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Saturday, October 14, 2006

Heart Rate and Fatigue: The Emlucy way to Rejuvenation!

With Fibro, Chronic fatigue, or simply being out of shape, the fatigue can be worse than anything else you've got. Not for me, I'd take the fatigue over the pain, but that's not a choice. What is a choice is helping the fatigue go away.

(The picture right is one I found on a cute site.. probably cute overload.. lol. It's friggin adorable.. so much it makes me grit my teeth!! love it)

What I've been doing lately is Target Heart Rate exercise, and it has been helping!! What's more, it can help pretty much anyone.. I said pretty much, but if you have a heart condition or some kind of jazz that'll be worse if you exercise.. don't. I do this at my own risk... and it has been causing more hurt, but at a good reward. I have had a little more energy. It's small, but for me - I'll take anything I can get.

Basically, I read through all my fibro books, cfs books, and related books - I read article after article on the Internet, I talked to my health care professionals, and then lastly I talked to people with fibro - and compiled this exercise regime!! Recently a few fibro and cfs friends have asked that I share my regime. Really it's not mine, it's just traditional health stuff we've heard over and over again.. but usually that stuff if the golden stuff, if you get my meaning.

Emlucy's Target Heart Rate Rejuvenator! ;)

Firstly, you're going to need a heart rate monitor - or you can do it manually. Find your Resting Heart Rate (RHR). Here's how:

Get nice and leisurely - relax, lay down, don't sit up!! Just get as relaxed as possible for 20 minutes. Then I want you to take your pulse. (See how many times your heart beats in 60 seconds OR use a heart rate monitor. I suggest a heart rate monitor, as if you have FMS or CFS you may lose count or have a crap time at multiplying if you're taking the quarters route).

My RHR: 65

Okay, now I need you to calculate your Maximum Heart Rate MHR. Women, subtract your age from 226, Men - subtract your age from 220. Personally, I just round the number.

My MHR: 226 - 26 = 200

So, the heart rate range is 65-200 - - then I rounded my number to 70 - just to make the next step cleaner and easier for Fibro Foggers and ADD'rs.

Next plot out on a piece of paper a little graph that looks like this:


Then, find rough half, quarter, and eighth points. Here are 14 numbers, so they divide 7 and 7 so between 130 and 140 is the half point (135) and then the quarter points would be the middle number of each of the seven. Highlight the numbers.


Okay, now you have your graph!! I put this on a magnetic board, to keep track of progress AND to remind me to exercise. So what do you do with the graph? Depends how sick you are:

If you're really sick, or really out of shape, your first week of exercise will focus on the first quarter: in my graph that would be 70-100. You want to do an exercise that keeps your heart rate in that zone for 15 minutes three times a week. Can't do it for 15? Do it as much as you can and then increase as you start getting healthier.

If you're moderately sick or moderately out of shape, start in the second between the first eighth and the second eighth. In my graph, that would be 80-120. Get yourself in that range for 15 minutes three times a week to begin.

From these two, you get the hang of it. Just increase accordingly.

What kind of exercise should you start off with? Work with what you have. I have a recumbent exercise bike, so that's what I use. You could use a treadmill, DDR, do Tai Chi, Yoga, Pilates, walking, jumping.. anything. You don't need fancy equipment. Oh, and watching scary movies doesn't count.. as that will build up adrenaline which won't be used if you don't work out. Get moving. Dancing to music is great. Just keep your heart rate in your beginner target range.

Increasing the workout to strengthen your heart, increase your energy, and lengthen your stamina is the next step:

After about three weeks, or less depending on your health, do it every second day, then every day for 15 minutes. At the same time, increase your target range by one eighth when you're ready. Never get up to your maximum heart rate, as you're asking for a flare up. Don't be silly!!!

You'll want to keep it within 5/8 and 3/4. After you can easily get in that range, you'll need to just increase the length of exercise, not the heart rate. You may never get there, that's okay. Take it to where you CAN. If you can only take it from 50%-60%, that's super! If it's only 30%-40%, that's still good!! Don't feel bad. Every inch on that graph counts!

I've noticed great results from this. Sure it's only a little bit to normal peoples' standards, but to someone with CFS it's like finding buried treasure! Every bit counts to better heart health.

When it's firmly part of your schedule.. you can move onto strength training.. that'll be next. I hope this is helpful!!

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