Fibronaut At Home

Finding A Workout that Works For You

*I am not a doctor.  Consult your doctor before starting any workout program.*

When I was first diagnosed with fibro, this was one of the biggest challenges I faced.  Every doctor I visited and every book I read said, “Do yoga.”  For me, going to a class was out of the question.  I was depressed and full of anxiety in relation to how others saw me.  My spirit was in the fetal position unable to handle anyone’s criticism, no matter how compassionate.  To me, no one understood the pain I was going through.  I checked out numerous DVD’s from my library and got seriously frustrated.  I couldn’t make it through the warm-ups on those DVD’s.  I gave up.  I told myself I wasn’t going to get anywhere exercising.  I told one of my doctors that I didn’t have time to exercise.  What I meant was that I had limited time in my day.  If I had the energy to do anything, it wasn’t going to be exercise; it was going to be something for my hubby or kids like housework or doing something with them.

Here’s what I figured out in doing housework; I was working out!  Every load of clothes I separated, every time I loaded or unloaded the dishwasher, I was exercising.  When I was warmed up, I would stretch out the muscles that were tightening.  I started to tweak the way I did some chores as I noticed that doing them more often made them easier.  Getting things done makes me feel good.  When I notice something out of place or dirty and I take care of it, BOOM GOES THE DYNAMITE, instant mood booster.  It was through housework exercising that I first started losing weight and inches.  (Getting off of narcotics and Lyrica and Cymbalta helped also.)

I also finally found a workout DVD that I could do.  That’s right.  One DVD is all it took to start getting my body back.  Healing Yoga for Aches and Pains started me on my path to wellness.  There are a lot of moves on the ground and sitting down.  I did hurt my back once when I got a little too enthusiastic with my stretching.  Go slow and don’t worry if you feel like you’re not really working out.  The best workouts don’t feel like workouts at all.  My favorite part is the last, where you are laying on the floor with your legs resting on a chair and just breathing.  That move always leaves me feeling centered and ready to conquer anything.

Now that I’ve been building my muscles, I’ve been trying some regular workout DVD’s.  I’ve always liked dance workouts and games.  We traded in all my dance games when I thought I’d never be able to do them again.  Now I want them all back.  I really like Zumba.  There are tons of options in the Zumba workout DVD’s and I’ve checked out a couple of them from the library.  My favorite dances are the salsa and the Mexican dances.  They have a special name but I can’t remember it and both times I tried to search for it, I even confused Google.  Ha!  There are some that I don’t like, so I skip them.  At first, I couldn’t figure out the Calypso moves.  They were too fast and there was too much hopping that I couldn’t figure out.  The last time I did a Zumba DVD, I tried the Calypso steps and was able to do them!  Made me feel great.  I love that they have choices between just dancing and having the instructors tell you what to do.  I started out learning all the moves.  Now I can do the dance party.  Just a warning, Zumba is addictive.  I find myself thinking of Zumba moves whenever I listen to music.  I always dance around the house, but now I’m Zumba-ing around the house.  My 5 year old loves it and is doing it too.

I’ve also tried a Hula DVD, Island Girl Dance Fitness Workout for Beginners: Hula Abs and Buns.  It is easy and low impact.  The most difficult move is a lunge move but you can always skip moves that you find too difficult or that might cause you pain.  I love this DVD because you learn an entire dance while working out.  By the end, you combine all the moves in a dance.  I am a fan of workouts that make me feel like I’ve accomplished something at the end.

After being turned off by all the corny belly dance DVD’s that I tried, I finally found one that I like.  There were several belly dance DVD’s that I couldn’t get through the first move they were so corny (Here’s looking at you Goddess Workout).  A huge high-five to my kids for not cracking up at the corniness of The Goddess Workout: Intro to Belly Dance before I did.  The DVD I did today was Belly Dance Fitness for Weight Loss featuring Rania: Hip Hop Hip Drop.  They go through the moves slowly at first and then speed them up.  You learn an entire dance with this one too, combining all the moves into a dance at the end.  If you don’t like Hip Hop music, don’t worry.  There isn’t any Hip Hop.  I’ve just requested Belly Dance Fitness for Weight Loss featuring Rania: Cardio Shimmy.  If you find something you like, look for other things like that to keep your workout interesting.

As with everything else in wellness, it is a learning process.  If one thing doesn’t work, try something else.  Also, just because something worked once, doesn’t mean it’s going to always be for you.  My example of this came through a DVD that I used to own pre-fibro and decided to try because I remembered how much I liked it before.  10 Minute Solution: Pilates used to be my favorite thing to do.  I did the 10 minute ab workout 2 or 3 days ago.  My abs are still screaming.  Pilates is definitely not for me at this time.  Maybe I’ll go back to it later, but right now it is not for me.  The belly dance DVD helped with the soreness in my abs, but I’ve learned my lesson there.

If you are doing a workout and there is a part of it that you dread to the point where it keeps you from working out at all, then don’t do it.  Find another option.  If you are bored by any of your workout, don’t torture yourself through it.  Don’t give up, find another way.  Try, try, try and try again.  I even ran today.  I was in my pajamas and trying not to get hit by the sprinkler, but I ran.  It didn’t even hurt.  I’ve even been thinking of going for a run with the kids.  Forget walking!

I don’t write this to hurt anyone else’s feelings or make you feel like you aren’t doing enough.  That is for you to decide.  If you think you should be doing more, then do it.  Encouragement!

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Go To Outfits

One of the things that bothered me the most when I was really feeling poorly was not having the energy to care what I looked like.  Maybe it’s vain of me, but I like to feel like I look nice.  I started putting outfits together, including shoes and jewelry, in my good moments.  Then, when I was getting ready and not feeling well, I could grab those outfits and still feel pretty.  I called these my go to outfits.  They included colors that I liked, that always cheered me up.  They were items that I’d received compliments or that I knew looked good on me.  After a while, I noticed that the items that I’d purchased on the cheap at thrift stores and the items I’d sewn or upcycled gave me twice the joy and pride to wear them.  The positive energy you get when you are complimented on something you made cannot be beat.  Sometimes, just having that extra armor against others perceptions of me, made me feel better.  I’m supposed to be all, “What others think of me is none of my business”, and I realize that this kind of goes against that.  It did give me practice in not getting all offended or feeling like I had to explain when people would say, “You must be feeling better.”

Now that I’m losing weight (exercise and eating right help immensely), I get huge boosts of self esteem every time I try on something that used to fit and it is too big.  What used to be a source of frustration and melancholy has become motivation.  I have one shirt I thrifted 2 years ago.  I kept it in my closet because it was a reminder that if I wanted to wear that pretty shirt, I had to get better.  I wear that pretty shirt all the time now.  CHEESY SMILE!!!!  I believe that anyone can do this.  You have to believe you can do this.  You have to stop letting the pain and fatigue win.  I used to sit on the couch for so long in the morning that the fatigue came just because I wasn’t getting up as soon as my coffee kicked in.  I was just at home, why did I need to get up?  GET UP!!!  As soon as your meds kick in and you have a little relief from the pain or you feel your brain kick in, get up.  Get up, get moving and tell yourself that you’re not going to stop.  If I do sit down during the day, I make sure I’m upright, sitting up straight.  Posture is everything.  When you lay down, even in your recliner, you are telling your body that it is time to go to sleep or to nap.

The other night, my hubby and I celebrated our 14th Wedding Anniversary.  It was a Tuesday, so after work, he and I dropped off the kids with the Grandparents and went to dinner and a movie.  Dinner was from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm and our movie didn’t start until 10 pm.  After the movie and picking up the kids and “celebrating” at home, we didn’t get to bed until 2 am.  The next day, I felt like crap.  I let myself sleep in one hour (8 am) and then I was up and moving.  Music, coffee, green tea all kept me going.  I kept in mind why I felt this way though and rested more than I normally would.  This recovery of mine is all about baby steps and being conscious of what I need to do to keep going.  I also have to be forgiving of myself.  Even when I do sleep well, I sometimes feel fatigued.  I’m okay with that though.  I don’t let the fatigue win.  I acknowledge that I’m fatigued or in pain and I move on.  Stretch out those muscles that are aching.  This doesn’t have to be a super stretch.  Sometimes just warming those muscles up a little and gently moving and stretching them are all they need.  Sitting on the couch or laying in bed will only stiffen them up more.  The more little things you do, the less you will hurt.  The little things pave the way for the big things.

Stay positive and be kind to yourself.

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Soundtrack to Healing

One of my most favorite songs to listen to right now is This Time I Won’t Forget by Kongos.

This Time I Won’t Forget

Written by Johnny Kongos 

Oh, I will try
But I tell you it ain’t easy using only words 
And so I’ll begin
But I’ll start at the end, the day I said so long my friend

I still remember well
His smile that would not die
And the tears begin to swell
Tears I dare not fight
 

Cause now I’m alive
I’m taking my first breath
Oh I’m alive
And this time I won’t forget
 

Now as I look back
Wish I’d known that someday soon he’d long be gone
So, I will try
To remember the end, the day I said so long my friend

They go by many names
Mother, father, brother, son
And the tears begin to swell
Tears I dare not fight
 

Cause now I’m alive
I’m taking my first breath
Oh I’m alive
And this time I won’t forget

Oh I’m alive
And this time I won’t forget

 

I love the chorus.  For me, I focus on the “I’m taking my first breath.  Oh, I’m alive.”  It’s a great reminder to stay in the moment and appreciate and live the life you have.  Moving on, changing, always adapting, living.  I’m alive!

I think it’s important to have go to songs that lift you up, remind you of what is important and put you in the mood to live life.  From the time I wake up in the morning to the time I go to sleep I utilize music to get me going, get me motivated, keep me moving, and when it is time for bed, to go to sleep.  I meditate and stretch anytime the pain is getting to me.  When stretching is too intense, gentle movements of my entire body, not just the aching parts helps as well.  Listening to music while I clean helps the time fly by.  I basically listen to music all day.  Sometimes, just dancing around my house or dancing as I drive helps me stay loose.  I’ve also found that if I’m singing along to a song, I’m less likely to be grinding my teeth and tensing my shoulders.  Both of those habits are the main cause of my tension headaches.  I have a go-to CD for sleep that I’ve mentioned before:  Bedtime Beats: The Secret to Sleep.  After I take my medicine, I listen to this every night.  If I’m not at home, I don’t, obviously, but as soon as I get home.

I would love to hear what songs help you.

 

 

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