AIP Fitness

Fitness can be a challenge, and even more-so when you have health issues to contend with along the way.

Have you ever seen that commercial for Fibromyalgia that states that activity can help alleviate pain?

Say what?

If I move, it results in painful flares that make me want to do nothing but sit as perfectly still as possible!

There are three things to consider, however. The first is that light activity such as a gentle walk, gentle stretches, or cycling at a very light resistance does indeed help alleviate pain and keep the muscles loose, as tight muscles will also contribute to pain over time, resulting in a catch 22. What you don’t want to do is go all gung-ho on your body with a multitude of climbing, weight resistance and other such activities. Keep is slow and simple. Do only what your body will permit and allow yourself time to work up to it – even up to a gentle walk.  The third thing to consider is that the commercial does not take into account dietary changes, such as AIP that will assist your body in healing and allowing it to do more along the way. Simply, they are selling a medication and would rather you remain ill. Simple as that.

While I do some sort of activity every day, I never ever push my body further than what it tells me it is up to. It is one thing to be sore, but it is quite another to be in pain with stiff joints. It is on these days that I will participate in a very light resistance (on 1 or 2) on my DeskCyle to help alleviate the stiffness in my legs.

As a matter of fact, I am having one of those days as I write this since I spent a lot of time chasing my son around the house and clearly overdid it! But it is all worth it because I need to allow my body time to rest and recuperate as well and today, my body says no!

Now that I have made it clear how important it is to listen to your body and never ever do more than it is capable, that doesn’t mean not to improve and escalate. Since I began in December 2015, my resting heart rate is lower and I have much better endurance than I did. I maintain a heart rate of 104 on level 3 now, when it began at 130. level 2 started at 108 and is now 95 on level 2 using the DeskCycle. Each day, I cycle between 1 and 4 resistance until I meet my 15,000 revolution goal.

In addition to my Fibromyalgia, I also have to remain aware of my nerve damage that I have endured from participating in gymnastics for 12 years as a child and teen. This limits some of the movement that I can do with resistance exercises. This is one aspect I must always be conscious of since overdoing anything with my wrists can have dire consequences. To work around this, I still participate in arm exercises, but I limit the repetitions using a heavier weight and I modify the grips as not not agitate the nerves as much or as quickly. For example, I cannot do a pushup with flat hands. I must always do pushups while holding onto a dumbbell.

In short, I still follow Mark Sisson’s basic fitness outline but have modified it for my own needs and capabilities. Instead of throwing in the towel and saying I am just not capable, I modify and I try.

At first, 15,000 “steps” a day seemed quite overwhelming, but then I broke them out over my work day. If I did 1,500 steps every hour, I’d be done by the time I went home and anything extra was a bonus! The schedule is as follows:

8-9: 1,500
9-10: 3,000
10-11: 4,500
11-12: 6,000
12-1: 7,500
1-2: 9,000
2-3: 10,500
3-4: 12,000
4-5: 13,500
5-6: 15,000

That averages to a mere 25 steps a minute!

So, you may ask me, Kara, what does all this talk about steps and revolutions have to do with AIP Fitness?

Well, it has to do with the very fact that 1) You can find ways to fit fitness into any schedule (notice my work hours) 2) It is imperative you keep active throughout the day and not bunch it all in at once. 3) It’s totally possible to get and stay fit even when your body is compromised.

Remember: Go slow and listen to your body. Don’t rush and give yourself time and compassion. Improve but don’t push too hard.