Exercise Woes and Gratitude

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I am now thankful everyday for everything that I can do. I have clients, friends, and family members who hurt a lot more than I do. But every once in a while I just wish I could still do what I used to do — without pain and/or debilitating fatigue.

Here’s a little history (not that you asked!) … When I was in my 20’s I realized that I got depressed. I took medication and got counseling – both helped.

When I was in my 30’s I discovered that writing myself a “prescription” for exercise was a great anti-depression boost with no side effects. I have used exercise in combination with as-needed counseling ever since. And this strategy seems to hold my depressive tendencies at bay.

Since I started to experience RA symptoms, it has become harder to follow my “normal” exercise routine. At first I just pooped out and said, “oh well I’m just too tired for anything extra.” Definitely not good thinking for my mental or physical state! Since learning about the benefits of exercise for RA, I have re-tooled my approach.

Now instead of 4-5 days a week of hard exercise (90-min. Power Vinyasa yoga or workouts with a personal trainer friend), I am aiming for 5-6 days a week of light to medium exercise. So far that has included 1-2 days of Bikram yoga, a long walk or two, and some sessions with the Wii Fit Plus. I have to plan carefully because my job as a massage therapist is physical too, which tends to wear me out when combined with exercise.

I know this is a lot more intense exercise than many other RA’ers can do each week. And for that I am incredibly grateful. I will keep hanging in there because for me exercise is 75% about my mind and 25% about my body. I’d really like to avoid adding an antidepressant to the ever growing list of meds.

So I guess that despite the title … this turned out to be a lot more gratitude than woes.

1 Comment

  1. Jackie
    Dec 30, 2009

    I have had RA for almost three years now. I feel the same way about exercise. I’m sure this will sound strange to some, but I didn’t really start exercising until after I was diagnosed. Genetically I have been blessed with a thin frame and have always been able to keep my weight under control. But, I think the RA was a big wake up call and I quickly learned that exercise actually helped my mind as well as toning up my body. I limit myself to the elyptical machine and weights….nothing hard on my joints. There are times that I have to skip the gym due to inflammation, but those days are few and far between. So, I too….am grateful.

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