When Exercise Really Hurts

In my work with people with Fibro and other chronic illnesses, I talk non-stop about the importance of exercise. It’s not as if this is some great big secret. I believe we have reached a point in history where we all know exercise is one of our lifelines. For people with Fibro, however, this can be tricky. When a person wakes up in pain every day, it is hard to imagine walking to the shower, never mind heading to the gym, the bike or the treadmill. It just feels impossible sometimes. But here’s the thing; exercise helps. It’s the mental hurdle we have to overcome first.

When I am in pain, and I tell myself that the pain will get worse if I exercise, I’m just not going to do it. That’s human nature. We are built to avoid pain. So, in order to get to the good part, I need to get past my own mind. Instead of telling myself it’s going to hurt more, I’m going to tell myself it might hurt some, but it will feel better afterwards. And this is the truth. Exercise produces endorphins, a natural pain killer and mood elevator. We love endorphins. The more, the merrier! Exercise also loosens stiff muscles and joints, improves oxygen flow, digestion and sleep quality. And who doesn’t want that??

The beginning can be hard. It means surmounting that first hurdle – your mind. It means taking baby steps. It might mean starting with a 10-minute walk and then resting for an hour. Honestly, it doesn’t matter where you start, it only matters THAT you start. Increase a little tiny bit every day. The first few days might not feel great, but you will reach the turning point, I promise. And you will never look back. If you are looking for a helpful tool to help you take control of your chronic illness, try the “Everything Tracker: The Ultimate Comprehensive CBT Toolkit.”

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