Tag Archives: walking

Moving…

26 Apr 16
Megan
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4 comments

Moving…

Making choices, clearing room

Time to think, to stretch, to value, to love

Being present, living life

Over the last few months I’ve focused on building up my exercise levels to a point that I can maintain a consistent exercise regime including stretches, a relatively consistent step count, and regular bike rides on my electric bike. Moving my body with the aim of reducing pain levels and increasing energy.

I’ve also helped several friends and family members to move house. It’s been interesting to see the different ways people pack, how they prioritise what to keep, add or give away, and who they have to help them move. I am glad that although I physically couldn’t help much with any of the moves, I was there to support my friends and family.

My brain has been less foggy lately as well. Yes, I still have days that I’m crashed and everything is a struggle but in general I’ve had a clearer head. This has let me move forward on my projects, progress my study, and consider taking on new opportunities that fit my values and allow me to grow.

Everyone in life is moving in one way or another. In most cases though we’re all moving in many different ways all at once.

Physically, mentally and emotionally we’re always moving.

In what ways are you moving at the moment?

 


Exercising with Chronic Illness

10 Jul 14
Toni Dawn
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[dropcap color=”orange” background=”green” size=”small]E[/dropcap]ditor’s Note:  Just a small note that for the rest of July at least posts here will be a bit sporadic as I overcome some health issues and obtain a better balance in life. I will be aiming to do at least one post a week.  In the mean time, here’s another guest post from Toni Dawn focused on exercising with chronic illness

Do you have a chronic illness and think exercise is a waste of what little energy you have left? Or, do you try to exercise, but end up exhausted and in pain for several days afterward? Without a doubt, exercise is a difficult endeavor for those with chronic illness. However, neglecting exercise may worsen your condition, decrease your ability to function, and lead to other chronic diseases. On the other hand, trying to do too much, too soon will likely make you crash. That’s not good, either. If you want to live the best life possible, you have to find the right balance of movement and rest.

Why You Should Exercise

Exercise has many benefits. We all know that moderate to high intensity exercise strengthens the heart, lungs, and muscles. Regular exercise also reduces anxiety and depression, improves physical capacity, increases your ability to function, helps you sleep better, and decreases pain and fatigue over time. However, the most important benefit of exercise when you have a chronic illness is the circulation of blood and lymph, both of which deliver vital nutrients to the cells and remove waste products. Thus, exercise nourishes and detoxifies your body at the same time. If you don’t move your body, these fluids stagnate and cause all sorts of problems.

How To Start Exercising

You will need to get approval from your doctor before embarking on any exercise program. Also, it’s important to remember that any movement, no matter how gentle or how short the duration, is good for your body — especially if you do it consistently.

Depending on your particular situation, you may want to consider asking your doctor to refer you to a physical therapist to help you get started. A physical therapist will be able to perform tests, help you relieve pain and stiffness, strengthen weak muscles, improve your posture, and improve your range of motion to help you exercise easier, more efficiently, and more comfortably.

If physical therapy is not an option for you, a personal trainer may be able to help you set up an appropriate exercise program. Just make sure that you choose a trainer who is very familiar with your illness and limitations.

Try Short Bursts of Movement Throughout the Day

When choosing to begin exercising without the direction of a physical therapist or personal trainer, one option to get you started with regular exercise is to do several short sessions of movement rather than one longer session. Adding spurts of movement throughout your day in this way is a quicker, gentler way to build your tolerance to exercise. It also helps increase your circulation better than a single, longer workout will.

Walk through your house or stretch for five minutes (or whatever you can comfortably handle) every hour or two throughout the day, as you feel able. Start with one five-minute session, then add another every few days or every week until you are able to move for five minutes every hour or two throughout the day. If you do this just six times a day, you’ve moved for a total of 30 minutes! When you’re ready, you can start adding one or two longer sessions until you’re able to go for a solid 20 or 30 minutes. Just don’t forget to move some more throughout the rest of the day, as well. Your goal is to avoid sitting for long stretches.

If your chronic condition has left you severely debilitated, or even bedridden, you may want to start with “micro” movement. For example, if you can only stand for five minutes, then start with that. Slowly increase the duration of time in which you stand in 10- or 15-second increments every few days. Or, you could start by simply doing gentle stretches in your bed. Remember, any movement you can comfortably do will benefit your body. Rest when you need to and don’t push yourself too hard. Just do what you can – and keep moving forward. Don’t give up!

For those of you who are more physically able, remember: you don’t need a bunch of expensive equipment, fancy clothes, or a gym membership to begin exercising. All you need is a little bit of space, something stretchy and comfortable to wear (you already have that, don’t you?) and maybe a good pair of shoes. Tai chi, qi gong, and yoga do not require shoes. There are plenty of free videos online, just be careful about which instructor you choose and always stop if you feel any discomfort.

Types of exercise you may want to try:

  • Tai chi or qi gong
  • Simple stretching
  • Walking
  • Dancing (even if it’s just in your living room)
  • Warm water exercise (either swimming, water aerobics, or just walking in the pool)
  • Beginner’s or “gentle” yoga
  • Light strength training
Get outside LiveKen

Get outside and go for a walk if you can. Even just in your garden

It isn’t necessary to pour sweat, get out of breath, or make your muscles burn in order to benefit from exercise. In fact, exercising too hard for too long will likely land you in bed for several days. All you need to do is move consistently. Go easy on yourself, especially in the beginning. Soon, you will find that you can sleep better, have more energy and less pain, and are able to live a better life despite chronic illness.

Chronic Pain and Fatigue – Exercising

28 Nov 13
Megan
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An exercise haiku

Excruciating…
Walking, Downward Facing Dog
Savasana… Relax!

At every doctors appointment I go to they consistently ask “what exercise have you done/are you doing?”  My usual answer is that I’m trying to do as much yoga and walking as I can but that doesn’t mean I’m doing something every day. In fact, when I was trying to do something every day I was getting worse and worse.

The doctors don’t normally like this answer and one in particular keeps telling me I should be walking 4 times a day; only short walks, but it should be every day. I saw 3 doctors this week and every single one of them thought I should be doing Graduated Exercise Therapy (GET). This is where you build up your ability to exercising ability over time by starting at 10% less than what you’re currently able to do and slowly (very slowly) increase this. BUT it means consistently exercise every day for a certain length of time no matter how you’re feeling.

Thank you very much doctors. You obviously haven’t read the recent research that show that GET can be detrimental to the health of someone suffering from Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME, formerly known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome), which is what you have diagnosed me with.

Yes, I know there is controversy surrounding this research but I would rather not risk my health getting 100 x worse. So, I’m going to adapt what you have recommended me to do to be more of a pacing than a GET form of exercising because I really don’t want to become too de-conditioned but I’m not going to push myself too hard. I’m going to listen to my body and if I really don’t think I can manage something I’m not going to “push through it” and do it anyway.

What I am going to do is this:

Yoga

I will aim for a minimum of 5 minutes of yoga each morning to stretch out my sore muscles. Whenever possible I will do a second 5 minutes in the afternoon. I will slowly build this up as I would like to get to the point of being able to do a class or video again. At this stage I’m making my own programs using my Yoga.com App (I’m not being paid to endorse this App but I really am enjoying using this App so I thought I’d write about it). This App has a lot of wonderful Yoga programs on it but it also allows you to design your own. I use the breathing programs already on the App but because I’m only up to 5 minutes of yoga at a time I can’t use any of their other programs (the shortest is 12 minutes) so I’ve designed my own morning and afternoon programs that are only 5 minutes each.

Walking

I have been doing 3 x 3 minute walks with at least 5 minutes rest between sessions and for the last week or so this hasn’t been happening every day because I’ve been in a fairly heavy crash where it was difficult to even stand up for long, let alone walking more than from the bedroom to the living room, bathroom and kitchen. So, to abide by my doctors wishes as best as I can and start off slowly, I will begin this by spacing out my 3 minute walks with an hour or so between them and do this 3 times a week. If this doesn’t cause me to crash again I will add an additional 3 minute walk to the 3 days a week, fitting with my doctors request for me to be walking 4 times a day. I will then slowly work up to adding additional days.

As we’re coming into summer here, I will ask E to set up my bike on his thingy (can’t think of the word) that makes the bike stationary so that I can do 3 minutes of cycling inside instead of going walking if the weather is extremely hot.

Pacing

Although I have set a time frame of what I want to achieve in the descriptions above, I will modify this day to day depending on how I feel. If I feel I can’t do the yoga every day, or the walk on a particular day I was going to, I will not push myself too far. I will also take into consideration the other activities (not just exercise) that I have planned each day. If I have a busy day in terms of other high level activities I will prioritise and determine if I will exercise that day. This is what I believe separates Pacing from GET!

What do you do for exercise and how often do you do it?