When my Doctor first said to me “you have ME/CFS let’s help you start your recovery”. I thought great a magic pill! But instead she said I’m going to refer you to an exercise physiologist, say what! I can barely move what made her think I was going to be able to exercise!!! Pushing that thought aside, I was willing to do it whatever it took! I mean I didn’t want to stay this way so if the Doctor had told me jump of a bridge to get better, then I would have jumped off a bridge. In other words I was going to see this exercise physiologist and give this a go, whatever it took.
I’ve been seeing my exercise physiologist for around a year now and during my first visit she gave me a total of 5 exercises to do. Sounds easy right? She went over the exercises with me and it was a struggle I could barely do them. They were 3 sets of 10 biceps curls using canned tomatoes, they weight about 500 grams, the next was 3 sets of 10 calf raises with one hand holding onto the wall, 3 sets of 5 sit to stands which is basically a squat but you sit instead, 3 sets of 5 pelvic tilts and 3 sets of 10 wall push ups.
I was also given a task of managing a small walk a few days a week. We were living a block away from the beach which was only a 5 minute walk if that, so I made it a mission to walk to the beach. I then would rest for a least 20 minutes and enjoy a chai latte as well as the scenery then walk back home.
At first these were hard and I struggled a lot, I felt a bit worse for a while after doing any of these activities. The only exercises I managed consistently were the bicep curls and the calf raises, occasionally I would do the others. The walk got neglected a little so I would have people over and they would walk with me until I was able to go by myself. Eventually I got a routine happening, the first day I walked by myself an elderly man with a walking stick over took me, I was not impressed.
Fast forward through the months to now and my walk is at a faster pace, I’m now walking 20 minutes at a good pace without a rest. I can now walk around places and stand for longer periods. I don’t feel as weak anymore, I’m starting to feel a lot stronger. I can manage a lot more exercises now and have included stretches as well as some yoga poses. Those tinned tomatoes have now been replaced by 2 kg weights, I’m hoping to replace those soon with 3 kg weights. My squats are real squats with a 2kg weight added.
It has taken a lot of hard work to get to this point, I have faced many setbacks but I have tried to keep up a routine and have been consistently keeping at it. I now feel refreshed and energised after doing any exercise activity. When I first became unwell I was unable to manage any activities. When I was given these exercises it became a goal and something to focus on. I am now able to manage so much more in my days. I think that exercise is to thank for that, it has helped me gain back strength and has given me good baseline for my energy.
If you are suffering from an illness and feel that exercise might help you, I highly recommend seeing an exercise physiologist. It can be a good place to start.
Bye for now