Speaking of working out and bettering our health with exercise, I feel it is my duty to reiterate constantly just how hard it is to do by giving an example from my own exercise world here.
I don't want anyone walking away from the keyboard rolling their eyes with the thought that I am just another health nut trying to do my part for society by claiming everything can be fixed with a little bit of exercise, grape leaves, and vitamin B Complex and that the experience is all wine and yellow roses.
Sure, I like to put a positive spin on everything and keep my blog and my advice upbeat. But I also want to be realistic.
Exercising with Fibro is really, really hard. I will say this until I am blue in the face and digging my grave. I don't like to say it because it deters people from trying but at the same time, I have to make it known so that everyone who tries to exercise and has to throw in the towel at times, knows that their response is NORMAL.
Every few months I stop exercising, and I start the decline in my health again. I have to go back and read my journals where I felt great and had 24 days 98% pain-free in a month to remind myself why-oh-why I exercised in the first place.
So why is it so hard to do something so simple as walk a half-mile a day or do 25 jumping jacks?
Because Fibromyalgia tells us it hurts. Fibro gives us more symptoms the MOMENT we try and fight it back. Our brain makes something hurt and hurt bad and our depression saps our ambition and spiritual happiness.
It is no surprise then, that less than 10% of Fibro Mates exercise daily. Why should we bring on the pain? Well, I'll tell ya.
I know I talk a lot about vitamins and exercise and eating healthy and the truth is, when I do all of those things, I feel GREAT!
The other half of that truth is...I fail a lot. I get busy with my career and eat a cheeseburger a few times a week. I wake up feeling groggy and miss a walk. My fibro fog makes me forget I was supposed to walk or maybe it fools me into forgetting for so long I think I already walked the dog. ("Didn't I just put that leash there?") And speaking of Fibro Fog... I can't tell you how many times I forget to take my vitamins. "Set an alarm," they say. Well, in theory, that works. But how about the times I hear the alarm...shut it off and then POOF...I instantly forget all about it. From one nanosecond to the other...it is gone. Nothing makes me more annoyed than when people tell me to set alarms like that is a guarantee.
"How is it possible you forget that quickly?" "Then don't shut it off until the pills are in your hand." (That would mean I would have to remember to walk over to the pill counter and put them in my hand instead of caving to instinct and shutting the alarm off first.)
My point is that none of us are perfect. With Fibromyalgia, we have to do our best and not beat ourselves up when we fail.
We have to be honest with ourselves too. Am I using Fibro Fog as an excuse to slack? Is there anything more I can do to help keep track of my activities. Remember: Whatever you implement has to be done BY YOU. Only you know what will be effective. No one else.
"Every time I exercise it ends in pain. Why would I want to do that to myself."
I received a letter a few months ago that said just that. The sentence is very telling. It has the frustration she feels in it, the excuses we all use, and fear.
Fear of the unknown.
Why exercise? Because it can make us feel better even while causing us pain. What can you expect? Only the unexpected.
Every ache and pain I get because of my daily walks/exercises...changes.
For example: From yesterday to today I've gone for four dog walks around my suburb.
Yesterday Walk #1. The top of my right foot hurt and continued to do so for hours. It pulled an encore tonight.
Yesterday Walk #2. My right calf felt like it was going to have one of those OH MY GOODNESS muscle cramps only a few houses down from mine. Last thing I wanted to do was roll around in one of my neighbors front lawns while I held my leg and moaned pitifully, but too stubborn to give in and turn around... I made it all the way.
Today Walk #1: My left hip ached midway through my walk and towards the end my right shoulder.
Today Walk #2: My right hand, where I hold the leash, throbbed so bad I couldn't type for a while and my head started to pound.
Instead of allowing those aches and pains to get to me...I truck through them. It is no easy feat considering the pain isn't just a small ping...its a massive owwie, but as a Fibro Mate.. I *have* to push through it all...or I'll never do any of it.
Expect to be hurt, expect to give up, expect to have slip-up days but always.. ALWAYS remember to get back up and start all over again. You'll feel better from exercising eventually, sure. But the best benefit is knowing that you're fighting and, My Friends, that is what being a human is all about. Fighting for ourselves!
All my best,