Fibromyalgia Is My Thing #4
Is exercise vital to maintaining Fibromyalgia? Now, don’t shoot the messenger. Hear me out.
The answer is a qualified “yes.” Or I should have perhaps said “conditional yes;” because each Fibromite has their own limits and goals.
We are indeed made different than the rest of the population as far as our tolerance levels and abilities are concerned.
For all of the doctors who say we must have exercise as often as possible and they mean aerobic, elliptical or walking they are 1/3rd right. But basically they are wrong, because they would immediately sign us up for a local aerobic class and put us on an elliptical machine..
The first and only exercise that a Fibromyalgia patient should do once they receive their diagnosis is walking; and even that, at your own pace. If you feel good, walk, then hurt the next day, take a day off. Walk every other day. If you are feeling any discomfort while you walk, DO NOT walk through the pain. It will be of no benefit to you. As a matter of fact, it will set you back.
I started walking two mailboxes up (two houses) and back. Now I can do a whole block. I continued this until it was no effort, then I increased to three mail boxes, etc.
Once I reached that goal (and it took time) I was ready to add to my “exercise” routine. In the meantime I did not care if the neighbors thought I was crazy or eccentric.
I knew and/or felt my limitations and worked within them. Once I reached that goal of one block of walking at my own pace, I enrolled in the local YMCA and started therapy in the warm water pool.
Getting into cold water at a pool is asking for a disaster to happen. Every one responds differently. Me, I cramp up so badly that it takes help to get me out of the pool. Once my muscles get chilled, they stay that way for a very long time.
In the warm water, I come and go on my own. So that is what I recommend for others; warm water and expecting to go slower than those who do not have Fibromyalgia.
In my research and humble opinion, a Fibromite should never exercise out of water, except for walking. The water not only massages while you work out, it also prevents that horrible feeling of “I got run over by yet another truck!”
Walking in the water is good. A very good warm up to whatever exercises you plan for that day.
So I went to the Y and signed up for a class. Huge mistake; I joined a water aerobic class. I had forgotten how competitive I can be. When I started getting tired - I pushed on forward and finished the class. I did this for three classes (every other day) and soon realized that I had to go at my own pace.
I am not yet up to the 40 minutes of aerobics in the water as a class member. However, I am able to get into the water. Stretch, float, move about and then do the Physical Therapy exercises I was shown at home. In water those exercises really help me. Out of water they set me back.
Stretching is okay for you as long as you do not stretch to the point of pain. (For those without Fibromyalgia, stretching to the point of some pain is good as it is loosening the muscle) For us - the pain stops all progress and sometimes (depending on what kind of pain, that is how severe) sets us way back in our goal.
To encourage you, I have met some Fibromites at the pool that have been exercising for a long time and they are not only able to do the aerobics class but once again enjoy swimming. It took them time. (I keep reminding myself of this as I impatiently go slower than I would like.)
Some day, I, too, will be like them. I will be consistent and dogmatic about my water exercises. I will be strong again and I will, along the way, be happy.
Due to a heart problem I have more or less been home bound for over a year and my muscles are pretty much in atrophy. I know if I do not take the time and energy to strengthen them I will lose my mobility. I am not willing to let go of that.
I am sharing my story with you all so you can see and feel the “hope” there is for all of us. Do not feel sorry for me. I do not feel sorry for myself. There is a reason for all things and that means there is a good reason I have fibromyalgia.
I believe it is because I have learned how to be in charge of it instead of allowing it to be in charge of me. This knowledge has come to me over a long period of time (to the tune of 30 years or so). If my sharing makes your life a bit easier and happier then I am happy, too.
On days that I am not up to doing anything, I refuse to feel sorry for myself. What does that do? Nothing! I go to the computer and write or I read a book or I just go sit on the porch and relax (weather permitting). Usually by the next day I am feeling a bit more active. I pace myself. Every one needs to learn to pace themselves, whether they have Fibromyalgia or not.
You know the saying “She marches to the tune of a different drummer.”? I believe each human on this earth marches to the tune of their individual drummer. It is simply not always easy to tell.
Hey, marching sounds good - drum on!