10 Ways Living with Alzheimer’s Disease Is Like Training for a Marathon

Below is a wonderful blog posting from the website The Dementia Queen.  This blog has a tremendous amount of useful information for those who are struggling with the issue of dementia. Please forward this blog posting and website to anyone you may know who is experiencing this fight.

I have been running for most of my adult life.  For all the physical benefits that come with pounding the pavement several hours a week, I find that the ability to push beyond my perceived limits is the most valuable element inherent in distance running.  In order to go the distance, my mental determination and focus need to be at least as durable as my physical strength.  In some cases, more so.

When I talk to my friends living with Alzheimer’s disease, I find myself repeating idioms and axioms prolific in the running world.  I repeat words of encouragement, about digging deep, about never giving up.  I remind myself of a coach, hoping to instill enough motivation to see the person through another challenge, up a big hill, or over another hurdle.  I remind them that this disease will require sustained effort to manage, and will deplete their reserves unless they are routinely replenished.

Some of my favorite running quotes that I sometimes share with my Alzheimer’s friends:

”Ask yourself:  ’Can I give more?’.  The answer is usually: ‘Yes’.”  – Paul Tergat, a professional marathoner from Kenya

“I had as many doubts as anyone else.  Standing on the starting line, we’re all cowards.”    -Alberto Salazar, three-time winner of the NYC marathon

“Mental will is a muscle that needs exercise, just like the muscles of the body.”
-Lynn Jennings

One caveat worth mentioning: For the 10 similarities listed below, there are thousands of ways that distance running and the Alzheimer’s journey differ- the most glaringly obvious being that marathon training is a choice.

No one ever chooses Alzheimer’s.

Here are 10 ways that the Alzheimer’s battle resembles marathon training: Click here to read the rest of the blog.

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