This is in fact what I believe about improvements when we have a chronic illness. If we want to exercise same goes I think. It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.
And I had to be reminded of this today with my persistent leg pain after days of all this aerobic exercise on my stationary bike. Exercise that is only 10 minutes a day but feels like a freaking marathon to me. I think that pain clinic seriously overestimated my capacity in this regard and also I think the speed at which I could simply jump into this. I think it is a mistake on their part certainly, since the first pain clinic got it. It makes me feel rather like a loser to know that each day all I can do is this 10 minutes after pushing myself and even on my pain killer. When the pain clinic expects an hour. An hour? Not going to happen. I am not even sure half an hour is going to happen any time soon. And I am fine with that. Because I have found pacing myself makes a lot of sense in the past with these sorts of things. And even pacing myself comes with the price of accumulated pain, such as today breaking through the pain killer.
When I began my own exercise program and realized the extent of my pain and fatigue that came with it I knew that it would be a slow pace. I also knew that just the movement was important. I knew just a little bit would be beneficial. And they say a 20 minute walk is beneficial. I literally increased my pace at the time by minutes every couple of weeks. Slow and steady. Worked my way up to 20 minutes of yoga. And a 20 minute walk. Obviously I am behind that again but even so, I am considerably worse at aerobic exercise apparently.
I am reminded that when a neuro had told me that what I was doing was not sufficient, I had tried to up the pace. And injured my back. And then proceeded to not exercise at all for around six months. So a lot of good that did me. So I think we really have to listen to what our bodies are telling us about what we can do and about the pace we can do it in. And not the so called specialists who know nothing about fitness spouting off what some study said we need to do to help with one condition without taking into account our overall health.
In some sense it is always difficult when you are young with a chronic illness because part of you always believes you can do things. That you have this capacity in there somewhere. But when you try you fail. You just completely are incapable of doing it. You brain says there is nothing wrong with you so there should be no reason you can't do a reasonable amount of physical activity. But chronic illness is a complicated thing. It says otherwise and not just with pain. With immense fatigue.
It certainly does not help that when a doctor looks at you and thinks well she is young... she can do all these things. Like this recent pain clinic fellow who told me bluntly that I was young and could handle it and that he only suggests yoga for 'older people'. This perception of youth and vitality sort of screws you over. Invisible disabilities being all invisible and all even from those people that should know better.