body image · chronic pain · writings

yes you can (and so can i)

So as many of you know through other blog entries, being physically active was a huge part of my life before I got sick. Running, spin classes, and lifting weights were a huge part of my daily life. Most days I woke up at 5 or 6 to get my workouts done before work (which made a lot of people think I was slightly nuts), obsessed over races, and loved to talk to people about getting fit. When stuff drastically changed with my health and working out was no longer even close to being an option, I grieved that loss HARD.

There have been two small periods of time in the past few years that I have found myself able to start working out again, once for about a month in September of 2012 and once for about a month last summer. Unfortunately these periods of time never lasted and my pain would knock me down again. My yoga practice was a little more scattered but again never lasted more than a few weeks every few months.

This year has been the worst for me pain-wise so I had begun to think working out or doing yoga wouldn’t happen anytime soon (or maybe ever). My pain has been incredibly difficult to treat throughout this entire journey but has especially difficult to treat since my CRPS became so debilitating. Many months where just laying in bed  or wearing clothes and shoes was painful. No moving my body except to crawl to the bathroom or do my quasimodo walk with my walker to the car. Trying medication after medication to try get things under control so I wouldn’t have to keep going to the ER for pain relief.

FINALLY my pain dr has found a combination of long acting pain meds coupled with short acting pain meds for breakthrough pain.

It took a few weeks for everything to start working together synergistically but praise the high heavens IT HAS!!!! I do not feel even close to being “normal” but I have been able to leave the house more, able to be more present when I am spending time with people, and able to tolerate being in my body more. It doesn’t always work and I still have really rough days but I will take what I can get when I can.

So I decided to take advantage of these moments where my pain isn’t quite so jagged and terrible and found some youtube videos on chair workouts and chair yoga. I did so for two reasons:

  1. I want to be able to push myself in the wheelchair. I don’t have a lot of upper body strength anymore and get tired easily when Im pushing myself. I hate having to ask people to push me so I have got to build some upper body strength!
  2. I want to feel like myself. I have never felt so lost as I have this year. I have felt so disconnected with who I was and wanted to be and it just about broke me in half. I love to move my body. I enjoy sweating, pushing myself just a little but more when my muscles say NO MORE, and achieving things I didn’t think I could. Working out always feels good to me and I want it in my life even if it isn’t the same as before.

workout1

Here are some videos that I have found helpful.

Some of the videos do have exercises that I am unable to do because of my lower body limitations, so I just keep my heart rate up with other exercises either by doing upper body kick boxing moves (speed boxing, upper cuts etc) OR doing seated ab work.

Don’t give up on a workout, just modify it to what you can do!

40 min seated cardio and strength workout  (I really really love this one)

Seated workout for disabled, injured, or half lazy people (LOVE this one and its a great one top start with since its shorter)

Cardio and strength exercises in a chair

Tae Bo Low Impact Workout The great part about this video is it showed me I can modify pretty much any Tae Bo workout to meet my needs. The only portion I couldn’t do was when they got out of the chairs so unfortunately I only could do half of this video but its a great workout and I use it sometimes to warm up before doing weights.

30 min core blasting Pilates– Pilates is a great ab workout and very low impact so its great for anyone with joint issues or nerve damage issues.

1 hour energizing chair yoga Don’t forget about yoga! This yogi has TONS of chair yoga videos.

Please post your favorites, I am always looking for more so I don’t get bored!!!!

workout4

Getting started isn’t easy but it is worth it even only for your spirit.

It has been a learning experience for me as I have had to completely relearn what my body can handle. I thought in the beginning that maybe I could do some lower body work as long as my feet weren’t doing ANY kind of impact. That turned out to be really wrong and set me into some big flare ups so I have had to accept that for now I may only be able to do upper body stuff. Unfortunately I have to also accept that in the beginning I may flare myself up as I relearn but it is worth it to me to start giving my body what it needs in terms of upping my spirits, giving myself a boost of dopamine and serotonin, as well as decreasing inflammation. I also accept that some days I CANNOT workout because my pain is too high. That’s a part of my life right now and it just means I may have to wait a few days before trying to do it again. Lastly I have to accept that I have to take things SLOWLY which I have never done a great job at when it comes to exercise.

Don’t let your body get in your way of achieving anything you want.

Obviously you need to listen to your body (and please talk to your doctor before starting any kind of new physical routine. Don’t try this out if your pain is still really out of control and  just start things when you are in a better place. Our bodies are meant to move so find what you can tolerate (in the beginning it may be only 5 minutes) and let your soul feel nourished as you achieve things you thought your illness or injury had taken from you!

2 thoughts on “yes you can (and so can i)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *