I’ve never been athletic. At best I was in a big 10 marching band in high school, which was very physical. In the early ’70s I became enamored of gymnastics and gave that a whirl. First time on the uneven parallel bars I face planted on the mat. It didn’t hurt, but everyone around me was horrified. Of course I took swimming lessons as a kid. I made it through beginning lessons just fine. In intermediate swimming, we had to swim across the pool. I didn’t drown, I wasn’t going to drown. I was just a little tired and paused and treaded water. Before I could start swimming again, this massive lifeguard (probably a scrawny high school kid) whisked me out of the water. I failed intermediate swimming. I’m a world class floater, however. Well that didn’t sound quite right…
So as an adult: I can’t run, especially on uneven surfaces. My knee gives out every time. Walking is good – except most days when I take a solid walk, my hands and feet swell, and very often it knocks me on my butt. Strolling is safe. I can stroll. Exercising in a pool is probably the best there is, but let’s face it, self-consciousness rears its ugly head, and I can’t swim laps because what little I learned of how to swim is out of my head. I’d like to take an adult swimming class, and that may be one of my next experiments. I’ve always done light stretching which keeps my joints moving but does little else in terms of symptoms. And last winter I did the Crossfit bootcamp, which started all this, because the results in terms of fibro symptoms were amazing.
Unfortunately, going to the next step, Silver Nanos, was not great. Even as I continued to exercise twice a week, both physically and mentally I started to slide. The difference was in the type of exercises, I think. While bootcamp was butt-kicking aerobic exercises, Nanos incorporated weight lifting, and there was less sustained aerobic exercises. The solution was moving into SWEAT, a class that is much more like the original bootcamp. I think this would be effective, but it’s later at night, and I just can’t handle getting up at 5:45 AM and getting home at 9:30 PM. The days are too long, which I think actually works against the benefits of the class. I’m stepping away from extreme exercise for now. I’m absolutely convinced that at least for me, the punishing aerobic exercise – without the weightlifting strengthening exercises – is what I need. I have to find a class that doesn’t give me 16 hour days. BUT starting next week I’m going to try something completely different.
I got into a research study that is looking at Forrest yoga and chronic pain. The focus is not on fibromyalgia specifically, and the person doing the study originally was looking at chronic back pain. Either way, I’m in! I have 8 weeks of free classes twice a week. I don’t really know what Forrest yoga is except that the instructor will be putting us in poses and adjusting us. There’s a lot of breathing. I think if you compare Crossfit and Forrest yoga, you’ll find them on the opposite ends of the spectrum. It’s worth a try and will keep me in an exercise program of some sort until after the holidays, when I may try another bootcamp.
One of the things that I’ve always noticed from day 1 is that what helps today, may not help in six months. It’s like the body thinks of ways to fight off positive forces the same way it fights off germs. Maybe one of the keys of fibromyalgia symptom management is constantly changing things up, keeping your body guessing.
No doubt, however, exercise helps manage fibromyalgia symptoms, but everyone is different. Everyone has started at a different physical point when they develop fibromyalgia. What is extreme exercise for some people is a walk in the park for others. If fibro has a motto, that’s it: What helps some people may not help others. Fingers crossed for Forrest yoga.