Aqua therapy… and also activity, fatigue, recovery

I re-started aqua therapy this week! (I had tried it last year and long story short I wasn’t ready for it.) I got in the water with the attitude that I’m just gonna do it because something will probably hurt later but oh well. The two physical therapists there are great, the water is so warm and comes up to my chest, so I’m lighter. I did all the exercises- a lot of walking back and forth and marching with floaties I had to hold straight under the water, glute work and some thing where I held myself in push up position on a stair and just my neck was above the water and I had to hold a floatie in one hand at a time and pull it down and then do it with the opposite leg off the floor. I was able to do so much flexing and strengthening through the area of my chronic pain. It felt great, and though I had to rest the rest of the day, I was in a great mood. Exercise endorphins I haven’t had in quite awhile?

Here comes the recovery part. I rested the following day because my knee was stiff and a little painful. I was wondering how long it would take me to recover… and at 8:45 pm I was like wow I think I’m recovered! So I’m noting: 36 hours before I felt I could walk normally again. I hope my recovery gets faster! (It makes sense why exercise has seemed frustrating and out of reach for me.)

The next day I decided I was feeling good and recovered and went out with my aunties to Chrissy Field and the Warming Hut. No one else would call it “walking around” because we were just out and about, in and around the building, but to me it was a good walking day. It was a gorgeous day under the Golden Gate Bridge. I came home and then did a lot of cooking, which felt great. I felt like I had endorphins again. 

Here comes the fatigue part. I was so fatigued at night. I did some gentle stretching but everything was tired. I woke up this morning still fatigued. I ate and did some cooking and got ready for the day. I was so fatigued that I found myself saying to myself, “we can do this…” and I realized all I was trying to do was get in to take a shower. I rested after my shower.

I’m learning the ups and downs of my body’s cycle and how to listen and respect them. I’ve also started to appreciate how much work my body is doing to recover- how does it do it?! I can be so “done” but sometime later my body feels fine again. 

My case manager at the pain clinic has told me that eventually my pain won’t be as high, and I’ll feel other signals I’ll have to learn to listen to, like fatigue and soreness. Even though I’m annoyed I’ve had to rest the next day after some activity, I realized I should be very grateful that pain hasn’t stopped me. It’s actually a really good thing to be fatigued. It means I was able to do enough to get tired, whereas before chronic pain stopped me from getting that far. I’m hoping that as I get farther in my recovery my recovery time will go down and my activity level can start to even out. Outings and exercise every day? I couldn’t possibly! 

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