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How to Keep Moving When Fatigue Flares Up

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Do you have a diagnosis of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or Fibromyalgia? Are you stressed out burning the candle at both ends? Do you have joint pain that just wears you out? Or are you a mom that hasn't had a good night sleep in nearly a decade?

If you can say yes to any of these, then you understand the very REAL and very DEBILITATING nature of fatigue.  

It's not being sleepy or lazy or achy.  It's total worn out. It's can't pull your body out of bed. It's an exhaustion that's even painful at times.  

When fatigue like this flares up in your life how do you keep moving? 

I know actual exercise is absolutely the last thing on your list.  And it's true that exercising the wrong way can wreck havoc on your health in this state. Exercising "the right way" is the key piece to improving energy and returning to optimal health.

You see, even short periods of inactivity (a few days or weeks) can produce deconditioning, muscle weakness, pain, stiffness, and depression.  An exercise program can help you reverse that downward spiral in order to increase energy, decrease pain, improve sleep, and elevate your mood.  

What is the "right" type of exercise?

First, let me clear up what the wrong type of exercise is . . . anything that leaves you feeling more exhausted.  That would include long runs, intense spin classes, and max weight lifting.

The result of these exercises, especially if they last more than 30 minutes will be an increase in stress hormones.  They will further wear down your body and add to your fatigue.  

Think restorative exercise.  The kind that leaves you feeling motivated, energetic, and empowered.  If you haven't found a type of movement practice that gets you this result, then read on for some examples. 

Start by improving your flexibility through yoga, pilates, or Tai Chi.  Find something that resonates with you and allows you to feel calm and reset your stress meter. 

Next, improve conditioning for heart and lung health by walking.  Start with just 10 minutes and try to increase to do this three times a day.  The benefits will be even greater if you can get outside for some vitamin D and fresh air. 

Gradually improve muscle strength. Do not fear - especially if you have tried traditional gym workouts and crashed! Start with body weight exercises like counter pushups and mini squats.  Add in weights or resistance bands as you are able to tolerate.  The goal though is to work harder than you do in everyday life for a short period of time.  

Still not sold on exercise?

Research indicates that regular exercise can help fatigue even in patients with chronic conditions such as heart disease, cancer, and autoimmune disease. They found that expending energy can actually increase energy in the long run.

However, you must use common sense.  You must find ways to keep your stress hormones down and allow yourself adequate self-care to recover.

And in an ideal scenario, you will progress these activities with a healthcare professional who can walk you through the process safely.  They will be able to break down the seemingly impossible task into mini steps you can make with ease. 

An expert guide will always be your best bet to the most effective and time efficient recovery.  To get your questions answers about progressing exercise or to address concerns about exercising with pain or stiffness, request a one on one chat with a Doctor of Physical Therapy today. Click the link below to set up your call.