Physical Activity vs. Lipoedema.
Gloomy and cold January mornings, rainy days, and chilly evenings don't exactly inspire us to engage in intense activities like a series of gym exercises or a five-kilometer run. And of course, let's not forget about the pain that accompanies us as we start our day.
Sometimes, I feel like this pain never subsides. But I want to be healthy, mobile, and full of energy, right?
Motivation was there.
But as we know, motivation without action won't work miracles.
My journey to an active morning routine changed dozens, if not hundreds of times. I tried to find my favorite sport, one that would get my body moving and make me think of it with a smile on my face when the alarm woke me up.
It all started with searching articles, posts, YouTube videos, or stories of other amazing women who also struggle with Lipoedema.
Running immediately went into the forgotten corner. There was no way I could run even a kilometer - the knee pain was so severe that it was out of the question. My body opposed this activity right away. As I later learned from studying F. Eschek's book "Lipoedema," "Practicing sports disciplines, such as running, which put too much strain on our body tissues and lead to shocks, does more harm than good and can worsen the condition of the disease."
The gym also didn't turn out to be the right fit - apparently, introverts like me even feel overwhelmed and exhausted at the gym. Of course, practicing mindfulness would be ideal while exercising in a crowded place, but at that time, I was just learning about it and wasn't yet a master in that field.
Despite being one of those low-impact activities and one of the most recommended for Lipoedema, the swimming pool never really appealed to me. Simply put, I am not capable of swimming. Or let's say it this way: what I do in the water is far from swimming, and the smell of chlorine gives me a headache. It's a different story with the sea in the summer – there, everything is allowed, including my methods of staying afloat and covering short distances."
However, morning yoga brought me great satisfaction when I switched it to an evening practice, when my body was already more awake and flexible. But I didn't give up on the morning stretching, which I could then conclude with Pilates. That's when I felt there was hope, and I saw a light at the end of the tunnel that I would be able to start this wonderful active part of my life. I followed this pattern for several months. I felt that my body was more stretched, and my knees were not burdened.
Over time, as the weather changed, days became longer and warmer, I added thirty-minute walks to my morning and sometimes evening exercises. I fell in love.
Despite the happiness and good feeling that Pilates and yoga provided me, the walks brought a surge of euphoria and indescribable satisfaction. In the summer, when the June sun was more intense, and everything around was green and blooming, I discovered the route from work to home, which was about 90% through the park.
At the end of work, I would take off my managerial attire and change into comfortable shoes and sportswear. I would fill up my water bottle and set off on a journey of over an hour (about 5km) with a smile on my face. When I returned home, the euphoria in my body reached its zenith; I felt like I could move mountains, and my body trembled with gratitude.
And so, for a year, I found and created my routine.
But before I reached this routine, I searched for exercises that my body would enjoy doing. Sometimes they were easy exercises, and sometimes they required more effort from my body. But I would be lying if I said that at the beginning, it was a daily practice - nothing like that. My inner saboteur, my brain, could keep me in the warm bed for another hour, so I didn't have time for exercise after waking up, only a quick shower and rushing to work. And in the evenings, it felt too tired for anything.
Of course, any change is a process, especially when it comes to changing our lives to become more active. It is also a process of stepping out of our comfort zone into the zone of action, which is not as easy as some people claim it to be on social media, for example. Routine and consistency are required.
Through regular exercise, we achieve perfection and improve our physical fitness - that's the honest truth.
However, at the beginning, let's give ourselves time, let's not blame ourselves for not being able to exercise every day.
Start with two or three days a week, look for what our body wants to do, and gradually add more. Like any goal we set, there is time for development, as well as trial and error.
Creating a relationship with our body is not just about accepting it (which is also a process) but also about getting to know it, listening to it, and recognizing what happens beneath the veil of pain and discomfort.
Exercise is physical health. Well-analyzed and properly tailored to our needs, it is also mental health.
I wish you and encourage you to find your individual activity that will make each day even more beautiful.
cover picture by Chermiti Mohamed by Pexels.