“Both abundance and lack [of abundance] exist simultaneously in our lives, as parallel realities. It is always our conscious choice which secret garden we will tend." - Sarah Ban Breathnach

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Exercise Question Revisited

I have to admit -- during my relapse, the amount of exercise I engaged in shrunk to nearly nil.  Just a sporadic bit of yoga, that's all.  And, I think I paid the price.

When I reached the peak of pain and deconditioning, I knew it was time to revisit the question of exercise.

Here's my theory:  Managing pain consumes a lot of energy.  If exercise helps eliminate a lot of my pain, then I would then have that energy at my disposal for fun stuff, like showering or making my bed.  Also, it takes a lot more energy for my deconditioned body to do activities than a body in good condition would.  If I improve my strength and endurance, again I will be making my body more energy efficient.  It seems to me that exercise is an important part of my recovery.

Yet exercise is risky and fills my heart with fear and trepidation.  I know what happens when I do too much too fast.  I would have to proceed with caution.

I decided that exercise needed to find a permanent place in my daily routines.  Recognizing that it has a high energy requirement, I would simply have to scale way back on all my other activities in order to fit it into my energy envelope.

So, I added morning stretches/isometric exercises, modified from the book I have, Pain Free.  I also do yoga before my morning rest.  And, I bought some of those negative heel exercise shoes that I wear all day.

I did feel a push back from it when I started, but it didn't cause an outright crash.  I just had to scale way back on my other activities.  I've adjusted now.  And I've tolerated a slight increase in my morning stretches.  My pain has diminished.  I don't feel like I've made a lot of progress in conditioning, but hello!  Patience, child.

I think I'm on the right track.


Sue Jackson said...

I'm always so impressed by your commitment to mild exercise, Shelli! I have good intentions, but somehow daily life always ends up taking up all my energy.

I came back from vacation feeling pretty good and determined to keep up the walking and hiking I was able to do on our trip. I went out and took a walk around my neighborhood the very first morning after we got home...and that was it! Same old story - just taking care of the basics - laundry, cooking, groceries, etc. takes up all my energy.

You've inspired me again! The kids will be away all next week with their grandparents (a whole week to myself!!), and I will once again attempt some easy exercise.


Renee said...

I have a friend who is around my age...and she has CFS and Lyme, but even at her worst she would go outside and walk for a few minutes...even if that was ALL she could do all day. She did not want to get totally deconditioned. She hs recovered better than me who totally am deconditioned and find myself smiling because I can now for the first time in years walk 2.5 minutes around my house or outside and do it consistently. I am very very slowly increasing it but also do not want to crash. I would love to know if you do specialized yoga for CFS....I truly believe this would help with pain, energy, and even my neuropathy. A friend started it in CA and she said she is sleeping through the night for the first time in years.
I think it is great that you are taking the time for yourself to do this....In the long run you are helping your family too :)
You go girl!! but go slowly....

Alison said...

I think you're on the right track too. I've been exercising (like Pilates for the elderly) for four months now and it's helped significantly with my muscle pain. It's helped zero with my energy, and some days after I exercise I can't do anything else, but overall it's been worth it to have lessened the pain.

I think my body is more efficient now. Like after I fold and put away laundry, I am still tired from expending the energy, but my legs and back aren't sore.

Have fun showering and making your bed :)

Jo said...

Oh well done you! It's so hard to get into any exercise at all because of the fear of pain and relapse. But if we don't move we get pain from concrete muscles. I stretch when I can. I try to do a whole body stretch routine at least every other day. I can't do it every day because of payback. The stretching helps the pain, but there's a fine line before it causes more pain. Easy does it! I think you are right, it's all about developing good habits.

Forgetful Girl said...

I'm scared of exercising, but your post is kind of encouraging me to do it. A few months back I started to do one minute of going up and down one stair everyday, and I felt a big difference. Need to find the motivation and energy to do it.