Last night I went to hydrotherapy. Holy cow! Major workout!
Technically, it was no different to all my other classes (in fact, we have a set routine) but my body really didn’t like moving. I’m guessing that it’s because it’s been about a week and a half since my last session (which was a self-help session), where I felt like I was moving through molasses!
I had given up my self-help session while I was attending rehab as I went to a hydro class there, but their hydro was very low impact and I had built up my session to be quite physical – so it seems that I had lost my momentum during all of this.
Mind you, I am finding it harder to walk the same distance that I do every day – but I am still doing it, at least!
Because it is (seemingly?) getting harder, it would be easy to just say that the exercising is not helping my FM – a very self-sabotaging mode of thought – BUT we know we should be exercising. All the research tells us so! But when it comes time to actually get out there and start moving, many of us have a long list of excuses not to exercise:
Excuse #1: I Don’t Have Time!
What is it that is sapping all your time?
If it’s your favourite TV shows, how about during your shows, you use resistance bands, or walk in place; or you could record your shows so you can skip the commercials and see a one-hour show in just 40 minutes – that’s a 20 minute walk right there!
If it’s work that’s sapping all your spare time, try exercising on the job. Close your office door and walk in place for 10 minutes. (It’s not a long time but it all counts!)
People who exercise regularly ‘make it a habit’ – they don’t have more time than anyone else; instead, they have prioritised their exercise time as something that needs to be done and is of great value.
Excuse #2: I’m Too Tired…(said in a whining voice)
It may sound counter-intuitive but working out actually gives you more energy, says Marisa Brunett, spokeswoman for the National Athletic Trainers Association. Once you get moving, you’re getting the endorphins ( the feel-good hormones in your body) to release – in turn, this WILL make you feel better (in the long term).
Excuse #3: I Don’t Get a Break From the Kids.
This is the time to multi-task (says the woman without kids!) Take the kids with you – while they’re swinging, you can walk around the playground or the backyard. Walk the kids to school instead of driving them. During their soccer games or practices, walk around the field. Use your family time for active pursuit – go for a bike ride with your kids or just walk around the neighbourhood with your children. When the weather’s bad, you could try all those new exciting interactive video games like Dance Revolution, Wii Sport, and Wii Fit. (Do your kids want any of these as a Christmas present? They could be a gift for you, too!)
Excuse #4: Exercise Is Boring.
“Exercise should be like sex,” says sports physiologist Mike Bracko, EdD, FACSM, a certified strength and conditioning specialist and director of the Institute for Hockey Research in Calgary. “You should want it and feel good about it before you do it. And it should feel good while you’re doing it.”
So how do you get there? First, find an activity you love. Think outside the box: try dancing, walk to the post office or gardening. Or, if you love music, try ballroom dancing. There IS an exercise for everyone.
If it makes exercise more enjoyable for you, it’s okay to watch The Good Wife or read Fifty Shades while you’re on the exercise bike or treadmill — just don’t forget to pedal or walk.
Working out with a group also helps many people. I’m not talking bootcamps or running groups. Check out your local Arthritis Foundation office – that’s where I found my hydrotherapy classes.
And, every once in a while, try something totally new: for one term I joined a Tai Chi for Arthritis group (again through Arthritis Victoria). Mix it up so you don’t get bored!
Excuse # 5: I Just Don’t Like to Move.
There are people who really DO NOT like moving but how about walking in a mall? Window shopping counts as walking!
If it’s sweating you don’t like, you can get a good workout without perspiring excessively: you can work out indoors, where it’s air conditioned; you can swim so you won’t notice any perspiration; or, try a low-sweat activity like yoga.
If exercise hurts your joints, try starting by exercising in water (my favourite – hydrotherapy!) The stronger your muscles get, the more they can support your joints, and the less you’ll hurt.
If you don’t like to move because you feel too fat, start with an activity that’s less public, like using an exercise video at home. Walk with nonjudgmental friends in your neighbourhood while wearing clothes that provide enough coverage that you feel comfortable.
Excuse # 6: I Always End up Quitting.
Set small, attainable goals – then you’re more likely to feel like a success, not a failure! If you exercise for five minutes a day for a week, you’ll feel good (maybe not immediately, but soon enough. I promise!)
Don’t try to increase your exercise by too great an amount each time. My rehab physio reminded me that Olympians try to increase their best by 5 per cent – so why work harder than an Olympian? If you do 5 minutes one day, try 6 minutes (okay, it’s actually 5.25 minutes, but really?) the next. I started at 10 minutes of walking and am now up to an hour by doing it this way – I only increased my times 4 times a week; the other 3 days, I walked for the same period of time as I had the day before.
It also helps to keep a log (especially as fibro fog can have us forgetting where we are up to). A log may help you see if you’re starting to fall off the wagon (or the treadmill).
Having an exercise buddy keeps you accountable as well – when you back out of a scheduled workout, you’re letting down your buddy as well as yourself.
And look toward the future. It’s harder to start than it is to stick with it once you’ve got your momentum going!
Any more excuses, people?
Other exercises you might like to try:
Fibro Friendly Exercises slideshow