There is always a back-and-forth and a need to be flexible when you have lupus. Things change! I believe for many of us, there is a decision-making process that goes into many of our activities, especially when we are not feeling so hot.

I was thinking about this over the past week or so as I’ve been going through my own adjustments in physical activity.

The plan

On my continual quest to add regular physical activity to my lifestyle, there have been understandable bumps in the road. When I’m not in a flare, I plan to get to the gym 2-3 days a week. This does not include my “commuter walk” to and from the train station and home or work. However, when I am in a flare, the days at the gym are reduced or all together stopped. I have limited mobility in general, so even walking is not necessarily a given.

The situation

It’s been a rough few months in trying to get my lupus to settle down. I’ve stopped one medicine (methotrexate) and started a new one (tacrolimus), which is not yet at the right levels to manage my lupus. I’ve also been stubborn about increasing my dose of prednisone, which I know always helps to squash a flare quickly. (I finally took the plunge).

For the past few weeks, I have only been able to work out (maybe) one day a week. It’s better than no days, but the pattern was (and sometimes is) I go early in the week to “start off on the right foot” and then I am too ill to go back the rest of the week.

Making adjustments

Last Monday, I knew I was not at my peak, so I planned for a lighter workout. Usually I do the elliptical or the stationary bike for a good 30 minutes or so, followed by another 30 minutes of weight training (my favourite part). Knowing it probably wouldn’t be a great idea to do the usual routine, I did 13 minutes on the stationary bike at an easy pace, and worked out my arms.

The next few days were inflammation, more inflammation, pain and fatigue. I couldn’t believe that after all that thought I’d put in to making sure I didn’t cause my body too much stress, I was out of the game.

Making adjustments, again

When I started thinking about what I would do this week, I felt uncertain. Should I work out? I did a light workout last week and ended up having problems! How can I do some exercise without ending up in the same boat as the past few weeks?

I decided that I would try to do yoga or Pilates to see if that was less stressful (but really…they are very challenging!).

Yesterday was my first day back to working out since last Monday’s light workout. I did a hatha yoga class and it was difficult (especially since it’s been a while since I did yoga), but I felt good.

Looking at my gym schedules I am going to try the Mind/Body classes and see if my body prefers those to machines for the time being. I’ll probably make adjustments again once I get a sense of how I feel after these classes. I do enjoy them, but I will listen to my body and do what it wants.

The truth is…

I don’t jump at the chance to be physically active. I would rather be at home, chillin’ on the couch. At the same time, I do like to be “athletic” and I know that keeping moving is good for my joints, my health, my mood and my ‘battle’ with prednisone.

Like anything in life, especially when you have a chronic illness, you continually learn, size up the situation, and make adjustments when necessary.