Fibronaut At Home

Interpretive Dance Like No One’s Watching

My daughter Emma is the princess of interpretive dance.  It doesn’t matter where she is; if she hears a beat that catches her ear, she starts dancing.  This morning, as I’m listening to my playlist with Beyonce, Fergie, Jennifer Lopez, Shakira, Meghan Trainor, Destiny’s Child, Iggy Azalea and Nicki Minaj, it occurred to me that I do the same thing.  I’m better at hiding it in public than she is.  I only do shoulder movements, head bobs and swaying hips.  Um.  Maybe I’m not as good at hiding it as I think I am.

Sometimes I get bored with my same work-out DVD’s.  Even ordering different ones from the library doesn’t help.  I just like my music so much that I want to do those moves to songs I like listening to.  Cue interpretive dance as a workout.  I already find myself thinking of the moves I do with the DVD’s that would go with the beat I’m listening to.  I already dance around my house.  Any movement is more than sitting down doing nothing, right?  Hopefully, my hubby’s claim that no one can see me through the windows in the day is correct.  If not, I hope the neighbor’s appreciate the entertainment.

I’m also reminded of a conversation that I had with my Brother-in-Law.  He went to school to be a personal trainer, so whenever I have workout questions, I ask him.  When I was still couch-bound every day, I asked him if just tightening my abs while I sat there was working the muscles.  He said it did, which made me feel like at least I was doing something, even if I wasn’t in full sit-up or crunches mode.  Start small and build from there!

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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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I Love My Library!

I know the title doesn’t seem like it should have anything to do with fibromyalgia, but my library has been so instrumental on my path to wellness.  I’m not well yet, but I’m learning something new every day about fibromyalgia.  I can’t tell you how many books I’ve checked out on the subject and I just requested more.  The High Plains Library District in Weld County, Colorado is so wonderful.  Even if a book I want isn’t at the library in my town, I can request it online or have a librarian request it for me.  They make it so easy.  If there is a book I want to read and the High Plains Library District doesn’t have it, I let them know and they get it.  They also offer CDs,audio-books and e-books, which are especially nice for those with fibromyalgia because it is so much easier to hold an e-reader or listen on a laptop than to have to hold a book, hold the book open and turn the pages.  I actually gave up one of my favorite activities, reading, for a while because when I tried to read my hands would shake, I’d get painful spasms and I couldn’t concentrate on what I was reading because of this.  I now have a Kindle and I have perfected the art of book-propping to avoid hand and arm strain.

Here are some of the books I am looking forward to reading:

  • Fibromyalgia: simple relief through movement by Stacie L. Bigelow, M. A. (ISBN: 0471348023)
  • The Fibromyalgia Relief Book: 213 ideas for improving your quality of life by Miryam Ehrlich Williamson (ISBN: 0802775535
  • Figuring Out Fibromyalgia: current science and the most effective treatments by Ginerva Liptan, M.D. (ISBN:9780982833971)
  • From fatigued to fantastic!: a clinically proven program to regain vibrant health and overcome chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia by Jacob Teitelbaum, M.D. (ISBN: 9781583332894)
  • Reversing fibromyalgia: the whole-health approach to overcoming fibromyalgia through nutrition, exercise, supplements and other lifestyle factors by Joe M. Elrod (ISBN:158054326X)
  • What your doctor may not tell you about fibromyalgia: the revolutionary treatment that can reverse the disease by R. Paul St. Armand, M.D. and Claudia Craig Marek

 

I know that I’ve checked out some of these before but it never hurts to give something a second glance, just to see if you missed something or if you have an “Ah-ha!” moment.  Right now I’m reading The Fibromyalgia Handbook: a 7-step program to halt and even reverse fibromyalgia by Harris H. McIlwain, M.D. and Debra Fulghum Bruce, M.S.  Step 1 is “Start with medical treatment”.  Um.  Duh!  I’m pretty sure that upon waking with the kinds of aches, pains and fatigue that go along with fibromyalgia, the first place most of us headed was the doctor.  Included in this chapter are various methods of pain-relief like moist heat (Twice a day? How about all day?), NSAIDs, anti-depressants, muscle relaxers and every other drug that could possibly be available for fibromyalgia, as well as supplements (magnesium, malic acid, melatonin).  Magnet therapy and Human Growth Hormone, are mentioned, as well as creams, liniments, lotions, injections, TENS and everything else you could think of or have been told MIGHT help.

I haven’t read beyond this chapter for good reason.  How could a person read this and not be more confused than they were before?  Every type of possible pain relief method is mentioned and they could all work or they might not.  It’s up to the reader to figure this out?  Really?  First you have to find a doctor who is willing to try some of these things.  My pain specialist got me off of the narcotics, which I am very thankful for, but has no other suggestion for me beside yoga.  Really!  I just do yoga every day and I’m all better?  I did yoga yesterday, meditated for a while, but still had little to no energy, still had pain and still couldn’t sleep last night.  Maybe today I’ll try my Leela by Deepak Chopra on the XBOX Kinect.  Life with fibromyalgia really is all trial and error.  Unfortunately, the price for my errors often leaves not only me suffering but my family as well.  Mommy is grumpy/asleep/crying, the kids have to find their own dinner and the hubby gets no loving in any shape or form.  I think the Fibro Response and thyroid are helping with some of the sensitivity and some of the pain but I really need something to give my energy a boost.  Zoning out all morning and falling asleep after the kids get home is okay, if that’s the way it has to be, but there are so many things I could be doing if only I had the energy.  I could even consider going back to work if I didn’t wake up feeling like a Mack truck hit me every morning.  I think I need to re-read my goals/positivity post (It’s a lovely new day).

The point of this post was to say that libraries are great resources but I think I came around to say that you should try to educate yourself but do what works for you because with fibromyalgia, anything goes.  Unless it doesn’t go.  Then quit doing it because (obviously) everyone is different and even the doctor’s aren’t sure what works and what doesn’t.  And don’t get down on yourself if you have to take a nap during the day or you don’t have enough energy to do the dishes/laundry or yoga that you had planned to get done.  Do your best, even if your best is sitting on the couch and playing games on Facebook.  Tomorrow you’ll start taking names and kicking ass.  Today just may be your down day.

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