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Category Archives: exercise

Are you under estimating your ability?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Living with a chronic illness and pain can take a toll on our self esteem. It plants doubts of unworthiness and more into our brains.  There are times when we struggle to get in a shower and others where we are in so much pain we wonder if we will make it home from the grocery store.   Our illnesses have the ability to make us doubt everything about us…. but could there be times when they are lying?

Disclosure: I am NOT a medical professional and I am not issuing medical advice. This post contains some affiliate links. Meaning that, at no additional cost to you, I earn a commission from sales. The proceeds offset the expense of operating this site and fund the giveaways for my Facebook groups.

My readers save 20% off of online therapy when they register through my link. Click here to learn more and register today.

 

Many of us went from living our lives at full speed to crawling slower than a snail within a short period of time. That itself is enough to make us doubt what we are capable of.  There may come a time when we might experience an extended portion of our lives stuck in bed, unable to do much at all.  While we are thrilled when we emerge from that time, we are also often terrified of having to discover just what we can do.

Look I get it, after spending years unable to walk, stand, or sit for five minutes I had no clue what I could do.  I was either over cautious, which frustrated me or I would go full speed ahead and often trigger another flare.  Personally, I had to follow a rule of caution.  This kept me from landing back in bed and allowed me to create some type of a physical routine.

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When I first decided to make walking part of my daily life, I had no clue what I was capable of.  In fact I often under estimated what I could do.  But I didn’t see that until I my daily ritual had become a part of my life for some time.  When I realized how far I was walking without pain or need of time to recover, I hesitated to add more.  What if I couldn’t handle it?  What if my body freaks out?  What if…… the what ifs never stopped.  Then one day I decided to slowly start increasing my expectations.  Over time my ability grew.

One of the tools that made it possible for me to stop under estimating my ability has been my fitness tracker.  In the beginning I used my Fitbit to keep me from exceeding an amount of activity that would increase my pain or trigger a flare.  Now I use it challenge myself to do more.

Is your chronic illness/pain preventing you from doing more or are you under estimating your ability because you haven’t tried to do more for a long period of time?  When you are ready to challenge yourself, start slow.  And even if you end up not needing it, plan some recovery time just in case.

The truth is you won’t know what you are capable of until you try.  I won’t call anyone from my fitness group out, but there are many of us who are afraid to commit to a higher number of steps, not because of what we are capable of doing now, but what we were capable of doing at our worst.  Don’t let the memories of a bad spell hold you back or make you think that you aren’t as capable as you are right now!  You won’t always have a five star day, but every day that you give your all will be a winning day!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Secret to a Successful Thanksgiving

This post contains affiliate links. Meaning that, at no additional cost to you, I earn a commission from sales.  The proceeds offset the expense of operating this site and fund the giveaways in my Fitness Buddy and Disneyability groups on Facebook.

The Secret to a Successful Thanksgiving

What is the secret to a successful Thanksgiving?  The answer to that question depends on what your idea of a successful Thanksgiving is.  But if you ask me, my definition would be that a successful Thanksgiving is one in which doesn’t trigger my chronic illnesses, increase my pain level, nor does it take days or weeks to recover from.  Here are some tips to help you achieve the same!

Stuff the turkey, not your mouth

I get it, you want to whoop it up and indulge in all of the festive foods that you don’t make throughout the rest of the year.  And it is okay to enjoy it, just not all of it.  Savor small portions or bites.  Avoid triggers.  Personally, I have to be mindful of my sugar and bread intake.  I also had to cut out alcohol years ago as it increased my inflammation levels far more than any food did.  Stay away from the food and beverages that are going to cause you to spend the next day or more in agony.

Walk it off

If daily walks have become a part of your life, don’t use the holiday as an excuse to not go for one.  I find that I crave healthier foods when I exercise.  If the weather permits, go for a vigorous walk in the morning or before dinner, then again after dinner. If the weather outside is frightful, try an idea that Donna, Abi, and I came up with earlier this year that can be done by anyone! It can be done while watching the big game, parade, or the family’s favorite movie!  Click here to learn more!

Avoid conflict

Thanksgiving is a time when we gather with family and friends to enjoy a meal and to give thanks.  The purpose is NOT to confront people you have issues with nor is a time to sway your friends and family to your political beliefs.  These are conversations that should be done one on one and not at a family gathering.

Focus on what is important

Remember what the day is really about, giving thanks! Think about all the things you ARE THANKFUL for, not what drives you mad!  If need be, write a list and when you find yourself feeling stressed or agitated, pull it out and remind yourself of what is really important.

With that said, I wish you a Thanksgiving that is filled with laughter, joy, and void of additional pain.

Want to dominate the holiday season?

Download my eBook Make Pain Your Bitch: How to Dominate Your Chronic Life

More posts to help you get through the holiday season:

Dominate the Holidays with These Energy Saving Gift Ideas

Three Ways to Prevent an Anxiety Attack During the Holidays

Six Ways to Dominate Christmas With a Chronic Illness

‘Tis the Season to Thrive

A Chronically Cheery Christmas

 

5 Best Practices for Safe Walking

5 Best Practices for Safe Walking featured

If you would have told me two years ago that I would be writing about walking, I would have laughed until I cried…… But that is exactly what I am doing!  Two years ago I was thrilled to be able to walk through the grocery store, walking for exercise or fun wasn’t on my radar yet.  But that isn’t what today’s post is about, click here to find out how I went from barely moving to running circles around my family and friends, today I am going to share to stay safe while walking.

*Disclosure: This post includes affiliate links. Meaning that at no additional cost to you, I receive a commission when you make a purchase through my links. The proceeds earned fund the giveaways I host in The Disabled Diva’s Fitness Buddies and Disneyability Group on Facebook.

1. Be aware!

This practice covers several areas.  The first being preventing personal attacks.  Try to walk in daylight hours or on well lit streets.  I recommend carrying mace/pepper spray, a stun gun, or at the very least a rape whistle/alarm.  Know your route and identify possible escape routes by pulling up and studying the area on Google Maps.
Shady people aren’t the only things you need to be on alert for.  As I learned two weeks ago, pinecones are evil! Seriously though, watch for debris on your walking path. While you may not have much of a chance of slipping on a banana peel, your odds of tripping on uneven pavement, rocks, pinecones, bottles, cans, trash, leaves are high.  When walking at night use a flashlight to see hazards before you step on them!

2. Make yourself visible

If you are walking between dusk and dawn, you need to make sure that people are going to see you.  I don’t care how much or little traffic your walking route experiences, all it takes is for one driver not to see you and boom! So do yourself and those that love you a favor and dress in bright neon or white clothing.  Not willing to give up your dark workout clothing? Then wear a reflective vest or arm/ankle bands.

3. Go inside!

When the air quality is less than desirable or if the streets/sidewalks are wet or icy, walk indoors!  You don’t have to join a gym or purchase a treadmill, you can walk your local mall for free!  Other options, although you won’t be able to walk fast, are to visit a local museum, art gallery, or indoor flea market.  If weather conditions make it unsafe to drive, walk in your house! Walk in place on a mini trampoline, in front of your TV, or just walk from room to room.  Best part of walking at home is knowing that if you get too tired you can sit down and rest.
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Mini Trampolines and Treadmills make working out at home a breeze!

4. Make it a group activity

If possible, get yourself a walking buddy! You could get together with a group of friends or neighbors and turn your exercise time into a fitness happy hour! If you must walk alone, bring your dog. They are great at fending off strangers. Even small neurotic chihuahuas provide protection. Don’t have a dog? Ask to walk your neighbor’s. Having someone else to be accountable to will get you out the door regularly.  Walking with someone always motivates me to push harder than if no one was watching.

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5. Track your steps

 If you are like me, you may have a tendency to overromanticize your physical accomplishments if you don’t have proof of what you did staring you in the face.  There have been times when I thought I racked up thousands and thousands of steps, only to later discover that I barely accomplished a small percentage of what I thought I had.  Tracking steps makes you aware of what you are really capable of.  When dealing with chronic pain, this knowledge can help you plan future outings.  If an event is going to require more walking than you typically do in a day, you will know whether to cancel or bring along a mobility aid.  When you track your steps and chronic pain, you will find a range that will become a warning for you to stop before running yourself into the ground.  This will decrease the number of days you spend recovering from pushing yourself too hard.

 

 

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The Disabled Diva’s Turkey Trot Tournament

If you missed my fitness buddy step challenge in October, you missed out on a lot of fun and encouragement.  There is something about a friendly competition that makes it easier to move our bodies!!!  Having a chance to win a prize doesn’t hurt either!!

Our next competition starts November 1, 2018 and ends at midnight November 20, 2018. You can join at any time, but know that those who start from the beginning will have more opportunities to win entries for the prize.  This month’s prize is a $20 Starbucks e-gift card.

How to participate:

  1. To compete you must be a member of The Disabled Diva’s Fitness Buddies on Facebook.  Click here to join.
  2. After joining you must declare your daily step challenge on the tournament post which is located in the announcements on the group page.
  3. You will need a fitness tracker to record and share your daily steps.  Don’t have one? Click here for options that will fit any budget.
  4. You must post a screenshot of your steps from your app or tracker at the end of your day and no later than 8AM PST the following morning.
  5. For each day that you meet or exceed your goal you will be given an entry to the drawing for the prize which will be held on Nov. 21, 2018 live in the group.  You have the opportunity to earn 20 entries!!!

Click here to join today and let’s get trotting!!!

The Disabled Diva'sTurkey Trot Tournament fb2

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Is Your Fitness Tracker Recording All of Your Steps?

 

 

IS YOUR FITNESS TRACKER RECORDING ALL OF YOUR STEPS_

After years of having my family push me around in a wheelchair, I am thrilled to be able to walk wherever I want.  Although my chronic pain from fibromyalgia, psoriatic arthritis, psoriasis, and degenerative disc disease is well managed (and I mean extremely well, click here to read about my pain management plan) I have not been cured.  I still have to pay close attention to my body’s limits.  Being in less pain than I was when I was diagnosed doesn’t mean that I can do anything I want, I am constantly testing and setting new boundaries.  The most important part of creating, remaining within, and pushing my boundaries is tracking my steps.  However, I have found that even with a Fitbit, not all steps are counted when I am pushing a grocery cart or a rollator along a smooth surface.  By the way, I am not fussing over a few steps here and there, I am talking about being off by hundreds and thousands!

I put this to the test one day at Disneyland.  My daughter walked across a flat surface wearing her fitness tracker on her wrist.  Her step count was 500 steps.  I walked the same distance on the same surface while pushing my rollator. My step count was 75!! I found that it picked up steps on rough or bumpy surfaces, but was useless on ones that were flat and smooth.

*Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.  Meaning that at no additional cost to you, I earn a small commission when you make a purchase from them.  The pennies earned offset the expense of operating this site and for providing prizes for my fitness buddy and Disneyability groups on Facebook.

Not having steps counted is a problem for many reasons. I need to know my boundaries.  I can’t push past them every day without getting knocked down.  Knowing how many steps I can take in one day or within an hour helps me plan my outings.  It helps me plan for periods of rest or to have my wheelchair in the trunk in case what I have planned is too much for my body.  It also helps me see the progress I am making.

To solve this problem, I began wearing my Fitbit around my ankle.  I compared the recorded steps to wearing it on my wrist without pushing anything and there wasn’t a difference.  Now, whether I am pushing my rollator, a wheelchair, stroller, or grocery cart I know that my steps are being recorded.

If you are like me, your ankles are probably larger than your wrist and your fitness tracker won’t fit around them.  Here are some solutions that will help you keep an accurate record of your steps.

 

 

IS YOUR FITNESS TRACKER RECORDING ALL OF YOUR STEPS PINTEREST

 

Track Your Steps

 

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Track Your Steps

Exercise is an important part of my pain management plan.  Inactivity only increases the pain I experience from fibromyalgia, psoriatic arthritis, psoriasis, and degenerative disc disease.  To keep myself accountable, I created a fitness buddy group on Facebook.  We are a diverse group of people of various ages and physical abilities.  We encourage and motivate each other to reach our goals.

Tracking steps is great for losing weight, challenging yourself, and to learn how to recognize your limits.  In my fitness buddy group I host monthly competitions.  Truly the only person you are competing with is yourself, but everyone who participates is entered into a drawing. Click here to join our current step challenge.

Below is the drug-free pain relief device that has made reaching my daily step goal possible and fitness trackers to fit every budget.

This post contains affiliate links. Meaning that at no cost to you, I earn a commission when you make a purchase from my links.

 

Whether you choose to join my group or not, I hope you will find a way to make exercise part of your daily life.

Fitness Trackers

pedometer

PINGKO Best Pedometer for Walking Accurately Track Steps Portable Sport Pedometer Step/distance/calories/Counter Fitness Tracker, Calorie Counter

If you are pushing a rollator or stroller, you may find that your fitness tracker isn’t recording all of your steps.  Click here to discover my solution!

Free Apps for iPhone and Android phones

If you own an iPhone 5s, 6, or 6s, or an iPhone that has been updated since iOS 8 you already have an app! Check out your iPhone Health app, it’s the white one with the little red heart.

Android: All available in the Google Play Store

Fitbit: You don’t need a bit to track your steps use the “MobileTrack” feature and track your steps with your phone.

Google Fit: Use your phone to track steps and set your walking goals.

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Swimsuits & Shifting Focus

This post contains affiliate links.  The pennies earned offset the expense of running the blog and website.

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I pay too much attention to wanting to be thinner and feeling sad I can’t drop any weight. I should be thankful I can move it and do some cool activities!!”

This is a quote from a friend who hikes, does triathlons, skis, and has a blast playing actively with her kids. Yet, she was feeling sad that the number on the scale wasn’t going down and that she wasn’t thinner. I think most women share her frustration. I know I do. Our bodies do amazing things, yet we’re unsatisfied with them because they aren’t smaller. Because they jiggle. Because they have stretch marks, lumps, rolls, or loose skin. Because they don’t look like they used to. Because they don’t look like that actress or that other mom who always looks cute. I hear this from women over and over, of all different ages and levels of fitness. I’m sure men have the same struggles.

So, how do we shift our focus? First, strive to appreciate what our bodies can do. By re-training ourselves to focus on body functionality, we can regain a more balanced perspective toward our bodies. Even if you can’t go up the stairs without getting winded or have to use a wheelchair, your body still does amazing things. Your smile lightens the hearts of those around you; your arms give comforting hugs. When we make an intentional effort to appreciate what our body can do, the aesthetics matter less. Also, continue to challenge yourself to see what your body can do, which will grow your self-confidence AND body confidence.

Re-frame your thoughts. When you shimmy into that swimsuit to play with your kids, think, “We’re going to have so much fun today!”, instead of, “Ugh, my huge thighs are so ugly!!”. This is a struggle for me every time I put on my swimsuit, but I’m always glad that I chose to join in the fun, instead of letting my negative thoughts and self-consciousness get in the way. It’s hard to choose to have a positive frame of mind, but it makes a huge difference. When you notice that “mama belly” that just won’t go away, think, “WOW, what a gift that I got to carry in there.” Also, recognize that some things are simply genetic, natural, or unavoidable with age. Saggy skin, stretch marks, cellulite, some lumps… These are just part of life; while they may be somewhat improved by various things, acceptance is key. You don’t have to be perfectly happy with every aspect of your body. However, you can still be respectful and appreciative of your body, grateful for the amazing gift that it is, no matter how it changes as you age and/or deal with health struggles.

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Remember that people you see on TV, in ads, and on social media are generally airbrushed, filtered, photoshopped, covered in make-up, and posed in the best lighting and angles. Many of those folks have teams of people that get them ready, exercise for hours a day, have personal chefs to provide healthy meals, and/or are just genetically blessed with flawless skin and a certain body type. 

Consider taking a break from the scale. If you just can’t stop thinking about that number, stop weighing yourself for a while. Focus on how you feel (physically and mentally), striving to take good care of your mental and physical health, and appreciating what your body does for you every day.

That reminds me… Another thing you can do to help shift your focus is to take good care of your body with regular movement, eat mostly healthy food, tend to medical and mental health issues, get adequate sleep, and don’t forget to use it for FUN. Maybe you can’t burn up the dance floor like you used to, but your dancing days don’t have to be over, even if you have to groove while seated on a chair.

Finally, choose your influences carefully. If the media you consume or the people you hang out with tank your body image, adjust accordingly. Redirect your friend when they start criticizing their body (or someone else’s). Limit your time with them if they are consistently spewing negativity. Stop reading that airbrushed “health” magazine. Surround yourself with people and influences that build others up and put you in a positive frame of mind.

Your body is amazing. How will you thank it? What will you do to shift your focus?

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