Aquafit is killing me Should I keep going? (CFS/FM)

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by pepper, Sep 18, 2006.

  1. pepper

    pepper New Member

    I have had 2 wks of Arthritis AquaFit. I missed last Tues due to extreme exhaustion since I am going through a stressful time right now and stress always exhausts me.

    I managed to get there last Thurs even though I felt that I couldn't do it. Before the first class, the instructor told us that we weren't to do anything that hurt, to adjust the exercises as needed, etc.

    Because I was so exhausted, I just did what I could but the instructor, trying to motivate us, yelled at me, "Come on! You can do more than that!" Several times. I was quite embarrassed in this class full of ladies 20 yrs my senior.

    The truth is I can't keep up with those 80 yr old arthritic ladies! I did what I could, which was probably too much, and within an hour I was in agony. By supper time I could no longer sit up and couldn't sit up until the next morning.

    The extra exhaustion and pain lasted for 3 days and now I am wondering if I should even go back to these classes that I have paid for.

    Before the first class I told her that I have FM/DDD/OA - didn't mention CFS for the same reasons many of us don't. I'm tired of trying to explain it and hearing that they must have that too because they are so tired or whatever.

    My next class is tomorrow and I am trying to decide if I should go back. What do you think? Should I go and talk to her before the class and explain? What should I explain since nobody understands these DD's anyways?

    Any thoughts?
  2. FriendonthePath

    FriendonthePath New Member

    this is too advanced for your condition.

    I would keep going but take control.

    Tell your instructor that her class caused you to have a FMS attack and that you will stand in the back of the class and go YOUR OWN PACE.

    Be firm and tell her that you may leave early if you feel exhausted again (and do leave early if you have to).

    Inform her that you really do need to go your own pace for this to be therapeutic and you are not supposed to push yourself to go too fast or too long.

    Remember... she works for you ;-)
  3. zenouchy

    zenouchy Member


    It is obviously your decision ultimately, but anytime I have ever gone to a class, whether it was before I had fibro, or after the diagnosis, I always felt like I had to keep up with everyone else. The class instructor always feels like it is his/her job to keep everyone motivated and tell them to push just a little bit more, which is exactly the opposite of what someone with fibro/CFS needs.

    I always have done much better doing a tape at home, doing my own exercise to music at home, etc. OR, perhaps if you have learned some of the moves from the class (I know it hasn't been that long yet), you can go to a free swim and do some of the moves you learned at the pool where you don't have someone urging you to do more.

    There's many different kinds of arthritis, as you well know. My mom has a much different kind of arthritis than me and endless energy while I have to sleep half the day sometimes so I don't think this class was designed for folks with CFS/fibro- it was designed for folks with another type of arthritis.

    If you really like the class, you might try going back one more time and talking to her once more. I'm wondering, did she yell at the class to push harder? Or did she yell at YOU specifically? The exercise class is for you. She is not your boss, and you can tell her once more in a nice but firm way to leave you alone, but if this is already getting too adversarial, then this may be the writing on the proverbial wall that the class may not be a match for you. The bottom line is that you need to take care of your health. You can tell the gym that you expect to be given your money back for obvious reasons. Let us know how it goes.

    All the best, Erika
  4. Redwillow

    Redwillow New Member

    Hi Pepper

    A lot of people really don't have a clue how we crash if we push too hard. How could they really? Even when we explain they just don't get it.

    Your swim instructor is trained to motivate people. She wouldn't understand that often this kind of pressure to us is overwhelming.

    I think this is one of the reasons why I hesitate to get into any kind of exercise program. I went to physio therapy this spring, my husband really wanted me to give it a try.

    The therapist assured me that she had worked with several FM patients and she knew exactly what I should be doing.

    Well because she was busy and often had more then one patient at the same time she would be working with ultra sound on one patient while I was supposed to be on the floor doing exercises while she watch to see if I was doing them right.

    I would sometimes be there for 2 hours or more. Often sitting around at different stages of the therapy waiting for my turn for ultra sound or whatever.

    I think the ultra sound and accupunture was probably good for me but the long appointments weren't. Also the bright lights and all the noise of several patients being treated at once was exhausting. More than once I started crying because I felt overwhelmed.

    So as you can imagine I quit. At the same time I was angry with myself because I seem to have problems sticking to any kind of fitness program.

    I know its not healthy being at home 24/7 but I find that I need almost complete peace and quiet to exist. Somedays I think I feel like I live in a bubble.

    hugs Marion (Redwillow)
  5. jaime13

    jaime13 New Member

    The instructure sounds like a real jeck-you should complain. No one should make you feel inferior or out of shape, they are there to help you not hurt you. You shouldn't be made to feel embrassed either, you are doing the best you can- I would explain your sitution and if it doesn't improve I would definatly report her-she doesn't feel have an understanding of your problem and needs to be education.
  6. Marta608

    Marta608 Member

    My first reaction to your question about whether you should keep going is, Why would you? but then I read friendonethepath's reply and agree that that would be worth a try. I woudn't push though, if that doesn't work.

    Martyrs we're not.

  7. butterfly83

    butterfly83 New Member

    I'd stop going. Pool is good, but maybe you should just go on as an individual (or with a friend), instead of doing a class, if its really not benefitting you. These classes are supposed to HELP and not hurt, so if its killing you trying to keep up, and its embarrassing to have teachers yell at you to work harder.. go on your own and just do your exercises at your own pace. You know yourself best anyway. A teacher can't feel what hurts and what helps.
  8. pepper

    pepper New Member

    First of all, I gave a wrong impression when I said that she "yelled" at me. She is very very nice but has to "yell" in order for us to hear over the music and the noise of all the bodies moving in the water, and of course the echos in the pool. It was not done in a mean way at all - she was just trying to motivate. I can see myself doing the same thing when I used to teach Aerobics (a lifetime ago).

    Friendonthepath, I think that the class is too advanced for me but I might continue to go but at my own pace. I think I will tell her that I had a bad FM flare after the last class. I am sure that she will be okay with it, even if she doesn't understand it. She used to teach the FM class but I don't know if she has worked with anyone as out of shape as I am.

    Carla, you are so right. I am feeling the negative energy toward the class already. And my DH is telling me that "It has to hurt before you feel better!" Boy, I wish he'd never heard that one because he can twist it around to fit anything! I am going to try explaining it to her and see what happens.

    Erika, I used to be a teacher and taught Aerobics at night so I know exactly what she is doing. :) She was yelling at me specifically about trying harder but I am sure it was just part of her motivation. She was smiling while she said it and wasn't adversarial. I am super-sensitive because I used to be able to lead these classes and want to do well. People-pleaser that I am. Dumb!

    And I used to do exercise tapes at home until DH retired. Now I have no privacy, no quiet, no place to do them without him crash-banging into the room.

    Marion, boy do I know how you feel about just wanting to hibernate. It is just so much easier that way. I was so hoping that AquaFit would give me something to do away from DH and the house as well as address my recently dx DDD. My massage therapist encouraged me today to keep at it because any movement in the water especially is better than the no movement I have been doing lately.

    I have been going for physio for several weeks for the DDD and I am in and out in less than an hour, lying down the whole time. And there are curtains around me so I can close my eyes and relax while the ultrasound is on, then while the electrical machine is on and then when I have the warm towels on my back. It is relaxing. Maybe you could find a physio that would be more private?

    Jaime, I am afraid I misrepresented the instructor. She made a mistake when she reprimanded me in front of everyone I think so maybe I have to make it clear that I cannot keep up with the 80 yr olds, strange as it may seem to them.

    Yes, marta, I think I am going to speak with her tomorrow and give it a try. I just don't know how to take it easy but I am going to try it tomorrow. I hope that works.

    Thanks for your opinions. I am going to try it tomorrow after I have told her that the last class put me in a FM flare that lasted 3 days. I am sure that she wouldn't want that!


    Edit: Butterfly, we were posting at the same time. You are right, this should help not hurt. I will try to explain it to her tomorrow and if she doesn't understand, I am out. If she does, I will stay to the back and try to do about 25% of the class. I'll let you know if that works.[This Message was Edited on 09/18/2006]
  9. IntuneJune

    IntuneJune New Member

    I am certified by the Arthritis Foundation to teach THEIR arthritis class.

    It is virtually a no impact class, walking (1) normally, (2) like a tin soldier and (3) majorette which is the extent of the aerobic aspect. No bouncing at all. Range of motion exercises make up the specific exercises. The exercises are very specific and drawn out and explained in the instructor's manual.

    I have taken that premise, followed their format to a "T" but have formulated a class of relaxation in movement to a meditation CD (which is absolutely wonderful. For 45 minutes we flow through the water and after the class I have a group of participants who are so totally relaxed they complain they have to get out of the pool.

    From the above posting, I know YOU know what you need to do. So, go at your own pace.

    I found when I intially tried the aquatic classes, not the Arthritis Foundation class), I lost tract of how hard I was working... then flared.....

    Hope you can find that perfect blend!!!

    Love, June
  10. pepper

    pepper New Member

    There is no other teacher and not even another class that I can get to until at least Jan., maybe not then either. The FM class might be better but it is at 11 a.m. and I am not functional that early in the morning.

    June, I cannot believe what you said! We were bouncing, bouncing, bouncing all through the classes. The music is 60's pop music. Gliding is the last thing we would be doing in that class.

    I am really going to have to make a lot of adjustments and figure out how to avoid the bouncing which is exactly what I think aggravated the DDD in my lower back!

    I really appreciate your advice.
  11. spacee

    spacee Member

    I started on warm water therapy one on one (not a class). I exercises for 5 minutes with an instructor, rested 5 minutes and then did 5 minutes more.

    I did this 3 days a week and IT WAS TOOO MUCH. The physical therapist cut it back to two days a week.

    He said that I would not see any improvement for 3 months but THEN I would be able to join the 80 year old people's 30 min. class three times a week. Good Golly, but he was RIGHT.

    I have come a long way since those years (about 10 years ago) and can now do yoga and walk at the mall.

    Slow down, sweetie and don't let her intimidate you!

    Hugs, Spacee
  12. ephemera

    ephemera New Member


    Your post caught my eye. Tonight I was in the warm water pool I've gone to for several years for my walking, etc.

    I met the new instructor for the twinges & hinges class (FM & arthritis). For the first time she was "doing the routine so I can know how it feels." I almost fell over as she has no way of knowing "how it feels." I guess it was her attempt to "walk a mile" in someone else's shoes.

    She doesn't have any chronic pain problems. She teaches another aerobics class & is interesting in going to nursing school sometime...

    Then she said she'd never asked any of the women in the class "their goals."

    It was at that point I started to talk with her. She'd never spoken with anyone with FM/CFIDS. I told her some of the classmates would be there to hopefully lower pain levels, others for arthritis & mobility, some for just feeling good in warm water, others for range of motion or muscle development, some for just comraderie with this crazy disease.

    I talked about symptoms & problems & how our bodies react. She seemed amazed at immune problems, dozens of medications, lack of progress (or too much regression, etc.). This was all in the space of about 10-12 minutes, then we went our separate ways when the pool time was up. It was not much of an education, but maybe I gave her a few things to think about before her next class.

    Who knows, your instructor also may have no clue about chronic pain & fatigue that is so way beyond the perceived tiredness. I'd try to talk with the instructor if you're going to make an attempt to get something from the experience. Good luck & best wishes.
  13. DorothyVivian

    DorothyVivian New Member

    I've had similar difficulties as you describe. Mine were in a yoga group and in a physical therapy group movement class conducted in a pool. In both settings, I described to the yoga instructor and the physical therapist (who has a doctorate in physical therapy and claimed to "know all about" fibromyalgia and CFIDS)my functional limitations. In both situations, my expressed limits were not honored and I was treated as though I should be trying harder. "Oh, you can do a few more--that's very much", etc.

    I had been looking forward to these experiences believing it would help reduce the pain of my sore muscles and to gradually increase my tolerance of physical activity. Not so. Instead, I felt continually shamed and very embarassed that I "couldn't keep up". What a crock!! Way too often, I was compared to others who did not have the complicating illnesses I have. An overall attitude of competition pervaded the place.

    No one ought to be subjected to competiveness in a situation which is supposed to be healing.

    I found myself feeling as I did in junior high school when I objected to playing field hockey after being beat up by larger and stronger girls and the P.E. instructor ridiculed me.

    In my youth, and before I became very ill, I played tennis, went on long solo hikes for miles in the mountainous wilderness during my childhood in Wyoming. So, I am not afraid of strenuous activity, per se. And, I'm not afraid of competition if I choose to be in a contest of some sort.
    I just resent being pressured to engage in any activity which adds substantially to the pain I endure 24/7!!I especially resent it when it becomes part of a pressuring competitive agenda by someone who has not truly understood the nature of the conditions I cope with and has only shallow, abstract knowlege of them by hearsay.

    Further tension was caused me by a masseuse who spoke little English (she came from China recently) and became aggressive towards me in the women's dressing room when I refused to allow her to give me a massage. I first tried to diplomatically explain I was not up to driving the distance to the location where she gave massages (at her house).

    Evidently, she didn't accept my explanation. While I was laying on a treatment table awaiting the physical therapist she came up to me and stuck her knuckle into the top of my thigh, and when I said "OUCH!"...she said, "Oh, you are too need a massage!" I clearly said "Oh, NO!". And, she kept pestering me even after I reported this to the head therapist. The tension of her presence, the stench of chlorine, and the pressure to fulfill the PT's directions to "try more" finally caused me to dread these visits. I stopped going there after repeated efforts to get across my needs for gentleness and kindness to the director and staff.

    I'm totally fed up with the ignorant, uncaring and shallow responses of people who surely could and should know otherwise.

    Put more briefly, Pepper, I believe what I must do is to tell those who are supposed to give me gentle, caring help that this is what I require. And to tell them I cannot and will not accept pressuring to 'keep up' or to 'try harder'..that is exactly what I do not need! I do not need to tolerate more discomfort and pain imposed by anyone.

    Just as all of us here need to do--You and I must protect ourselves from pressuring competitive people. After all, what's the contest?

    Take good care of yourself, dear friend!

    With love, Dorothy
  14. pepper

    pepper New Member

    I read all these posts before I left for AquaFit today. I explained to the instructor that I am much more disabled than I appear and that I was going to be taking it easy and doing a lot of gliding, no bouncing from now on. I told her that I was still just recovering from last Thursday's workout.

    She was fine with it and left me alone. I took it very easy and did a lot of slower movements and am not at all sore tonight.

    Want to hear something funny? Half the class has left and joined a morning class because this one wasn't strenuous enough! Sheesh!

    Thanks for all your help in dealing with this. It should be okay if I can just remember to do what I did today.
  15. Slayadragon

    Slayadragon New Member

    Maybe if before the class you talked to one of the other participants in the class (someone who seemed sympathetic in general) and mentioned that you've been very ill and that the class is too advanced for you but that you want to do what you can, you'd feel better about it. Sometimes just having someone nearby who understands can make you feel okay about something even if no one else does.

    I'd have a non-combative talk with the teacher too.....just to say that the class pace is too hard for you and that she should be aware of that in the event that you're not keeping up.

    I used to take yoga classes, and after the instructor knew I was sick, she was extremely supportive and tended to make a point to ask if I was all right if it seemed I was getting shaky (and never questioned me if I just rested when I felt like I had done enough). I didn't really care about what the other class members thought, but I realize that not everyone has that attitude about life and might be embarrassed.

    If the Aquafit (at a lower level than what other people are doing) seems to have the potential of helping you, I'd see if I could keep going in a way that made me feel good about it, though.
  16. rosemarie

    rosemarie Member

    I took a smiilar class called Hydrofit and there is a web site for it. It shows you all the exercises and how to do them and it stresses that this form of exercises are to be down at your own speed not that of the instructor.

    She owes you an aplogy as you were following her instructions at the beginning of the class to do all exercise's at your own rate. And she embarassed you and caused you to not want to attend the class. And it is exhusting to do, I tryed to go to my class's at least 3 times a week but it usually was only 2 x a week because It would take a day to recover from it and my class's were at 9:30 -10:30 pm and it took time to come down from exercising.

    I liked my class but I had other problems come up so that I missed out on attending it and since my class is taught in a out door pool it is only taught during the summer and now is not the time.

    I can go to once of the schools that have this class during the winter months but I am not sure I want to do so as they are all taught at night. Yes they have morning classes at 6 am and I am not up then, so I don'tgo to thoses.

    I hope that you look up the hydrofit website and check out the exrcises that are on the site. Just add the www to the hydrofit and a .com and your there.
    Take care and don't over do.

  17. pepper

    pepper New Member

    Lisapetrison, thanks for the suggestion and it just so happens that I did talk to another lady yesterday. She asked me what was wrong with me when she overheard me talking to the instructor and I mentioned Fibromyalgia and she was immediately sympathetic.

    I heard all about her 33 yr old daughter who has CFS/FM! We sat and chatted for a long time after the class which was really nice. She said she admired me for going to AquaFit! I have a new friend!

    Thenks, rosemarie, I am going to check out that web site and see what the exercises are like. I am not hurting after yesterday's class so I must have worked more within my limits.

    Donnaeil, you are right. I cannot do anything besides these classes on those days. I hope that eventually I will be able to cook a meal but I sure can't do that yet. After I spoke to the instructor, she told the class that the hardest part of the class is just getting there - and it will be even harder once the snow falls.

    She was really nice about it all and I am glad that I spoke to her.


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