Can You Walk Every Day?

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by cressida, Jan 10, 2011.

  1. cressida

    cressida New Member

    I haven't been here for a while but still suffer the same symptoms I did since the last time I was here. One good thing I did do was go Gluten Free and mostly organic and mostly dairy free and lost 35 pounds. That definitely helped with the digestive system and I feel a lot better in that way for it.

    I still experience the daily pain and have bad flares with bad weather, etc. If I go for a walk, it hurts worse for several days and of course deters me from wanting to walk at all.

    My sister, who is very active (50 yrs. old - runs 5 miles several times a week, works out, does pilates, eats amazingly well, etc.) REFUSES to believe that a 10 minute walk every day will hurt me. I've tried to explain my FM pain to her but she believes it is due to my being sedentary. I used to be active too, until I was stricken with this, so I KNOW that I'm sedentary because I don't want to experience more pain than I already do. I've tried to explain to her that it's not just my muscles or bones, but HOW MY BRAIN INTERPRETS PAIN - which is what I've come to learn about Substance P.

    I want to start walking every day, but by the second day I can barely walk. I might be able to walk once a week and then suffer worse a few days and then feel well enough to try it again the next week but EVERY DAY? NO. I just haven't been able to do that.

    My question is: How may people here have been able to get into a regimen of walking every day and not suffering more pain and have ridden through the 'extra' pain to feel better than ever in the long run? Of course it is my hope to do, but in the past 10 years I haven't been able to get that far. If you have done it, could you please tell me how long you have to feel horrendous pain before you start feeling better. I'd really like to show these answers to my sister, who REFUSES to believe FM comes from anything except being sedentary and not eating properly.

  2. rockgor

    rockgor Well-Known Member

    Kina is right. people believe what they want to believe. Doesn't do
    any good to argue w/ them.

    I have CFS, and my problem is not pain but old age and lack of energy. Used
    to walk a lot. Now a couple blocks w/ the dog is about all I can do.

    Most of the posters here have said that pushing yourself to do more generally
    results in a flare rather than increased stamina or strength. Glad to hear
    the new diet is helpful.

  3. IanH

    IanH Active Member

    Trying to explain FMS to staunch exercisologists is like explaining quantum physics to a chimp.

    I don't know that using the idea that "how your brain interprets pain" is very useful or correct.
    The evidence for the illness being an immunological dysfunction is now overwhelming. The work of Prof. Alan Light has clearly shown that exercise in people with CFS and FMS induces an immunological reaction in the stretched muscle and tendons. This reaction is extensive and is what causes the extra pain, (and it is somatic pain not the brain's interpretation)which is prolonged for more than 48 hours. Substance P is only one of many neurokinins (immune system proteins interacting with the nervous system) that are involved.

    So the increase in Substance P is initiated in the immune system by many different cytokines. Why this immune reaction occurs in the first place is not really known but evidence points to infection(s) and possibly toxins causing a disrupted immune termination system. i.e. when an normal immune reaction occurs it will not turn off properly. (Immune reactions occur in everyone everyday)

    Its hard to explain this to people like your sister who believe their exercise is the answer to everything including cancer and depression. While exercise helps people cope with depression it does not cause it. Similarly exercise can help some people cope with FMS but lack of exercise definitely does not cause FMS or CFS.
    [This Message was Edited on 01/11/2011]
  4. cressida

    cressida New Member

    I struggle with this constantly. One of the biggest obstacles is trying to explain why sometimes we I can seem fine, while others I'm almost debilitated. If I had a better support system (in real life) - it would certainly relieve some of the depression that comes with this illness. I shouldn't be spending time trying to convince others, yet it seems I often am. My husband thinks that because I'm home all the time on disability, I should be 'the maid'. I try and fail miserably, which of course makes me feel worse. Then, with my sister thinking that I should just force myself to get out there and walk, and cutting the conversation short when I try to explain that even a short walk can cause 2 days of full blown pain, doesn't help things.

    Thanks Ian - for explaining it a little better. It's hard for US to comprehend, even though many of us 'study' everything we can.
  5. karynwolfe

    karynwolfe New Member

    Fibromyalgia IS improved by exercise, but not the same type of exercise that might be expected of a normal person. I did used to walk, but that's mostly just exhausting. What helped me was five minutes of light stretching per day. I gradually increased that to three times a day, for a total of fifteen minutes. Even those five minutes caused me to be nearly unable to move, let alone walk, the next day. Yes it does get worse at first, and you do flare, and you think it's impossible, but if you have FM and you push past that, it does get better. Not many get past that point, though. Not many can figure out HOW, or believe that it's helpful in the end.

    You just have to find what works for you. If you can walk five minutes a day, do it. After a week of that you find you can increase it, do it. But don't do any kind of activity expecting it to not make you worse, because it WILL. Especially light stretching, which is more beneficial than walking. But it's only temporary, in the same way that anyone who starts exercising will experience discomfort in the first couple of weeks--people with FM just have to pay for it in excrutiating pain, which is horrible, but cannot be changed.

    So if you're asking: "How may people here have been able to get into a regimen of walking every day and not suffering more pain..." That doesn't happen. You WILL suffer more pain at first...
    But the latter part of your question, "...and have ridden through the 'extra' pain to feel better than ever in the long run?" That would be me. It's not easy, so please don't expect it to be, but it's possible. :)

    The stretching I did consisted of VERY SLOW stretches that someone might do before they ran--maybe your sister can be HELPFUL and show you what she does before she runs? But you do them very very slowly and only as far as you can stretch--anything more will be damaging so don't think "if I stretch more it will help more." The first two weeks were the worst, after about a month I could do the fifteen minutes of stretching all in one shot and it became essential for me to be ABLE to move instead of being the reason I couldn't.

    If you haven't already, invest in at least an inch or two of foam for the top of your bed--it's absolutley essential with fibromyalgia to relieve pressure off of the tender points. Warning you though, you might not be able to sleep on any other bed after that ;)

  6. Toga

    Toga Member

    I like walking better then any other exercise with this DD. I can't walk outside though if its too hot or too cold. And its almost one or the other since I live in Missouri. (I like to call it Misery because of the weather.)

    Last week I decided to create a walking path inside my home. I searched the internet to find out how to figure out how to measure the length of my walking. I figured out a path through the house, counted the steps, measured my stride and found out that if I walk "my route" 8 times I've walked one half mile.

    I've done it about 4 times and let me tell you the weather inside is just fine. The dogs and the cat think I'm crazy but who are they going to tell? I'm going to continue this and see if it helps me. I don't walk really fast and I don't stroll either. I try to find my own pace and hope to increase my milage as I get better.

    I do believe that FM people can't exercise like "normals." We have to find what works for us and go very gently and increase our efforts really gradually. I also think stretching is important.

    Sometimes I put on some music and dance around for a while. But that is hard to measure and I run into furniture so bad. It makes my grandson laugh and he dances with me when he's here.

    Do what feels good for you and tell other people they don't know what they are talking about and then ask them about their garden, or their children, or their hobby. Anything to keep them from telling you how to cure yourself.

  7. Puddleglum

    Puddleglum New Member

    Good for you that you want to start some type of exercise. I chose walking. I have Lupus/MCTD & I had gained over 40 pounds on a small frame. Our muscles atrophy so quickly which makes everything worse.

    First get good shoes. I could not do 1/2 mile at first. So I set a small goal twice a wk. Then gradually I worked up to 3 miles 3-4 times a week, lost weight.

    You must stretch before and after. Have you seen a good PT? They can map out a stretching plan for you.

    Also a pool was wonderful. Its takes off the pain...problem was I am allergic to chlorine...broke my skin out. Its hard to find a salt water pool. If you can , it might be easier on you that walking.

    I did have alot of pain at first. I had to go slow, soak in a epson , hot tub & work with massage therapist. All that helps the pain.

    Dont give up! Good Luck

  8. LindaJones

    LindaJones New Member

    People who have cfs/fm have special requirements for exercise.
    Low-intensity exercise is recommended.
    If is helpful to work with a physical therapist who specializes in helping people with cfs/fm.
    Tell your sister that there are many medical conditions where people are not able to
    exercise in a "normal" way.
  9. coolma

    coolma New Member

    we don't really know 100% the cause of this illness. My specialist swears it is a central nervous system disorder, caused by a physical cause not an immunological one. So while the opinons are varied, the pain is still the same. Definitely the nervous system is involved and it has been disrupted in some way.