I used to be very active. I managed fast food restaurants and was on my feet running around ragged for hours on end. For fun, I loved to dance the night away to my favorite band.
My weight began to slowly creep up in my early 20s, even with my active lifestyle. I could lose weight, but I had to work out constantly to do so. As soon as I stopped exercising, I’d gain it all back, plus some extra bonus pounds for good measure.
I was never one to ease into anything, exercise included. I always ended up getting sick and would have to give it up for a while. I didn’t know I had fibro until much later on, so I didn’t understand what was going on.
I got to the point where I hurt too much to attempt exercise. A simple walk was too much. I gave up on losing weight and getting fit. Why should I bother if all I’m going to do is pay a heavy price later?
After my fibro diagnosis I tried different treatments to help ease my symptoms, starting with acupuncture, and massage therapy. I began a journey that I am on to this day. The purpose of this journey is to feel better and to get back to being active again, even if it is at a level just above couch potato. Being realistic, I know I will never have the energy or stamina I had in my late teens, and early 20s. I’ve come to grips with the fact that I will never dance the night away again — but a couple songs would be nice.
Last week I made another stop on my journey: Physical therapy. I’ve had therapy before for various injuries and surgeries, but never for fibro. I had high hopes going into my first appointment.
One of the first questions the therapist asked was “What do you believe helps fibromyalgia?” I had no idea what he was getting at, but I should have. Exercise was the response was he looking for.
Are you trying to kill me? I was floored, not because I didn’t believe he said it, but because he actually believed it! I’ve heard that before, but my personal experience had shown it not to be true. I’ve been told countless times that all I have to do is work through it, and I’ll be fine. As far as I was concerned, if you make that statement, you know nothing about fibromyalgia.
My therapist was adamant. I must exercise and deal with the pain in order to feel better. Is this a risk I want to take? How much suffering will I have to endure before I feel better? What if I never feel better and end up doing more harm than good?
After our talk, he had me exercise in a heated pool. To my surprise, there was an underwater treadmill, which is my favorite way to exercise. I walked for about 10 minutes. There wasn’t any pain during, and no flare after. Exercising underwater is amazing!
When I asked how often I should do this, his said as often as possible. I would love to, but living more than 50 miles from the wellness center makes it tough. I go to this particular wellness center because it is a free benefit from my husband’s employer. My therapist said he will design an exercise plan for me to work on at home on the days I can’t make it to the center.
Now I had a huge decision to make. I’ve seen amazing results from less than 10 chiropractic adjustments. Could exercising bring me even more relief?
After days of soul-searching, I’ve decided to proceed with the exercise program. I have to do this while I still can. I’m not getting any younger, and if I wait a few years, I know I will be in worse shape than I am now.
Only time will tell if I made the right decision. I’ve always loved challenges and now I have a new one. I’d love to write more, but I have a date with a heated pool!
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