidney donor progress updates and it feels good knowing I am living as though she is watching. I feel proud I am now making healthy choices for my body, my kidney health, and my longevity.

Looking good, Cheryl!

I credit the RSN exercise program with helping me. It has made a tremendous difference in my life. Edina helps me learn how to do exercises correctly and work safely with light weights. She honors her participants, helping each one to progress at their own rate. Because of her knowledge, along with her care and concern, I’ve made great strides. She motivates me to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

To date, I have lost 25 pounds, and I now do some type of exercise daily. I feel stronger, and I have much better balance. I experience less back pain and I walk with faster, lighter, happier steps. I’ve made connections with others through the Zoom class too, and we learn from each other in the spirit of fellowship.

It’s great to have consistency in exercising. And most importantly, I know I’m missed when I don’t show up. A little connection goes a long way! I know I will continue to participate in the RSN exercise program.  Want to join me? Hope to see you soon!

 

RSN’s fitness classes are offered at no charge to people who have kidney disease, are on dialysis or have a kidney transplant. That’s right, it’s free, but registration is required in order to protect our members privacy.  You can click here to sign up

Cheryl Moormann is a retired Kindergarten teacher and two time living kidney transplant recipient. Due to progressive kidney function loss associated with Glomerulonephritis, her brother donated his kidney to her in 1997. She once again encountered ESRD in 2018. Her best friend was a near perfect match for her and became her second living donor. Cheryl is gratefully living a healthy, active life with her husband, daughter and dog, Jordy, in Leawood, Kansas. 

 

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