When I was 20 I developed a form of arthritis called Ankylosin Spondelitus. I have a fairly mild case of it. In fact, technically it’s undiagnosed because it hasn’t scarred my bones enough to show up on an x-ray. But we know what it is because of the type of pain I have and the family history. I have two brothers diagnosed with the same thing. Watching them I can see how easy I have it and I’m grateful for that.
But that doesn’t mean I don’t hurt.
I have good years and bad years, good days and bad days. Regular exercise is an important part of treating this disease. I need to keep the weight off (something I struggle with) because extra pounds put extra stress and pressure on my joints. Also, I need to keep limber. The more I move the better my joints are.
How do you do that on the days when it hurts so much you don’t want to get out of bed. How do you keep up the exercise, or the writing for that matter, when you can’t bend, or sit, or walk?
I've had to learn to listen to my body, and I've had to learn to say it's okay. It’s okay not to exercise on those days, and I shouldn’t feel guilty about it. And I also shouldn’t compare myself to others who have no limitations and can work out for hours daily. It's so easy to see what others do and think I should be able to do that. But if I try to do what they do, if I overdo it, I end up hurting worse for longer so all exercise needs to be in proportion to what my body is capable of.
At the same time, the days I’m feeling good I can’t allow myself to slack off. There might not be another good day for awhile so I have to take advantage of it. It’s hard to make exercising a priority on those days, because I also have to fit in all the cleaning and errands that I’ve put off during bad days. But if I don’t take care of my body I’ll end up having more bad days.
It’s a vicious cycle and, like much of life, you have to find the balance. And you have to listen to your body. Some days I can do a brisk walk on the treadmill for an hour. But If all I can manage is a hobble for fifteen minutes I still try to do it. Then I celebrate it. It’s better than doing nothing. And it will help, every little bit helps.
I've had to learn to accept my limitations and what I can do. And I'm trying to learn to do it without feeling like a wimp. For those of you who are struggling to start an exercise program, or who have limitations as to what you can do, don't give up. The little things do count! Just keep at it and do your best.
Take care of your body because you don’t get another one.
This is so true, even a little exercise is better than none at all. As long as we keep trying, and don't give up, we're still succeeding :)ReplyDelete
Sorry to hear about your condition. You definitely need to listen to your body and try to find that balance. And like you said, on days when you're feeling good, think about how lucky you are, and get the exercise done. Plus, we always feel so much better once it's finished. (:ReplyDelete
I know a couple of people with this condition and they suffer severe pain at times. Both swear by exercise.ReplyDelete
Great point about listening to your body. It will tell you many insightful things if you only stop to listen.ReplyDelete
Thanks for participating!
Thanks for stopping by and thanks for this blog hop, it's a good one.Delete
I've not heard of this condition. I suffer from vertigo, and while I don't suffer pain, I've had to learn my limitations too. I hope you have many more good days than bad days :-)ReplyDelete
Terrific advice. You are SO right about keeping your body in check when you have limitations. I have arthritis too. FOR YEARS. I was even bed ridden for a year with it. I know pain, but arthritic people DO need to move. Even if it's a bit. And celebrating movement is good for the mind.
As you said, we shouldn't beat ourselves up. But keeping our weight down is mandatory. Excess weight on the joints cripples.
Add a bit of stretching too... AFTER the movement. Muscles and joints need to be warmed up before stretching out. I cringe when I see people in the gym stretching the moment they enter.
I hope you have all GOOD days from now on! Daily pain is so draining. I LOVE your positive attitude. Keep it up and stay well.
Thanks for contributing to the HOP....
Oh Sara! What an awful thing to live with! :/ But you TOTALLY have the right perspective. You do what you can and be happy with that. You've got to accept your limitations and work around that. I'm so glad you shared! <3ReplyDelete
I'm sorry for your pain. I think listening to one's body takes a sensitive spirit-- it's easy to try to "suck it up" and bulldoze on when our body is really telling us differently.ReplyDelete
There is a suck it up mentality, and many times that's good, it keeps us going when otherwise we would quit. I have to use that on myself because otherwise I'm pretty lazy. But there are times when it does more damage than good and a person needs to know where that line is and not cross it.Delete
Hi, S.P. My husband has Ankylosing Spondylitis. I know the pain can be really bad when he is going through a flare. I hope you have many, many good days and few bad days.ReplyDelete
Same to your husband! Wishing him the best.Delete
One of my closest friends had a degenerative bone disease, and the pain she's in some days, I don't know how she goes on. Must be so hard to get motivated, but it sounds like you have the best attitude xxReplyDelete
Suzanne @ Suzannes Tribe
I'm so sorry about your friend. I hope she has many good days. Thanks for stopping by!Delete
Sorry about your condition, but I am glad you find balance and a way to get through. This is a really encouraging post. For me, this is the first one so far that will get me on my exercise bike in the morning. Thanks.ReplyDelete
Visiting today from the blogfest
You have such a positive outlook no one would know you suffer from Ankylosing Spondylitis. I too hope you have far more good days than bad.ReplyDelete
Thanks Jen, though I will say it's easier to put on a happy face on the internet than in person.Delete
What wonderful, positive advice. Do what you can do and do something...Thank you for sharing your exercise story.ReplyDelete
Mary Montague Sikes
Thanks for stopping by. The only way to get anywhere is one step at a time, no one ever said the steps had to consecutive. We just do what we can.Delete
Finding a balance is always difficult but you keep things with such positivity, its inspiring. I love the last line, we truly don't get another body. Thanks for sharing :)ReplyDelete
We only get one try. The good thing is that our body is fairly elastic. If we've treated it poorly in the past changing our ways will help, and our body can recover from many things.Delete
I admire your positive attitude and persistence, Sara. You're a good role model for the rest of us. Thank you.ReplyDelete
Found you through the bloghop.
Hi Sara, nice to meet you. New follower here. Its good you keep yourself mobile on your good days. Have you tried yoga, it helps in all kinds of arthritis.ReplyDelete
Sara, it's good to know that you understand your body and that you know to "take it easy" and when you can exercise as much as you want.ReplyDelete
Keep strong and thanks for sharing your story.
Exactly, we have to listen to our own bodies.ReplyDelete
I had to learn fitness that adapted to my injuries from a car accident. There were some moves/exercises I just couldn't do without injuring something (like deep walking lunges). With a fitness instructor guidance (not a personal trainer) I worked out a program I could do. It's never too late. Keep trying!
Sorry about the car accident. I'm glad you were able to find someone who could help you though. It's a continuous process, isn't it?Delete
So true, what worked for one person won't work for everyone we have to be aware of what we can handle :)ReplyDelete
Exactly, Nobody is the same, so one program won't work or have the same effect on everyone. We need to know ourselves so we can help ourselves.Delete
Great attitude Sara.ReplyDelete
You have a very sensible approach. You know what works for you and you are tenacious. That's admirable and inspiring! Well done!
I used to run, and I miss those days before my knees couldn't take running long distance anymore. But I have come to find new appreciation for walking - I see more of the world around me walking than running. Your post makes me want to turn off the computer and get out moving!ReplyDelete
I think if more people understood how true that statement was, they wouldn't do half of the stuff to their body as they do. I also remember what it felt like to be in shape and feeling good and I seek that feeling again.ReplyDelete
I seek that feeling again too. It's true, some people take their body for granted, they don't realize how precious it really is.Delete
I can so relate to your post! I am sorry you are in pain. My husband's family has this and I think he does, too. I worry about my kids.ReplyDelete
I had back surgery and I know about the balance and dealing with pain. I honestly think some days they stapled and glue gunned me back together! If I over do...my back swells and I find it hard to function. I imagine it is a lot like your pain..must move to avoid being stiff, but not over do. It is difficult~ I do think gentle is best, biking maybe, walking and pilates and yoga. YOU aren't alone! I exercise in small windows of time, too~ @>-------- (((hugs)))
I agree. I have nerve issues from a repetitive stress injury in both my hands which effects my arms entirely all the way up to where they connect to my spine. I have to judge when to take it easier and not, too. Regular exercise is necessary for my health, too. I've noted. On bad days, I dial back the upper body exercise and do what I can.ReplyDelete
Hope you're having a good week. :)
I wish I had read this blog post years ago because I took my body for granted for so long. Now I'm 64 and starting to have issues related to aging.ReplyDelete
Well, if you're only starting to have age issues you're doing pretty good! The good thing about our body is that treating it right now goes a long way towards getting it back to peak performance.Delete
One body per person!ReplyDelete
Bodies need rest now and then, so just count those as your rest days, no matter how long it lasts.
Ah, that stinks...sorry to hear about your condition, but you seem to have the right attitude about it.ReplyDelete
I mean, I know you don't have much choice, but you're not giving up or giving in. It's great to hear that you keep on going and just don't lay around, feeling sorry for yourself.
Keep at it, and best wishes!
Some days I come very close to laying around feeling sorry for myself. I wrote this post on one of those days but came back and edited it on a better day. :)
Listening to your body is so important. I truly believe our bodies tell us much more than we're willing to admit or acknowledge. Thank you for sharing your story. Your tips about staying healthy are definitely important things worth sharing.ReplyDelete
Thanks! I do think our bodies could tell us so much about ourselves and being healthy if we could just listen and understand.Delete
*Hangs head in shame* Yes, mom. I try to remember this when I run, because of my ankle issue. Thanks for the reminder, Sara.ReplyDelete
I've studied this condition both when I was a drug rep. I can't remember why, though.
So sorry about your condition but you have sound advice and great attitude. I just took up yoga, so hopefully...ReplyDelete
Very true, Sara - we have to exercise and take care of our bodies, but not push beyond our limits on days when we simply can't do it.ReplyDelete
This is how I feel about my writing at the moment too - guilty that I'm not editing, but trying not to over-guilt myself, since I hope it's just a phase!
You're so right. Do what you can when you can and don't beat yourself up on the days when nothing is working.ReplyDelete
Tina @ Life is Good
Wow, you are my hero. You keep on going regardless of the struggle. Way to go!ReplyDelete
Your condition is similar to something a friend of mine has been dealing with for years now. I'll have to tell her about it. Thanks for sharing. It may just turn out to an answer for my friend.
I have heard of that. It sounds very painful.ReplyDelete
Sorry to hear about your arthritis. I just have the age related variety in a few joints and fingers, but it's mild and nothing compared to the chronic sort you are dealing with. My grandmother had it the worst and staying active was her treatment too. She mowed her own lawn until she was well into her eighties and did needle point to keep her fingers limber. But she too, knew there were days when watching movies and relaxing was the best therapy.ReplyDelete
You're grandmother sounds amazing! I hope I can stay as active as she has.Delete
You seem to have a really great attitude. Kudos to you for keeping up the exercise!ReplyDelete
Sorry to hear about the arthritis. All I can say is I hope the good days far outnumber the bad. You're smart to keep moving as much as you can.ReplyDelete
There are a few people in my world with differing levels of arthritis. One is 30 and on crutches... It's such a horrible disease... Yes I agree, we all need to look after our bodies.ReplyDelete
I'm sorry to hear about what you have to go through. I think you are wise to listen to your body on days when you don't feel you can exercise. I don't know if anyone has suggested this yet, but have you ever tried water aerobics? I did it at my local YMCA while I was pregnant- I was able to get a good work out without putting too much pressure on my joints. I think there were some women who had arthritis who were also in the same class as me.ReplyDelete
you are a strong person to deal with so much!ReplyDelete
aging stinks by itself, nevermind adding worse conditions to it!
listening to the body & dealing with its limitations are key points! thanks for sharing your inspirational story!
I'm sorry to hear about your arthritis. I imagine it must have been quite a road to acceptance on what you can and can't do when it comes to exercise, but it seems as though you've found your balance with it. Listening to your body is always so important!ReplyDelete
I'm sorry to hear about your arthritis! I hope everything turns out fine as time goes on.ReplyDelete