Walking is one you should really consider; it can help you loose weight and get exercise. It’s possible for most people to take up walking and it’s easy to start…..
Now that Winter is here I’ve got my warmer items ready for the colder months. Being a fibromyalgia sufferer I notice any temperature drop as the weather changes, straight away.
My joints feel stiff, I get more pain and all my symptoms get progressively worse. I still try to keep active if I can everyday by walking. I wear layers and thermals to keep warm.
I started walking regularly before I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. I’d been suffering with lower back pain and sciatica, which got progressively worse. I was unable to work. My doctor said I need to go to physio first; to get the muscles and joints moving and when I’m mobile to start walking regularly.
At the time I thought it was really unhelpful advice as I could barely move, let alone walk anywhere! But after a few painful physio sessions. I started with short bursts at first of 5 to 10 minutes, progressing to longer walks. Now I do a regular walk every day and have not suffered from back pain so much; I also have more energy to do things.
I look forward to my walk everyday, sometimes twice a day if I’m not too tired later on. I like walking especially on a fine sunny day; it can really lift your mood. I live near a park and I can vary my daily walks through wooded areas and quiet residential streets. I usually spend about 25-45 minutes on each walk and vary the terrain. On really cold or wet days when my symptoms are worse, I go for a walk at a local covered shopping centre, which means I still get exercise but I’m not exposed to the elements as much as outside.
I bought a new pair of waterproof walking boots recently; which are great to wear in rain and snow. I bought mine from a outdoor clothing and footwear shop in the sale. I’ve also invested in a waterproof jacket, woolly hat, thermal gloves and socks. I find it difficult keeping my hands and feet warm, when it is really cold. Research shows we loose most heat from our hands and feet; so it makes sense to keep these areas as warm as possible.
If you plan to begin walking and have not exercised recently it would be advisable to consult your doctor or health professional beforehand.
If your joints are very stiff it might help to try gentle exercise at your local heated swimming pool first. Exercising in water supports the body and would free up joints. If you are a wheelchair user some pools have special equipment to access the water easily.
When you feel ready to start put on some comfortable shoes and suitable waterproof clothing for the weather. Start off with short bursts of 5 to 10 minutes and gradually build up from this. You will find you get more confidence and can do longer distances.
Throughout the UK free regular guided walks are provided by Walking for health which is funded by the UK People’s Postcode Lottery and Macmillan. They offer different short walks for beginners which are for 20-30 minutes long. The route you walk over is easy terrain as they are specifically designed for people who are not very active. Some walks are suitable for wheelchair users and people with buggies.
If you are a wheelchair user the UK website Walks with wheelchairs is dedicated to routes for wheelchair users. All walks have been tested by wheelchair users.
The NHS Walking for health site gives helpful advice for anyone wanting to start walking.
If you suffer from fibromyalgia and have started exercise recently, it would be really helpful to hear about your experience.