Fighting Fibromyalgia with Fitness
If you struggle with an autoimmune disease like Fibromyalgia, I can relate to the struggle. I understand waking up every day and not knowing if it’s going to be a “good day” or a “bad day.” How long is it going to take to get out of bed? Am I going to have enough energy to go to work? Can I make my lunch today or am I going to just grab take-out because it’s easier and less painful? The thought of using limited energy to do the mundane daily tasks like laundry, dishes or general cleanup is overwhelming. Does any of this sound familiar to you?
I can’t tell you how many times I have cried getting up every morning trying to move and “shake off” the pain – especially after a night of tossing and turning trying in vain to get comfortable. Sometimes it’s lack of sleep and sometimes it’s the “fibro fog” preventing me from remembering basic things. Once again my energy is lacking, my body hurts – even my skin feels like it’s burning. Am I going to be able to move my hands today? They are swelling, but maybe it’s from the weather changing. Weather changes are the worst. I can go one day from fully functional to the next day not being able to do anything but lay in pain.
However, if you’re like me, you still force yourself out of bed and put on workout clothes because every single day counts. It doesn’t matter if I’m feeling down because, let’s face it, my body doesn’t give me a lot of reasons to be happy at times. I didn’t choose Fibromyalgia, but it chose me and I fight against it every day. Even if I can only get a 30 minute workout in, I do it because if I don’t, the pain wins. I live only three blocks from the grocery store, so if I need a few lighter things and it’s a day I haven’t been as active, I walk to the store. Movement is one of the best things to help with Fibromyalgia.
I also train with a Fitness Professional once a week here at Innovative Health & Fitness. I have worked with Jeff for about four years, so he understands how my body works and how some days we can push the limits of my workouts because I’m having a great day. Then, there are days we need to make a drastic change to how the workout goes. Have I ever cancelled my training because of pain or energy drain? Yes. However, I would not recommend that to anyone. Training is a crucial part of my functionality. Every workout counts. Even if it’s taking a walk around the block, your body needs it. Your body has overactive nerves that need to be released with activity. Even a little movement can help tremendously. Walk the track. Do some HIIT training, light weightlifting or exercise in the pool. Swimming is especially great because you become weightless in the water and that helps your body relax even more.
I have also made a drastic change to the way I eat. This is a constant struggle for me. I can imagine a lot of you struggle with this, as well. Sometimes, I’m just too tired to cook. So, what does that mean? Do I just starve or do I at least get a quick drive thru so I have something in my stomach? Do you know a lot of places that have healthy choices in a drive thru? I didn’t think so. Making healthy choices makes me feel better. Is my Fibromyalgia gone? Nowhere near, but I’m managing it. Something in my body is accepting that I am trying to fuel it better and work it more to make it function better.
I am not on any prescription drugs. This is a personal choice and no one should quit any medication without consulting their physician. Occasionally, I cannot take the pain anymore and take some Aleve with Tylenol. There are some days that are worse than others, but I work at it every day with healthy eating and exercise.
I hear from a lot of different people who have different reasons for joining a health club. Some want to maintain their fitness levels. Some are looking to lose weight. Some are just looking for a place to help them function better on a regular basis. I know sometimes it’s hard – almost impossible to get up and come in. I also know the days you or I don’t come in to work out are even worse. Our bodies are designed to work and move. We are not meant to spend hours on the couch watching the latest reality television show. We are not meant to eat everything we can think of at the local festival. Can we indulge? Yes, but we should limit the indulgences.
Everything we put into our bodies fuels us. When it comes to supplements and food, read the labels. Know what you are putting into your body. The more you know your body and how it reacts to food and exercise, the easier it can be to manage Fibromyalgia.
If I can ever offer assistance in helping you get back into the gym because you can relate to me, please reach out to me. I work various hours in membership, but I would love to talk to you about your struggles. I may not have all the answers, but I will help direct you to the right people who can help.