Tracy Lee Karner
The Way I Was

Keep Moving despite Fibromyalgia

People with fibromyalgia will commonly hear the advice, keep moving. 

But, what does that really mean?

When I finally figured out what they meant (it only took fifteen years), I dropped from my highest weight ever (180 pounds) to 135. At various times I have been bedridden, but now, due to gentle exercising, I’m able, on a good day, to walk for an hour. Compared to “normal” people, I’m still technically “disabled,” meaning, I need people to help me (but then, who doesn’t?) I can’t do as much activity as healthy people my age, and I need a lot more rest. On the other hand, compared to my former self, I’m doing fabulously. More importantly, I’m happy with my life.

Keep moving does not mean “don’t ever rest.” Keep moving means don’t do anything for very long, don’t even rest for very long. Change positions, change activities frequently, keep moving. But how often is “frequently?” There’s only one answer:

Your body will tell you how often you should move. 

If you can’t figure out what your body is saying to you (besides I hurt!), look for my post about how I keep a health journal (coming in May, 2012). And then, talk to your doctor about how to use that data to draw conclusions about what your body is saying to you.

I discovered that when I’m flaring, I have to change activities more frequently. On good days, I can write for an hour, walk for half an hour (sometimes even an hour), do kitchen/cooking preparation for half an hour, sit and read for half an hour…On flare-up days, ten or twenty minutes doing anything at all, is my max.

This goes against intuition, which tells me that I should “slow down.” But keeping on the move is not about speed, it’s about fluidity of motion. To keep moving is like keeping the gears lubricated so everything doesn’t grind to a halt.

Tracy Lee Karner
I’m moving–stretching my bicep.

So don’t sit here at your computer for much longer, (although I do hope you’ll keep reading my blog–but do it a little at a time); go for a five minute walk, then have a cup of herbal tea, then throw the wet towels into the dryer, then come back here.

In other words, don’t worry about finishing (don’t focus so much on the goal); instead, enjoy the meandering journey. And stop to smell ALL the flowers, not just the roses. 


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