"But I'm in pain!"

Workout Motivation & My Confession of Being Fairly Lousy at Taking Care of My Body

In the past six years that I've had an autoimmune disease I've struggled to maintain a regular work-out regimen. Those of you who have chronic pain probably instantly understand why--it's hard to feel like moving a body that's often screaming in pain. But an inflammatory disease like mine that causes joint pain actually improves with activity instead of rest. It's a constant balance to maintain the rest my fatigued body needs with the exercise it needs to stay mobile and strong.  

Confession: rest usually wins.  

But the longer I am the sick, the more desperately I want to take care of my body. Over the years I've had several great 3-6 month spans where I do yoga 1-2x a day, go on walks weekly, and bike regularly. But with each new extended flare (when my disease attacks a bit more "loudly") I have to find renewed motivation to fight through pain to practice wellness.

I'm in one of those seasons now--where my body's been wrecking havoc for several months, making me spend more time on the couch than in the gym. Chronic illnesses like mine are seasonal in a sense--requiring constant flexibility with the ebbs and flows of pain. I can go from being pretty in-shape to rapidly losing muscle mass in a few pain-filled weeks of a bad flare-up. The vascillating nature of my physical health requires conscious and frequent adjustment and acceptance. 

But I don't want to "accept" my pain so thoroughly that I forget to fight back.

I need to arm my body with the strength to stay mobile and active. So I'm back on the yoga mat and taking biking adventures around town as frequently as possible.

For those of us with chronic illness and pain, we have to carefully discern the state of our bodies. You and I have to become experts of our bodies--knowing when to push through mild or moderate pain and when to ride out a wave of fatigue. Even after 6 years of fighting AS I'm still learning this body-discernment.

But I'm determined to keep fightinglearning, and pushing the boundaries of my disease to have a full, active life. 

Will you fight with me? Comment below on how you've had success or difficulty in taking care of your body with a chronic illness. And share with the button at the bottom of this post on Twitter or Facebook to keep raising awareness and connecting people in pain. We need each other to fight well! #chroniclife #chronicfighter