Jul 4, 2015

When Exercise Hurts But You Know You Should

Exercise is essential for good health and a strong body.  Everyone knows it's good for you, but what do you do when you're too fatigued or it just hurts too much?

Before getting chronic Lyme Disease I loved to exercise.  I loved how I felt afterwards and the benefits of having a strong healthy body.

Eight years ago when I began having chronic pain and fatigue I could barely walk around the house.  Every step hurt, every movement hurt and every time I tried to do anything I'd injure muscles.  My exercise habit came to a screeching halt.

As I began to slowly regain my health I knew that I had to begin exercising again but I just didn't know what to do.  The problem with those of us who have inflammatory conditions is that we're more susceptible to injury.  It seems to be the law of the land or at least in my land, that when I start to get into the habit of exercising something will happen that throws me off course.

In the early stages of my illness with Lyme Disease I went to physical therapy.  I didn't know I had Lyme Disease and the options my doctors gave me for my chronic pain were either steroids or physical therapy.  I opted for physical therapy.

My therapist had a hard time keeping up with my migrating pain.  No sooner did she put together a schedule to work my legs and feet, then my neck, shoulders and back became the problem.  She was patient and persistent but I didn't find relief until I was properly diagnosed and had been on treatment for several years.

Since then, I've tried to stick with gentle exercises such as walking, stretching and mild strengthening exercises with bands.

Last summer, I woke up at a O' dark hundred every morning to get in a nice long walk.  I loved walking in the early morning.  I enjoyed the sounds of the earth waking up, hearing the birds, seeing the deer and the beauty of the early morning sky all seemed to refresh me and give me the start that I needed for my busy days.  I loved that I felt better throughout the day and even though I was still tired, I knew I had more energy than if I hadn't exercised.

It was really hard for me to wake up every morning, I was already fatigued and just wanted to sleep.  My body hurt in the morning and I could barely move.  I have to stretch practically every muscle group before I can even walk down the stairs.

I pushed myself anyway because I am determined to not allow Lyme Disease or any other illness get the best of me.  I refuse to stay in bed, to allow Lyme to take anymore then it already has or to give up!  I have a family to take care of and things to do.  Lyme has already taken so much from me and as long as I am able I will push through.

By the end of last summer I was stopped in my tracks by a terrible sinus infection that lasted 2 months.  This thing would not go away and my head felt like it was going to explode.  Well, that was that, I stopped exercising and when I needed to exercise the most, which was through the dark and dreary winter, I didn't.

I lost all of the stamina I had built up, I lost my energy and worst of all lost my motivation.  My excuse was that I was busy, I didn't feel well, I was in too much pain.  I made the choice to not do that one good thing for myself.

When Spring came, I still didn't want to exercise but one day I listened Jamie Boggeln on a webinar where she was discussing healthy family habits.  Jamie motivated me to get back up off my duff and do something good for myself.  By taking care of myself I'm able to better care for those I love.  She put her finger right on my excuses and said that I need to write down at least 3 solutions to every excuse.

I decided to ask my husband to be my accountability and to make sure that I exercise, he's been trying anyway but now I gave him permission.  I started out motivated and determined but as my pain started coming back I began to lean on my excuses again.

Thankfully, my husband is serious about helping me out and he doesn't give in to my excuses.  Even when I hide out in the bathroom he tells me through the door that I'll be glad I exercised, I need to do this and let's go.  He pretty much drags me out each night to go for a good walk.  I'm not talking about the sweet, romantic let's hold hands and go for a walk kind, this is walking at a good pace and going up the hill kind of walking.

It's still very hard, it hurts, and I really have to push myself but in the end I really am glad that I went.

What kinds of exercise do you do?  How do you motivate yourself and how do you stay motivated.  I'd love to hear your thoughts.

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