“I really need to exercise, but I just don’t feel like it.” I’m ashamed to admit it, but I say this at least once a week. Have you ever found yourself saying something similar?
As someone who worked in the fitness industry for years, I know the importance of exercise, not only for fibromyalgia, but for our general health. That doesn’t mean it’s not a struggle though.
Most of us have probably been told by our doctors that exercise is beneficial for fibromyalgia, and I know from experience that it’s true. The problem is that we are almost always in pain and feeling fatigued. It’s easy to make excuses not to exercise, and once we start down that slippery slope, it’s hard to stop the slide.
There’s a difference in not wanting to exercise and needing to take time off from it though. There are definitely times we need to take recovery days. Each person is different, and each of us needs to listen to our bodies. Nobody knows us better than we know ourselves, and if we know we need to take a recovery day, we should allow ourselves to take it without feeling bad about it. My problem is that sometimes I just can’t tell if I really shouldn’t exercise or if I just don’t want to.
So how do we figure out if we should exercise or not? Asking ourselves a few questions about our real motivations for not exercising might help. Here are some that have been helpful for me:
5 Questions To Ask Yourself When Considering Whether You Should Exercise
- Am I in too much pain to exercise? Since we’re pretty much never pain-free, we need to determine if, at our current pain level, we’re able to exercise. After living with fibromyalgia for a while, we can usually tell when it’s okay to do some exercise and when it’s not.
- Am I my “normal” tired, or am I feeling that bone-crushing fatigue that accompanies a flare? Although we’re also fatigued most of the time, there are levels of fatigue. Our level of fatigue is a determining factor when we’re deciding whether or not to exercise.
- Do I feel unable, or am I just unwilling to exercise? It’s easy to think we’re not able to exercise when we’re not feeling great, but sometimes it can just be that we’ve gotten so used to not exercising that we really don’t want to.
- Am I running a fever? Obviously, if we’re running a fever, we don’t need to exercise.
- Am I dizzy? Dizziness is something many of us who live with fibromyalgia struggle with, but it can also be a symptom of other medical issues. As it affects our balance, exercising while we’re dizzy can throw us off balance and result in falls and injury.
Answering these questions honestly can usually help us determine whether or not we should exercise on that particular day. It can help us decide whether we should take a recovery day or if we’re just making excuses not to exercise.
Consistent exercise has many benefits for those of us who live with fibromyalgia. Consistency doesn’t necessarily mean exercising the same amount of time and in the same ways; it means being as consistent as possible with our bodies’ limitations.
We need to learn to listen to our bodies and take breaks from exercise if we need to. We also need to recognize when we are making excuses not to do it.
How do you tell if you need to take a break or you’re just making excuses not to exercise? Please share!