“Both abundance and lack [of abundance] exist simultaneously in our lives, as parallel realities. It is always our conscious choice which secret garden we will tend." - Sarah Ban Breathnach

Monday, July 13, 2009


(on a side note -- I used to love Jonny Quest!)

I've decided that I am on a quest. Before chronic fatigue, I was not exactly a health nut, but I loved being healthy. I never felt better than when I was a young adult with a gym membership. My husband met and married me because of that hard body! (Yeah, maybe for a few other reasons, too. ;) Even once I started having babies and couldn't make it out of the house regularly, I still maintained a work out routine from home. Exercising just made me feel so good.

Needless to say, since chronic fatigue, my exercise routine fell to zero. I lost muscle, and my body fat percentages sky rocketed. I added some gentle yoga, but it was more for relaxation than anything else. It didn't seem to help my growing belly and bottom. In the back of my mind, there's this little voice that keeps telling me that no exercise at all just isn't right! It is unhealthy, and I'm afraid that if I stay here, I will be working against my body and hindering my recovery.

So, I am on a quest to find out how to exercise without triggering post-exertional malaise. I have some ideas -- it seems like prolonged aerobic activity is the culprit. Perhaps intermittent "spurts" of aerobic activity with rests in between to return the heart rate to normal would be tolerated. I actually tried this on Saturday at my mom's house. The kids were all swimming, and I was sitting in the shallow end taking it easy. Finally, I couldn't take it any more, so I swam a lap. Oh, such daring! I let my heart rate come back down, and then I did it again! I got at least five laps in that way. And I didn't crash that day, or the next. Maybe I'm onto something?

Disclaimer: I do have CFS, so my "experiments" are completely dependent on pacing and how I'm feeling day to day. Don't expect any "results" to magically appear any time soon!


Renee said...

Super! I hope that works for you Shelli. I ams oooooo out of shape and having had to be almost bedridden or sofa bound makes a trip to the curb and back exhausting...still, I have been thinking about making that my goal..starting small..once a week, then twice a week,e tc. ANything to add some kind of exercise and give my heart what it needs!
Sounds like you are on to something.

Treya said...

Good luck with it Shelli. Just take it slowly!!! Yoga would be great if you could stick it out as it's a great all rounder. Swimming sounds good too. Walking too.

I personally wouldn't do anything more aerobic. I used to be big into health and fitness before I got sick. I got over excited with a return to exercise––cycling, tennis, yoga, and had a bad relapse which has left me where I am now.

You should see yourself loose some weight on your new anti yeast diet...

Sue Jackson said...

You're on the right track, Shelli. Aerobic exercise definitely triggers it. I do what you're describing. If I'm taking a walk or a hike with my family or even doing a little weeding in the yard (very little!), I stop and rest when I feel my heart rate increasing too much. I rest until my heart rate comes back down and then I continue. Mind you, I still have limits as to how much I can do overall, but taking breaks to allow my heart rate to come back down definitely helps extend my stamina a little.

Also, don't discount yoga - studies show even gentle yoga can help build muscle.

Good luck - take it very slow and easy!!!


alyson said...

Hi Shelli,

I joined your blog recently. I, too, have not been able to do any sort of meaningful exercise for years, and I miss it very much. I'll be interested in what you discover on your quest.

Dusty Bogwrangler said...

This is all very interesting. I know some activity makes me crash while others don't and haven't yet worked out the difference. Maybe it's in the heart rate. I'll experiment.

I rate Pilates. Josef Pilates was very sick and invented an exercise regime to get himself back to health. It's similar to Yoga but I find it much easier. It doesn't have the spiritual dimension but you can always build that in somehow. My problem is finding, attending and affording classes. I used to have them as part of my gym membership in the good old days.

Shelli, I wish you all the best in your quest and shall be watching with interest.

me/cfs warrior said...

Good luck with this! I plan on asking my doctor next week how to lose weight while having cfids. I used to be really thin but have gained 40 pounds since getting ill!

I haven't a clue as to how to go about getting reconditioned.

I too have heard good things about Yoga.