Have you seen the ad all over? Cause I'm just going to reveal the secret and blow the lid off the weight loss industry. No more belly fat. No more thigh flab. And best of all? You don't have to give me your email address, phone number. Nothing.
Are you ready? Cause it's comin'.
Here they are:
1. Eat less.
2. Move more.
Sigh...sorry for the anti-climactic reality. :(
When you would like to make physical changes to your body, there really is no way around the two above tips. But for you folks who are in chronic pain most of the time, it's exceptionally tough.
Many people with chronic pain, including arthritis, fibromyalgia, chronic myofascial pain, can struggle just to get through an hour of NO exercise, let alone an hour of focused movement. I have many students come to my taiji classes hoping for a miracle that will ease their pain. They've told me stories of getting a new gym membership and trying a cycling class or yoga and staying in bed for a week due to the unbearable pain it caused. Or just vacuuming before people come to visit and never being able to enjoy their guests because the next morning, their bodies felt painfully cemented in place. Or they've tried just taking a walk, but the natural swinging of their arms put them into such a cycle of pain, that they just gave up.
If this sounds familiar don't fret. There are possible solutions. Taiji and yoga are lovely options, but they aren't simple, easy routines for every body. Many styles are extremely strenuous and depending on the teacher, options and modifications may not be available.
So, what is a person in chronic pain to do? Well, here are TWO OLD WEIRD TIPS!
Old Weird Tip ONE:
Make a list of all of your weekly activities that require movement:
1. Grocery shopping
2. Washing, drying and putting dishes away
5. Yard work
6. Animal care
These are activities for daily living and they all require movement. If you are doing any or all of these, wonderful (my next post will focus on YOU)! For those who have given these activities to family members or friends due to your pain level, then this is where you begin, young grasshopper, to add movement back into your life.
Don't take on all of the household chores. The next time dishes need to be put away, allow yourself to do it. OR (not AND), if there is laundry to separate, separate it. Then it's time for Old Weird Tip #2.
Old Weird Tip TWO:
Write down how you feel as you add movement back into your life. Did you have pain? Where is the pain? What was the movement? Did you do too much? Next time, do only one load of laundry. Or, empty the top half of the dishwasher. Do you feel like you could have done more? Add one of your chores to your list. Do you feel good? Stay the course!
The hardest part of movement and chronic pain is being patient with trying to figure out what is enough movement and what is too much. Sometimes it feel as though the line is so incredibly thin, you'll want to give up. Be exceptionally patient with yourself. There will be times that you will do too much. And times when you won't. Just keep actively doing what you can and build only when you've had good, stable success with your current activities.
For those who are moving actively through the day, I have other suggestions including NOT starting weight bearing exercises. Just say no for now. For chronic pain, e a s i n g into movement is vital. Actively working on posture and relaxation is a perfect way to enter. How? Next post, gentle reader.
An additional thought:
First of all, I've grown to dislike the meaning behind the word "exercise." I like "be a goofball" instead. As adults, sadly, we can't run down the street like a maniac with our arms flailing about yelling "whoop! whooooop! whooooooop!" Or like Pheobe in "Friends" . That was just awesome.