It’s a bright sunny morning here in Rome and, thankfully, not too terribly hot. Over the last month, I’ve been engaging in a renewed program of incorporating daily walks as a part of my self-care management.
Now, I don’t mean just taking a walk down the road to the neighbourhood grocery store. I mean taking a proper walk of between 1-3 hours (dependent upon weather and time).
Back in 2008 when I was finally diagnosed with fibromyalgia, my body was in its most unhealthy state. I had gained a tremendous amount of weight as I could barely get up due to my fatigue and the pain was unbearable. I simply didn’t see how I could get my body to move and to go about life as usual. Not only that, the drastic changes in both my weight and overall health had been devastating to my self-concept and self-esteem.
You see, just prior to beginning my journey to becoming a therapist, I worked as a personal trainer and fitness instructor. I prided myself on my level of strength and stamina. I prided myself on my little need for sleep (of course, I was in my twenties) and was content with the way my body functioned.
Enter fibromyalgia…and the pictured changed. I was in misery. It took me almost a year after my diagnosis (2009) to figure out a strategy to get my body and life back together.
I didn’t want to be a walking pharmacy anymore, dragging around a heavy frame that was only becoming heavier and making my symptoms worse.
I decided that I would walk…even if it was the last thing I wanted to do. I knew that I would be in misery if I attempted to join an exercise program and I don’t believe in dieting.
Most importantly, I knew that walking was still something I could do. It hadn’t been taken away from me.
I started out with small goals, solicited some friends to join me, and began a 10 minute walk program. That’s right. Ten whole minutes. Early in the morning, a couple of times per week, we would meet up and walk together for 10 whole minutes. Eventually, we increased the time and frequency, and even (gasp) began a jog/walk program. 😉
Fast-forward five years and here I am, walking for hours. My body has benefited tremendously from the small decision I made back in 2009. The simple decision to walk. I take one medication for my illness as opposed to several that I had been taking back in 2008.
You see, we can spend our time trying to find the right medication(s). We can go from doctor to doctor. We can bemoan our circumstances and ask ‘why me?’ forever or, at least, until our last breath. None of that really will change anything in the end if we don’t look at how we can take control over our bodies ourselves and lives.
Don’t just leave it up to the latest pill you can pop. Don’t just give up and say ‘what’s done is done’. Don’t just decide that you are unlucky or fated to living your life in a way that is displeasing to you.
Decide that you can change it. Decide that you can control it. It’s your body and your illness. Decide how you want to live with it…happily.
There is always a path to be found…
Until Next Time,
Click on the link below for the article!
Aerobic Exercise ‘Most Effective Weapon’ for Fibromyalgia (Excerpt below)
“There is no magic drug against fibromyalgia and, in my opinion, there will never be. Psychotherapists don’t work miracles, but psychotherapy can help and, in a few cases, turn people with fibromyalgia into nonpatients. Drugs may help, but patients don’t like them,” said investigator Winfried Häuser, MD, from Technische Universität München in Germany, who has published widely on fibromyalgia.
“Aerobic exercise is the most effective weapon we have; healthy people profit from continuous physical exercise, and so do patients with fibromyalgia,” he explained.
Dr. Häuser presented an overview of research on fibromyalgia treatment here at the European League Against Rheumatism Congress 2014.