Have you ever experienced pain while working out? Imagine working out with chronic pain? Today’s article is written by Cynthia Covert who lives with chronic pain every day. But she still finds a way to workout even though she deals with her chronic pain.
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My chronic illness exercise expectations had to change before I could commit to any kind of fitness routine. Fear of increasing pain and giving up because I couldn’t do what I used to made it difficult to commit to an exercise regimen.
In the past seventeen years I have learned a lot about my body. The most important thing I learned was let go of unrealistic expectations.
Assessing my abilities
When flaring from one or all my chronic illnesses, my body takes a beating. Unlike recovering from an injury where the body returns to its original level of energy and strength, my chronic illnesses could knock me back one, two, or more steps. This makes returning to my former workout level difficult. To avoid a setback, it is important that I adjusted my expectations and find ways to work with my chronic illness.
The first step in returning to any exercise routine after a chronic illness flare is to assess my abilities. Sounds simple, right? Wrong, that was until I was willing to let go of the expectation of returning to the level I left off at.
Depending on the chronic illness and type of flare I experience, it may take time to work back to the level I left off at. And in some cases, the damage done may not be reversible. After a flare ends, I take a moment to assess my abilities. To take inventory of my strength and stamina.
Things I consider are how far back were my abilities sent, my strength, and my abilities. Do I need to work on balance before I attempt to go for a walk? Did the flare leave me with new limitations?
Check out these fitness tips for living with chronic illness
Working out with chronic illness
In addition to resuming my workouts at a lower level, I had to learn how to work with my chronic illnesses. This meant not pushing too hard or fast to get back to where I was which often led to more setbacks.
Working out with chronic illness means finding a form of exercise that doesn’t increase my pain. It requires letting go of my pre-illness abilities and accepting that my body is not my enemy. It’s accepting what I can do when I can do it. I am currently suffering from a severe endometriosis flare. I accept that I won’t be walking miles a day anytime soon, but that doesn’t mean I have completely given up on exercising. Instead, I have modified my workouts to fit my current ability which consists of gentle stretching.
If you live with a chronic illness and struggle with exercise, ask yourself if you are being too demanding. Consider what your illness does to your body, accept its abilities as well as its limitations, and forgive it when it needs more time to recover.
Read these facts about exercise and chronic disease
I don’t think I could be that brave to work out with chronic pain can you?
About The Author
Cynthia Covert, The Disabled Diva has been living with chronic illness and pain for the past twenty years. Her diagnoses include but are not limited to fibromyalgia, psoriatic arthritis, and endometriosis. You can read more about her tips for improving life with a chronic illness on her blog. TheDisabledDivaBlog.com
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