One of my goals in 2010 is to prepare myself for my Iceland sojourn in 2011. This involves conditioning myself physically. My hope is to participate in a number of physical activities, some old friends from my pre-fibromyalgia life as well as new adventures. Day hikes amid geological wonders, sea kayaking, biking around a lake and glacier hikes.
I am realistic. I know I cannot push myself every single day of the trip. I also know I can still hike and bike as long as I allow time to rest and recharge. Multi-day backpacking trips are forever out. I have to acknowledge my limitations. But I also shouldn’t sell myself short. I am fortunate that I can still engage in some of the physical activities I love if I am smart about how I manage my body. Not everyone with fibromyalgia can still hike or go biking. Of everyone I have met with fibromyalgia, each situation is slightly different and unique. I have met fibromyalgics who can still work full-time, raise a family, and play regular sports. I admit I envy them tremendously. I covet what their bodies still allow them to do. I have also met fibromyalgics who are on disability and completely unable to work. I am thankful I am not yet in that situation and am constantly aware that may yet one day be me. I do not want to take this life for granted.
For now, I seem to be somewhere in the middle. I have moments of severe flare when I can barely get out of bed in the morning and shower. I also have moments where I feel gloriously infused with energy. Typically, I hover somewhere in the middle of the spectrum. It is a bittersweet place to be – I am painfully aware of what I have lost, but also aware of just how much I am still blessed with.
While I still have the energy and physical ability, I am planning to visit the areas of the world I have always dreamed of hiking, biking, and kayaking. Iceland is one such place. New Zealand will be another. To prepare I have started a conditioning “program”. I am trying to walk every day for at least 45 minutes, something I was doing and have let slide. So I am picking up my walking regimen. I am also planning to begin a stretching and yoga schedule in the mornings beyond my typical physical therapy to help keep my body limber. I also hope to incorporate a strength-training component. Any sort of strength-training or weight-lifting can be tricky for anyone with fibromyalgia. The wrong exercises or intensity could really mess up my body or send me into flare. So I will be consulting with my doctor in a couple weeks about what type of strength-training exercises I should be trying.
My goal is to be able to engage in a day hike lasting up to 5 hours and, with a day of rest following, be able to avoid any fibroflares. If anyone has any tips or advice on what has worked for them, I would love to hear about it!