Where to start? That's the question I'm asking myself both about the writing of this post and the topic it's about. I've written before about my struggles with joint hypermobility, and by extension, chronic pain and the effect that has on my fluctuating fitness and exercise capabilities. This is kind of like that, but with a little extra...
But maybe that's a good place to begin... my joints are dodgy and they hurt.
I have joint hypermobility, technically it's part of wider condition (EDS) but it's my joints that suffer the most. My connective tissues; ligaments, muscles, tendons, don't quite work the way they should and a too loose, so my joints dislocate almost at will and I get a lot of soft tissue injuries. This means pain. A lot of it. All the time. I haven't had a day without pain since before I was a teenager, and that was a long time ago. I wake up in pain. I will literally wake up with an injury most people only experience after pushing too hard in the gym, because that's just what my body does apparently.
There's no cure, there's no fix or magic trick, it's just about management. Working to lessen what already hurts and limit further damage or strain.
For example, I love yoga. It grounds me, it makes my mind shut up and it lessens some of the pain I feel. But it can also be detrimental in the long term for me.. if I hold a stretch too long, I'm pushing my already loose tissues too far, if I do the wrong stretch something pops out of place, etc.
So one of my targets for this year is to find a way of doing yoga and still keeping all of the benefits while being aware of the issues it could cause me and trying to mitigate them. Hatha yoga is slower so it's a better option for me. Iyengar yoga is ok but I have to physically hold myself back from going fully into the poses because I overextend without realising, it's the same with Yin yoga. If there's sharp or fast movements or transitions it's a straight no from me, and I've moved the focus away from flexibility (I have too much of that) and onto the things I need: strength, stability and balance, 3 things which will help and improve my joints not hurt them.
I'm also going to look at other exercise options that have the lowest chance of increasing pain, while strengthening my joints and more effective ways of dealing with the pain in the first place (painkillers have little effect with me).
So physically I have a whole list of things I want to try out this year, and I'm looking forward to sharing with you guys what works, what could work with tweaks and what gets a no from me.
But it's also going to be a year when I finally give my mind the attention it deserves, because surprise surprise my mental health is intrinsically linked to my physical health. I have anxiety and depression so I'll be looking for effective ways to lessen their impact (I don't believe you ever remove them) and again, I'll be sharing that here.
I titled this "Fit For Me" because that's what this series of posts over the next 12 months will be... the things that help me feel better and that improve my overall health. Hopefully, it might help some of you too.
If you have any tips or anything in particular you think I should try, then drop me a comment down below!
Stay safe, x