Saturday, October 23, 2010

Moving About

Physical activity is very important to me. I enjoy getting out and running or riding my horse. Lupus is not going to crimp my activity. Or should I say I haven’t let it. Granted when I had my first flare before I was diagnosed with lupus, I wasn’t allowed to ride. But once given the okay, I was back on whipping my horse into shape.

Exercising while having lupus can be challenging, believe me I know. My joints ache, I’m foggy, and I just feel icky. Luckily I have been gifted with motivation. So I put on the running shoes and hit the road. It doesn’t always feel good physically, actually it tends to really hurt but emotionally it is empowering. Same with riding. A person can scream and what not as much as they like to whilst they run or ride (within reason some horses don’t appreciate it.) Observers think nothing of it. They just look at me like I have about five heads. I’m cool with that.

Another aspect of lupus I battle while exercising is the dreaded stiffness. I am stiff in the morning, mid-day and night. Naturally I am stiff but lupus has only made it worse. I do stretch and it helps to keep what little bit of flexibility I have intact. If I do not stretch and exercise almost every day, I turn into a board. Quite literally. My whole body tends to lock up and that’s not good. Then it takes at least a week to get back my tiny bit of flexibility.

Now, I do test my physical boundaries from time to time. And I regret it for the next week. Pushing myself harder does nothing for me it actually does more harm than good. Every now and then I have a day where I feel almost normal again. Those would be the days where I also try to exercise like I was normal again. Learn from my mistake: just because lupus gives you a bit of a day off don’t go scaling mountains. It’s a very bad idea and tends to result in a weeklong saga of very bad days. Been there, done that.

One of the most important things to remember when exercising is to pace your self. I have spent over a year building up my stamina so I can ride my horse for an hour. Generally I don’t even last that long. At first, I only lasted 15 minutes tops. Take things slowly there is no rush to go farther faster. Unlike before I had lupus, my body has a major opinion about everything. Taking things slowly gives the body a chance to form a somewhat positive opinion about physical activity (it helped me anyways…).

After exercising I am wiped. Most people after they are done exercising feel a little rise in energy. I feel the exact opposite. Comparable to an avalanche, all of my symptoms come roaring down on me. I really don’t appreciate it either.

Being physically active while having lupus is possible. Just be careful and listen to your body. Pain equals no gain.

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