Tag Archives: Exercise

The important thing.

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I could tell you how hard it is to get out of bed , while I feel like death warmed over, to walk.

I could tell you how many times I was way too hard on myself.

I could tell you all of this. It would all be true. It would not however be important.

The important thing is to start.

Arthritis, Fibromyalgia and Myofasical Pain Syndrome are not gentle issues. They are not very happy with exercise. In fact they protest it loudly. Three years of walking and I am just now getting to the point where I can actually wear exercise clothes without my body protesting. When I first started I could not wear sports clothing. It was like it flipped a switch for my muscles to act up even more. Now I am just used to going walking in jeans that it doesn’t bother me at all. Okay well maybe when I am a sweaty mess it bothers me a bit.

I started small, walking twenty minutes at a time.  I walked for twenty minutes at a time, twice a week for months. I felt stuck. If I tried to go further, I could not function. I finally figured out I just needed to be okay with what I was doing. It was not an easy decision. I felt like I wasn’t making any progress. The truth is when I look back, the fact I was even doing it was progress. I was not giving up, that was progress. I was not giving in to my body, that was progress. I then branched out with changing my diet. This was also something that was very slow going. I wanted to go out and buy all the healthy foods and just switch. The more I researched the more I realized that would not work. It takes time for your taste buds and your palate to change. It is so easy for both things to revert back to bad foods. The junk food out there is addictive. I could not just switch to eating grapes when I was craving sugar or any of the other hacks really. Deciding to make any change to your lifestyle is brave. When you are doing so with a body that already does not feel good, even braver.

The problem is my expectations of myself don’t always match what my body is up to. I still have issues with this. I still feel I should have done more, accomplished more, made more progress. That whole self-compassion thing.

Every time I have increased my pace or my distance it has not been a conscience decision. It was on a whim and then once I realized I did it. I wanted to do it again. This is not to say that I don’t over do it. I do. Some days my walks are great and I can function. Some days my walks are great and my body says, “um No.” to anything else that day. It took longer than a normal person to reap any of the benefits of exercise. However now it is coming fast and furious. I sleep better. I am loosing the weight. My heart conditions are better controlled. The more I walked the more I wanted healthy choices to eat.  Had someone suggested I could use food to ease some of my symptoms a few years ago I would have said. “Nope tried that.”  Same response if someone had told me to exercise more. For the longest time I could not think of it as exercise. Of course this means I did things a bit harder. I didn’t want to think of it as exercise so I went on nature trails. It is really hard to increase your distance and your pace on nature trails-with a body that does not cooperate. Since I started walking a flat surface designated for walking and cycling, I have made significant progress. It only took me four months to come to that conclusion though.

Having a friend or someone to encourage you to keep at it, really helps as well. Please feel free to email me and let me know you are taking the important step of starting. I would be glad to email you encouragement!

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A week long reflection on ten things of thankful

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I decided to renew my dedication to being thankful and having gratitude for what I do have. I have been blogging something I am thankful or grateful for every day to have a more precise ten things list.
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Monday:

1. A cleaning job that gives me a small amount of money but also some confidence in myself.  Since disabilities has interfered with my ability to work full time, or even part time. This has been tremendously helpful.

 

Tuesday:

2. I kept to my goals of writing as much as possible. I also kept my second goal of submitting to at least two publishers daily, for two days in a row!

 

Wednesday

3. Fifty cent coffee at the gas station. We ran out of creamer at home today. Sometimes I can drink it black. This morning was not one of those times.  I needed my hazelnut this morning. Thankful that my car change holder had fifty cents in it.

 

Thursday

4. I had to dig deep to do it but I got my four mile walk in. We had to push back the time. I was really doubting that I could make it. Several times on the way to the two mile point I wanted to turn around. I did it. I kept my fitness goals for a week so far!

 

Friday

5. I am thankful that I read an article about self compassion. It allowed me to be a bit nicer to myself about not getting my to do list done today. I was able to say but look what I did get done.

 

In reflecting on my week, I looked for other things that I was thankful for or had gratitude for. Sometimes it is hard to be thankful/grateful for things as they are happening. It is helpful to look back and appreciate that moment, even if it is later.

 

1. I am thankful for the time away from being constantly connected when my phone mysteriously died.

2. I am also thankful for the return of my phone. Mostly for the fact that I can play my youtube self hypnosis videos with headphones.  I didn’t realize how much of a difference it makes.

3. I am thankful and grateful for a friend who is always up to go out to lunch one day a week. I am both thankful and grateful that it does not matter who pays.

4.  So since school started I have seen this little girl (the one on the left) sitting on a stump at the drop off area…she always looked so sad and lonely….I told the kid Monday she should go talk to her.I told her why…she came home so excited to tell me about her new friend.. Only she didn’t remember her name! She did remember to ask on Tuesday….the last two days it is like seeing the sun come out when we pull up and this girl sees who gets out…I am so thankful I have a daughter who actually listened to something I said and it has made a difference in some other child’s life.

5. I am thankful that as I stay more on target with my exercise goals in walking, my food cravings have turned more and more to healthier options.

What are some things you are thankful for?

Never a normal doctors appointment

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Friday mornings are my roughest. I am so ready for the sleeping in on Saturday morning that sometimes happens. If it doesn’t happen the staying in bed a little longer happens. Most of the time.  Having a doctors appointment on a friday morning seemed like a good idea. I am not sure why. I know how rough I am. I got the kid out the door and to school on time. I headed to the doctors office right away because traffic is still horrible here. The tourist and snowbirds are slowly going back home…..slowly.

This was a review bloodwork and make sure my medications were all still okay. I was seeing the nurse practitioner because of a schedule conflict the doctor had. Because I can never just be a cut and dry case of ANYTHING…… my magnesium and potassium are still fluctuating still on the low side….and my thyroid is off…also on the low side…but the hashimotos study and the antibody study came back completely normal. This makes perfect sense to me, because I am used to this kind of thing. The Doctors were a bit perplexed. As I have a heart condition as well and am on medication for that, she is a bit hesitant to start thyroid medication. My heart condition is fairly well controlled with medication, however that does not mean we should take risks. If we do start medication it will be with an event monitor to make sure that I don’t have any SVT episodes(read my heart goes wacko, arrhythmia). For now we are doing thyroid level checks every three months and checking the antibodies every six months.

She was incredibly pleased with my progress on loosing weight and walking. Both of these will in the long run also help my thyroid along with my heart and other things. The progress is also why she was hesitant to start thyroid medications, afraid it will affect my heart and set me back walking and weight loss wise. We discussed diet and how juicing is helping. She was a little bothered that I only drink juice in the morning for breakfast and water. I am not a breakfast person. Unless breakfast is at ten or eleven am. She said she would like to see some grains introduced into my breakfast but since I was getting such packed nutrition from the juice she was not going to push it.  I have cut back my soda and coffee and that too will only continue to help. I told her there is one thing I do , do……the week before my period. I go with what I want, not necessarily what is healthy. We also discussed the once a week frozen yogurt. She said she wasn’t concerned because it was frozen yogurt first of all and the amount of fresh fruit I add was enough she felt the hot fudge and carob chips were an okay splurge. 

I was on prednisone for several years. During that time I had issues with skin scarring and keeping my skin moisturized enough. When I went off it , it slowly got better and went away. It is back. However she was not concerned that it was a new thing. It can take several years for skin to return to normal and will take intensive moisturizing treatments. Oh more fun. I am so horrible at remembering to do this, plus my OCD hates the texture of most of the lotion and creams.

While my magnesium and potassium oh and vitamin D levels are just slightly below level, we are still gonna keep an eye on those too. Its a relief to know that I am not taking too much because the levels I take are fairly high. It concerns me. However my body just doesn’t seem to like to hold on to those things.  Malabsorption is so tricky. Sometimes I absorb things great. Other times not so great. There is constant adjustments needed.

We then discussed the upcoming trip in August to Epcot and camping. She doesn’t see it being a problem for a low dose muscle relaxer for a week. It is one less thing for me to worry about. I can work on progress with distance in my walking. It will help with endurance. Camping and keeping up to an excited nine year old will be hard. This is just a little edge off at night to keep me going for four days.

After such a good doctor visit and leaving so pumped. I treated myself to Starbucks. Just a single shot espresso. I add sugar to it and it reminds me of Cuban coffee I used to get with my Dad. Its a nice warm fuzzy memory to set the rest of my day with. Not to mention the boost of energy and possibly being productive with housework today!

Friday verbal diarrhea

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I had it in my mind I was going to get a really good walk in. I had it set in my mind a four miles walk. There was somewhat of a change of plans with our friends. Instead of walking we were going to take a bike ride to the park with the kids. Four kids, two adults. The weather cooperated and we took the kids for a bike ride. The kids rode their bikes. I walked behind to bring up the rear. The first three quarters of a mile were really good. It was a pretty good pace to keep up with.

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Then we got to the park. There was some resting then we walked some more. Mostly it was aimless wandering. We ended up at the fitness trail. When we were done with the trail our friend was there was the van. The kids were done. There was no riding back or even walking back for them. All told it was three miles.  The only problem I had with it was it was not at a consistent pace.  It was good enough for now.

We went back to their house and had lunch. I ran to Target to get Easter Basket stuff and the kid watched a movie with the other girls.

We came back to the house and both the kid and I crashed for two hours. We mainly just laid down and watched tv. We both needed the down time. 

So then it was off to pick up my husband from work. It was of course now raining. We had some errands to run but while my husband did his errands the kid and I walked around Ross. Then we swung by McDonalds for dinner for the husband, I got a carmel Frappe. We dropped him off. There was still an hour and half before I could take the kid to movie night at Tae Kwon Do. It was pointless to go all the way across town back to the house only to come back to where we were for movie night. We wandered around Books A Million. Really what could be more perfect to kill an hour and half on a rainy day? Nothing that’s what.

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Finally it was time. I could drop her off. They would feed her dinner and a movie, I could pick her up and then it would be bedtime. So Now I had three hours on my hands with no husband and no kid. What to do what to do. Almost on auto pilot I was driving home. I didn’t really want to go home though. Not really. I had pent up anxiety left to walk out. I knew I did. I decided I was going to get that walk in after all. I started the runkeeper app and my audible book. I was just going to walk until I was ready to turn around. Not look at how far I have gone. Yeah right. I don’t even know who this competitive person is anymore. Now a good walk is at least two miles. If you have been following me since the beginning you know this has been a slow and steady process. One that has taken me almost a year and half to get to where I am in walking. Half a mile in and I was just hitting my stride. I couldn’t turn around now. I made it to 1.15 miles. Turned around and started back. I was making excellent time. I have now programmed the runkeeper app that my target range is 1 mile in twenty minutes. There is a glitch in the system and before I have even been walking twenty minutes it starts telling me I am behind my Target pace. It irritates me but I have noticed I keep a better pace so for the time being it is staying that way.  

Stopped at the little bridge to tie my shoe…almost screamed.

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Then realized he was just a baby still. 

Afterwards. I am almost done with my audible book.I got in a two and half mile walk. I felt satisfied and there was no pent up anxiety left. Of course my joints in my hips knees ankles even my feet joints are all incredibly pissed off with me. Thats okay. They can be pissed off at me. The less I walk the more I hurt. So I walk. I walk even when I don’t want to walk. 

 

Now that the verbal diarreaha is out of my head I feel maybe I can actually relax the last hour I have by myself! 

All I want to do is see the river……

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I did not want to go for a walk. I knew I needed to go for a walk, after all it is friday, Frozen yogurt day. I had also had Panera for lunch. I needed to burn some calories. I needed to move for my joints. I needed to walk to help promote better sleep tonight.  I decided I was going to go the the preserve but walk the trail on the other side. I had never walked this trail. Now this might not seem like a big deal. However I normally go with someone when I am doing a new trail. Someone who knows how to read trail maps better than me. I don’t think I read them too good.

This particular trail you park on one side of the road, cross the road and start the trail. However, it is right where the incline of a bridge starts. It’s just a short incline, then the trail. The key is….I would have to cross this again to get back to the car. So I cross the road. Get through the incline, and start on the trail. I am only a few minutes down the trail when a red shoulder hawk flies right in front of me. It then lands close by and starts to call very loudly. So I go check it out. There is a fence between me and him and I stop at the fence. He starts to fly off. I think.. it figures. But no….he could care less about me… There is a female hawk in a nearby tree.

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Hey baby wanna make a nest with me?

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So…do you come to this branch often?

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The whole walk has been made. It was worth it just to see those two. I continue on the trail a bit. I come to a sign. Service entrance only. um… WHAT? So I go back to where I started. I found where the actual trail begins. It was actually a lot less obvious than what turned out to be the service trail. Like I said I don’t feel a whole lot of confidence on reading the trail map, so I am really aware of the markers. I orient myself to where the marker is and where it is indicated on the map. I figured out what my path would be and how i would loop it back around to the beginning. Okay maybe I got this. Off we go.

Its been a bit and here we are at the first marker we come to. The marker 23. Okay. So I am on the right path. I decide I have plenty of time so I want to walk down to the  river and loop back. We come to the next marker, 22. So far so good. Markers 21, comes and goes. In much of Florida our woods and preserves have been invaded by invasive wild boar. They tear up the ground. I guess the trails are very convenient for them as they had torn up quite a bit of this one.

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For extra fun there is a fresh layer of um dead oak leaves on the ground. This hides some of the little holes. This was turning out to be more of a hike than a walk. Well I will sure enjoy extra hot fudge on my Frozen yogurt. That is how this exercise thing works right?

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Then there is a little path that veers off….do I follow that? I decide to just stay on the larger path and keep going. Now we come up to marker 18. I am starting to see that these markers are fairly accurate on where I think they should be as to where they appear on the map. This has not always been the case on trail maps.  We come up to a marker…… it says eleven. How the hell did I get to eleven? I just want to get a look at the river and maybe sit a few minutes. I look at the map.  I look back at the marker. Ooooohh not eleven.. That is a seventeen. The top of the seven was just hard to see. Ooooookkkaayy We are good. I follow the map and trail fairly well and even get down to the river. I wasn’t impressed with the view at first.

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Then I am retracing my steps a bit which is also what the map indicates you have to do. I find a little beaten down path. It leads right out to the water. There is a slight incline but I really want a good view of the river so I am good for it.

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Besides there is a tree right in the middle…I could always just use that to stop my fall right? I could get a little muddy but the water is right there so we are good right?

Lets just say it was worth that little incline.

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I get back up the incline to the path and my knees and ankles are like…yeah don’t try that again okay? I start off taking the path that loops back.  Marker nine. Check. Marker ten check. Marker eleven. Check. I keep on going. There are some birds calling that I don’t quite recognize and I file it away to go to the Audubon site to see if I can match them up. I came to the next Marker…..or so I thought. Turns out I went the wrong way and ended back at 15. I could have just followed that back. I was determined now though to finish the walk. So I turned around and back tracked and took the right path. Shortly there after I come to marker seven. Between Marker six and five there is a bench indicated and it looks like it looks at the river. So I am going to check it out.

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Really was worth the little detour. I climbed over those logs a bit and there across the river, was an alligator. The alligator is in the second picture above on the shore. Really he looks like a log. The only difference is this particular log moves, and has teeth.

He really was a tiny alligator. I would have to say maybe four years old or so. When they are younger than four they have stripes. Anyway, it made the little detour worth while. So next marker was five and then four. At three there is another indication of a detour to see the river. So I took it.

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So now I am confident on where I am at I explore some little off shoots. Then the worse part.

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The incline back to the car. I get to the top of this and I really want to go down the little bit and see the river from the bridge.

It did not disappoint.

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Hey maybe I can read a trail map pretty good. I do think there would be some market value in an app that tracks your gps on trail maps. Of course then the trail maps would have to be online as well. It would be something I would be interested in, for when I walk the trails by myself.

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I like more landmarks than most trail maps put on there. Like you will pass a pile of old cement pilings…..or you will pass an abandoned tank of some sort here. Although how they would depict that on a map, I have no idea. They would probably label it what it was and I would be like well we passed a tank looking thing back there, I guess that’s what they mean.  Maybe on the app that someone could create they could also let others add landmarks. Maybe they would use terms others would understand.  These are the kinds of things I find myself thinking about on my walks by myself.  Birds, trail map apps, pigs, and wanting to just see the river.

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All pictures were taken by me with my Android Phone.  The river is the Myakka River. This preserve is Sleeping Turtles North.

Start

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That is the key. First you have to start.
Many people assume because I go on walks, I am feeling better. It looks impressive that I walked two miles.It is impressive but it did not happen overnight. I has been over a year though since I started walking and it has been slow and steady increase.

When I first started half a mile completely fried me for the day. It was all I could do to make it back to the house.

I didn’t give up though. I kept doing it. First it was one walk every three days.. Then every other day.. then every day.

This allowed me to ease  my Fibromyalgia and arthritis ridden body  to walking. Giving myself time to deal with flares when they happen.

It wasn’t about stopping when I hurt. If I did that I would never get anywhere. You will find that there is a period of time that the walking makes you feel better. It is typically ten minutes into the walk for me. Then I can go for a bit a feel pretty decent. Then the pain returns. That’s when it is time to turn around or be heading back.

Be gentle with yourself. Fibromyalgia does not like it when we try to minimize its impact on us. Remember that you need rest after these walks. Typically there is not a lot left for me to do for the day when I take my walks. If I take them too early in the morning I am completely fried for the day.

Track your walks with a pedometer. I use an app on my phone. It helps to keep you on schedule with walking. It is also an added bonus of something to show your doctor to show you are trying.  It is also fun to see the patterns you walk on the GPS mapping part of it, at least for me it is.

It is also important to remember to hydrate yourself. If you don’t like the taste of water. I recommend chugging at least eight oz of water prior and after the walks. Remember to keep hydrating through out the day.  I have found that people with Fibromyalgia need more hydration that normal.  It helps your muscles in so many ways.

Something else that helps is having someone else go on the walks with you. When I first started out I went with my husband or my best friend, neither of them have chronic illnesses but, they know when I am pushing myself too much. Now I tend to walk with another friend who has chronic illnesses. We keep each other accountable for walking. Now we tend to walk twice a week and we are averaging two and half miles. Sometimes it is too much for me, sometimes it is too much for her. We get each other through it.

Keep playing around with it and find what works for you. It maybe that it works better for you to walk in the morning. It maybe something you do by yourself,for yourself. I promise you will find it helps in so many ways than just exhausting you.

Walking can help improve your mental state, ease anxiety, it boosts your energy levels, it increases your Vitamin D intake(since most people walk outside in the sun). It strengthens your heart and other muscles, it aids weight loss. It can also help prevent dementia and lower the risk for other disease. I also find that when I am dedicated to walking, I sleep better at night too.

It is to your benefit to get out there and walk. So get out there and just START!

 

A word about littering…..from my daughter

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This morning we walked to school. It was a gorgeous morning for it. Perfect temperature and even a light breeze.

About halfway there she says:
” Do you know why I am hanging my head down?”

To be truthful I had not really noticed that she was doing it on purpose. Somehow I did not think her thoughts were on all the acorn tops and how I will never look at them the same after seeing the movie Epic.

“No, Why?” I said, asked.

” Because I see all this litter and I am the Nature Queen and my power comes from the Earth and the Earth is hurt by all this litter and it hurts my power.

People just think. Oh I have this trash and there is not a trash can so I will just throw it on the ground it doesn’t matter. But it does matter. It matters to me. To the Earth too. If it matters to the Earth then it matters to me to. They are just rude people who are not thinking of anyone but themselves.

I am the Nature Queen so I care about these things. Anything that hurts the Earth hurts me.”

The torment between brain and body

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I have been taking back my body from Fibromyalgia and Arthritis by low impact walking.

I have been slowly and steadily increasing my walking, I increased to daily and even have gotten up to a mile easily.

Yesterday a friend and I took off a bit more than we could chew. Walking is easier when you walk with a friend.

However when the information turned out to be incorrect and the walk we took was twice as long as expected…….
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Yesterday after we finished there was not a part of my body didn’t hurt and as the day wore on it got worse and worse.

Today I think the only thing that doesn’t hurt is my ear lobes….maybe my eyelashes..

So why why why as I am driving I notice the way the foggy humid weather looks on the trees to the nearest nature trail? Why am I wondering if I could stop and get a small tiny walk in. Just tiny. Just to take some pictures. Especially on that back part of the trail.  The fogginess I bet would look sooooooo awesome.

“Don’t do it, don’t do it, don’t do it, don’t do it.”

There was not even an once of stubbornness to even attempt a walk.

Just driving to get my can’t live without heart pills was challenging. I was functioning but only just.

Then i had to wait for the script because when they called it in, they were a bit confusing so the pharmacist had to clarify.  Take one pill a day at 1130am and 730pm. Um What?

So. Starbucks is in Target. I got a lemon pound cake slice…Free tall coffee came with it. PERFECTION.

Get the pills. Took one right there in front of the pharmacist.

Trudge back out to the car.

Well I am up and about. I might as well go to the other food pantry I can go to. Maybe they will have instant milk.

The temperatures are decent but it was warm enough I was sweating. There was a creepy dude there, smoking an E-Cig. I am pretty sure that was not nicotine. There were four screaming little boys running around. When they came close their screaming felt like someone threw a handful of knives at my muscles. I think I physically flinched several times.

The lady didn’t even ask she loaded the stuff in the shopping cart and took the handle and said where is your car. I think. ” oh great I look that bad.”

Sigh. Okay. Back in the car. Deep breaths.  The dollar store is on the way home. We can get milk and cat food and everyone will be happy everywhere!

I am pretty sure that small bag of cat food and that quart of milk weighed as much as an elephant.

I came home and laid down. I couldn’t do anymore. Took some medications. Eventually got back up to get something to eat.

Even still my brain says..”walk to pick up the kid from school. it will be good to move your muscles, come on you get to walk right by those baby goats.” My body is readily answering with flipping the bird and long lines of swear words.

I am going to go with my body on this one.

When I am out forcing myself to somehow function I have little to any brain function to think of anything other than what needs to be done right that second.

However laying in bed , my muscles and joints are slightly happier than when we were functioning, my mind starts thinking of all these other things we could be doing. All the things that need to be done around the house. I almost listened to that stupid brain of mine that was telling me all the things we could be doing, and don’t forget the cute goats.

Then I discovered I got my monthly visitor on top of that.  OH HELL NO. We are not doing anything that is not absolutely necessary. We will pick up the kid, my body and brain and I, but we will not do anything extra.

Dinner , Sandwiches sounds good.

So does a hot toddy and an early bedtime.

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I don’t exercise like you and that’s okay.

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I was recently told that I don’t walk fast enough to make it effective exercise.
Now there are two ways I can take that. Well if its not going to be effective exercise…I might as well quit now.
Or I could take it as a comment by an uniformed person.

The muscles and tendons and ligaments in a Fibromyalgia patient are different from the patient who is in overall good health. We have to start super slow. We have to increase super slow. Sometimes just a minute longer than we did last time. That minute can seem like the worlds best form of torture to us.

I am not a patient person. I know it took me so long to adjust to the length our normal walk is because I pushed it. I continually pushed it and it took eight months before I could increase. and even then I did a half mile increase instead of stepping it up just a little bit at a time. There were many days that I didn’t walk at all.

The idea that I need to get my heart up and pumping is just utterly ridiculous for me. Every time I tried during physical therapy my heart forgot that it was suppose to increase steadily and when I stopped start to decrease. It took very little to push it over to irregular.

The dogs on our favorite walk

The dogs on our favorite walk

1.5 mph is kinda pushing it for my walks…Sometimes that’s how fast the dogs walk..my most comfortable is just a few notches down at 1.3 mph. Like I said though these were slow increases and there are still days that 0.9 mph seems like we are racing.

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We are the tortoise of the exercise group. Slow and steady wins us results.

When i started physical therapy years ago I could only stand five minutes and that was pushing it…..Then when we got to ten minutes we switched to warm water therapy and pushed it to twenty minutes….by the end of six weeks I had gotten to thirty minutes. This was at three times a week though. I didn’t continue because at the time I did not do enough self care. I was worried about how much time away from work this was and a zillion other things. Not only that I had days of intense pain which made work and parenting even harder.

We tend to know our bodies very well. Listen to what your body says. It is going to go slow. It is going to require patience. It is going to require you to be forgiving to yourself. All things that come with time.

It is hard to tune out what others say. It keep doing what you are comfortable with. To do what your body is comfortable with. Activity does help. Moving does help. If you feel its a good workout, its a good workout.  I will say the more consistent I am with walking. The less time it takes to recover.

What I can do with my illnesses is probably not what another person with the same illnesses can do. We are different and that is okay.