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#1 adensmore


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Posted 05 September 2007 - 03:24 AM

I don't have much energy or stamina, and am looking for ways to get back in shape. I work full time so I'm usually exhausted at the end of the day. My husband thinks I should have a minimal exercise routine so I won't lose muscle tone. I have a lot of joint pain, lots of skin involvement and moderate lung fibrosis. For others who exercise on the board, what do you do? Thanks and I look foward to your responses. :)


#2 jefa


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Posted 05 September 2007 - 04:04 AM

Good question and one which many of us face. When I was in highschool (I won't say how long ago) I regularly took modern dance classes. I have modified our old floor exercises and kept them going in at least some form. They keep my muscles stretched and help get the kinks out. Rather than one big session, I break them up into mini sessions throughout the day. Order isn't important, though it is a good idea to do some breathing and stretching as a warmup.

Feet and Legs: This is a modification of ballet steps. Straighten your leg and point with your toe while holding onto something (a kitchen counter or the back of a straight chair). First point and straighten your leg straight out from your hip about six inches, but keep it on the floor. Do this four times, each time returning to a normal relaxed position. You will repeat each motion on the right side. Do the same thing, only point six inches in front of you. The same, six inches in back of you. You should feel all the muscles in your leg stretching and relaxing. After you have cycled these through both right and left sides, go through the series again, only this time raise your pointed toe six inches from the ground for each of the positions. Lastly, raise your leg about 1 foot off the ground going through each of the positions, right and left. If you can handle it, do a demi plié and a plié between each round. This is where you bend with your knees pointed outward and dip half way or more deeply. I can't really do these anymore, as the pain is too strong in my hips and I can't come back up from the full drop.

The rest of the leg stretches are done on the floor. Lying on either side, prop up on one elbow and stretch the top leg out with pointed toe. Lift the top leg up keeping the whole leg stretched and lift up and down several times, without letting it touch the bottom leg. Vary the lengths of the stroke from a few inches to a larger stroke, as you get better at it. Repeat on both sides. You will really feel this in your thighs and tummy.

Abdominal Crunches: I find these are the hardest - it is getting very hard for me to get up from the floor. Lie with your back pushed flat against the floor with knees slightly bent. Lift your head and neck up about six inches until you feel your abdominals pulling. Note that this is NOT a sit up, just a small movement that really gets to those abdominals.

Arm and back stretches are very like the leg ones, but easier to do. Stretch and point in the various positions and then rotate them forwards and backwards in ever increasing circles. Reach for the sky with alternating pulls as if you are going to climb a rock. Standing with legs slightly spread and hands behind your neck, turn slowly to your left, then slowly to your right. Bendover the same way - to the left, to the right, to the front and to the back. It is not important that you actually move your body that far, just enough to feel the muscles pulling and stretching.

There are more things. I sort of make things up as a go along through the day and kinks arise. I can still do most of these things, except the floor routines as I have difficulty getting up. I have trouble walking outside unassisted because of knee and hip pain and resultant balance issues, so unfortunately I don't get enough aerobic exercise.

I suppose I should add that any exercise changes should be done with the concurrence of your doctor.
Warm wishes,

Carrie Maddoux
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(Retired)ISN Sclero Forums UK Chat Host

International Scleroderma Network (ISN)

#3 Sweet


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Posted 05 September 2007 - 04:13 AM

Exercise certainly can be a challenge. I was in the same boat you are a year ago, my rheumatologist kept telling me I had to exercise - I'm thinking "When?! How?!" I was so exhausted, weak, and just couldn't picture this happening.

However, one day I got on my treadmill and did 5 minutes. I did it again the next day, I skipped a couple of days, but kept on with it. It took a long time, but now I do 30 minutes 4-5 days a week. I also do stretching that is similar to what Carrie posted.

The key is to do what works for you, start of very slowly, don't try to do it all at one time if you can't, breaking it up is perfectly fine, and just stay determined.

What I found was that I gained so much more energy, (just as my rheumatologist predicted)

Please let us know how you progress.
Warm and gentle hugs,

ISN Support Specialist
International Scleroderma Network (ISN)

#4 WestCoast1


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Posted 05 September 2007 - 04:25 AM

Hi April~
This is a good topic and one that I also need to implement. I think that the treadmill idea is a good one, I'll try that today infact. I also sit on an excersise ball while on the computer to maintain some kind of balence. I also keep small weights nearby so that I can lay back on the excersise ball and do different arm excersises. I can do these while the tv is on or just listening to music.

I will admit that it is easy to say but hard to do. Sometimes just a little encouragement from your friends is the little push you need...so thanks guys!


#5 janey


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Posted 05 September 2007 - 05:10 AM

My hat's off to you for still working fulltime! That's a huge exercise in itself. To maintain muscle tone or at least some semblance of muscle I use the exercise rubber bands. They can be used on the couch or in a chair, doorway, where ever. Here is a link to another recent discussion on exercise. You might get some ideas from it was well.

How do I exercise...?

Big Hugs,
Janey Willis
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#6 adensmore


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Posted 05 September 2007 - 07:28 AM

Thank you all for the good advise. I think I'll try a combination of all of them. Mix them up from day to day.


#7 lizzie


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Posted 05 September 2007 - 08:08 AM

Hi April

I also work full time. Three weeks ago it suddenly hit me that I certainly wasn't going to get any fitter, in fact would decline due to SSc and natural ageing, unless I actually started doing something about it. For me there was a perfect opportunity in that where I work there is a staff gym, which also happens to in the building next to the one where I work, so I really had no excuse as not only was it near, it is about 1/4 of the cost of a private gym. I discussed my limitations with them and they have devised me a gentle exercise programme: five minutes on reclining bike, 10-I5 minutes on treadmill, and some arm/leg stretches and v v light weights for triceps /biceps. I have been going 3 or 4 times a week and I get slightly out of breath and cough a bit, but do feel that I have benefited enormously, definitely more energy. As others have recommended, the treadmill is good because you can take it very easy initially and gradually build up your stamina over time. The other thing that I do that I would recommend is Pilates, its really good for maintaining/ gaining flexibility. Hoep you can find something to suit you, its definitely worth the effort.