Sunday, 19 February 2012



So, before this bout of M.E came along I used to be an avid fitness nut; weight lifting, running, swimming, martial arts and intensive home routines that I found through (more on them later). Those routines are far behind me now and have been altered to suit my current lifestyle of fatigue and quite often pain. Running has been substituted with walking, weight lifting with compound body weight exercises, light stretching, and as for my karate it's just not as intense as before even though I still train.

The purpose of these next few posts will be to give an insight of what I do now to keep active or what I have previously done. So whether you are new to fitness (or just taking it easy for now), or you have reached a plateau and need to knock it up a notch I'm sure there will be something here to suit your needs.


This is the easiest form of exercise for me at the moment and on good days I'll walk 4 miles (round trip) to work and back. However, I did not just suddenly start with this distance I built up my progress slowly so that I didn't injure myself or cause too much fatigue. I used to drive to work (and still do if I'm having a bad day) but I decided to start parking further away and start with a half mile to work. After a few weeks when it got easy I parked even further away to increase it to a mile, then I took the train to bump it up to two miles. And again, when this got easier I started walking the full distance once a week, twice a week, until I could build it up to 5-6 days.

That progress has taken me 6 months to do, I really cannot afford to waste energy by 'improving' too quickly otherwise I'll just be back to square one. There are times though when it is tough and you have to scale it back to avoid problems, but this mind set can be applied to any activity whether you have an illness or not. Listen to your body, if you feel you can increase time or distance then go for it, but on the other hand if your aching legs are screaming at you to take the bus then do so but maybe get off one stop early and stretch them out.

Of course if you're looking to knock it up a notch you can start running and see where it takes you. In the related posts section you'll find a good collection of links to get you started.

Weight Training

This is one of my favorite forms of exercise as it's so easy to see improvements and you can do pretty much anywhere in a short amount of time. I normally do a circuit (3 - 5 times round) of the following exercises:

- squats (plus variations)
- lunges (plus variations)
- abs (anything from crunches to plank)
- push ups (normally done on my knees and again with loads of variations).

Depending on how I feel that day will depend on how many sets and reps get done. I'll always start with a light warm up of 4-5 reps slowly increasing the range of motion and some stretching so that I don't pull anything and move on to 10 reps per exercise. I also might not do a continuous circuit, I might do 2 rounds and decide to do another later on (again I'll do a light warm up), or I'll set aside a time frame and see how many circuits I can do. The same advice for walking applies here: listen to what your body is telling you.

So that covers most of the activity I do during the week (I'll cover karate in a separate post). Up next will be running - how to start, how to improve, and some cross-training tips I've pick up over the years.

2017 Update

As of mid 2012 been diagnosed with an extensive deep vein thrombosis as a result of having Factor V Leiden and have been left with poor mobility in my left leg and constant post-thrombotic pain. In my particular situation I was diagnosed with a blood clot far too late and I'm now lucky if I can walk to the car to get to work and feel comfortable pottering around the house. I have to use at least one crutch to walk around the house and two if I need to walk any "long distance" (we're talking about 0.25 miles here for me), I also have a wheelchair I use for when I get a really bad flare up and can't put any weight on that left leg.

I still train a lot of upper body, core and somewhat lower body but I am limited on my cardio so my next step is to look at finding a swimming pool I can get too. A lot of my work outs and martial arts training is adapted to what I can do at the time and I love it when I'm having a great day and can push aside the pain and feel like I'm training how I used to. However, a lot of the time I push the rest of my body and leave the left leg to it's own devices where it will either do what I need or only a small percentage. 

Related Posts

*Just a note of caution: you should always consult your doctor before starting a fitness routine. These are just my experiences on these forms of exercise and should not be taken as gospel.*

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