Before I developed POTS I was not a big fan of working out. I was a fan of eating whatever the hell I wanted, not lifting a finger and not gaining any weight…well, after I hit about 27 those days were over! I needed to start paying more attention to what I was putting into my body. Then, two babies and a chronic illness later…here we are.
…and I still am not a fan of working out! But, in the spirit of regaining my feisty “let’s kick POTS in the ass” self, I’m diving head first into a workout routine. When your cousin (and my biggest cheerleader in life) is a fitness guru and owns a CrossFit gym, there really isn’t an excuse to sit around! The number one recommended treatment for POTS (excluding medications) is exercise.
I completed my first training session today. Amy (said Guru), my mom, and my daughter all took part. We reviewed the basic movements that I’ll need to know for future workouts, and we completed a workout in the gym. Assault bike (and YES, that bike does assault you!), push press, and Russian twists were on the menu today.
It wasn’t pleasant, but I did it…it made me feel strong, and empowered. A little more than 1/2 way through the workout the exercise intolerance kicked in…and before you say, “well, that’s what you get for being out of shape!” exercise intolerance is a real thing, and it can be debilitating for a person with dysautonomia. It can cause your body to physically shut down. Since our hearts and autonomic systems can’t handle regular, normal movements, adding exercise and strain to our bodies can be debilitating. Check it out: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4336603/ I began to feel like I was going to throw up, or pass out, or even cuter…BOTH! I finished a round on the bike and I felt it setting in. I downed some water and sat down on the floor. The room was spinning and I was thinking death might be sweet relief 😉 But, it passed, I slowed it down, and I finished my workout. That’s the triumph. I finished!
I think it’s easy to lose sight of how much this syndrome impacts your life…until you start fighting back. Then it kicks you down again. My plan is to keep fighting and getting back up. Amy is going to personalize a plan for me so I can keep working with the equipment I have at home, and I’ll report to her as I go…she even said I could yell at her on facetime…I told you she was pretty awesome! 😉
It will get easier over time…right?!