Exercising for mobility and stamina

No, you are at the right place. I know that doesn't sound like a blog I'd write, does it?!

This was me yesterday before I sweated my butt off. Here's the deal - I'm going to be talking about exercise a little bit. Yeah, I know, mentions of sudden exercise regimes coming from fat people have made me roll my eyes round the back of my head in the past too, but bear with me. 😉


My recent holiday was great in some ways but not so good in others. I got to spend time with James's family, especially my darling 4 year old niece. My nieces are the light of my life. I was in SO much pain on holiday though - I was truly miserable for some of it. I was being outpaced by James's parents who are in their mid 60s, and I missed out on fun with my niece when I had to rest or nap. Hearing her say 'Why didn't you want to come swimming?' or James telling me she'd missed me while I was staying in the caravan broke my heart. I wanted to be with her all the time but I couldn't keep up with the full-on schedule, which went a little something like this - morning/early afternoon outing (walk anything up to 3 miles), afternoon swim or some other activity with/for my niece, brief rest then go out in the evening for a meal and entertainment.

I spend a lot of time at rest in my normal life and I have to stagger big days out to recover from them. I really felt like I had to keep up with everyone else on holiday at the beginning of the week, but the day I was sitting on the beach sobbing uncontrollably as I was in so much pain made me realise I had to advocate for myself better. If we were doing 3 things a day, I'd omit to do one of the activities so I could commit fully to the other two. However it was like a look into the future - a future where I'd be missing out on things and feeling like a failure. I don't want to say it was a wake up call, as people often say that before they begin to diss their old bodies, and I'm not going to do that. But it was a shock - I could imagine myself being truly miserable because of my mobility in future years and that was enough to make me want to take action.

Here's the thing though - no matter what happens I'm going to be in in pain - this is a given with Fibromyalgia, CFSME and joint hypermobility syndrome. 

But increasing my exercise might mean I tire less easily, that I can walk farther and don't need so much time to recover in between activities. This isn't about vanity - I don't want to be small, I don't want to be thin and I'm not going on a diet. I think I'm hot as balls at this weight and I have no weight loss or exercise goals. I have no judgement on anyone else's weight or goals.

This is for and about me. I want to work on mobility, fitness and endurance. 

I'm not likely to join a gym and I have no intention of becoming what I fondly call a "Fitbit wanker". Although, shhhh, I secretly do want one to track my sleep but don't tell anyone, OK? 😄 If it turns out after doing this for some months that I'm always going to be in this level of pain no matter what then at least I tried to help myself. Extra exercise may make my pain better and it may make it worse but I need to find out. I'm 43 and my future spells out increasing disability (as my conditions have worsened over time) and missing out on more and more fun. If I end up in a wheelchair I want to know that I did everything I could to avoid it.

James and I are both looking to increase our activity as we're not getting any younger, we're childless, and we don't want to be helpless old people if we can take steps to aid our health and vitality now. I was labouring up a hill yesterday and repeating a mantra in between asthmatic breaths "This WILL get easier!" I'm shit at this, though. I'm impatient. I hate resting to catch my breath. I hate feeling weak when I'm confronted with my lack of fitness but I've gotta start somewhere. If I start posting motivational exercise memes, feel free to hit me over the head with a shovel, OK? Deal? Cool. I don't want to turn into one of those 'Feel the burn!' people. I want to be me, just with a little more motion in my ocean and some more pep in my stride.

Yesterday James and I went for a walk then went to the chip shop for tea, so this is clearly baby steps. 😝 

How do you feel about exercise?

Do you feel judged by these buff types on Instagram and their judgemental, fatphobic shite? I know I do, and I avoid those people like the plague unless they're down with all sizes of bodies and they don't diss their old selves. I can't stand people who are happy to be fat then do a bit of exercise and start bad mouthing every fat person. That's NEVER going to be me. I hate before and after shots, unless they're of puppies who turned into dogs who're 7 feet tall on their hind legs. That's a before and after I can really get into.

Thanks for reading. Leah xoxo


  1. I'm just back on the treadmill for a 30 minute walk each day after a couple of months off because I got a very bad flu this year, the kind of flu that scored me 6 weeks of antibiotics as a surprise to myself. Because I have done this before, I know that the first workout is the toughest one and every one after that will become easier.

    For me I feel like exercise is important not just for my physical health but for my mental health. It was really tough for me mentally this year to be sidelined during winter which is a time of year I really struggle with SAD. We've had some extremely cold weather which has made me feel worse, too. Wearing gloves and beanies inside the house with the heater on kind of cold.

    I hope this helps you in the ways you would like! ;)

    1. Holy shitballs, that's cold! I heard you had a brutal summer and now a brutal winter too, that's not good. Climate change is very real.

      I'm sorry to hear you had such a hideous flu! No wonder you felt unable to exercise for so long. Setbacks are one thing I dread, because I know with other setbacks I've had I don't deal well with beginning again. But it feels like something has changed in me this time - it feels like this is my last chance to make a real change to my health/future. It would be easy to slide slowly into further disability, but I'm going to fight it every step of the way. I may have Fibro/ME/hypermobility, but I want to give myself a bit of help to feel more well. I'm never going to be 'normal' again, but if I can make life less shitty for myself it's got to be done.

      The good thing is James needs to get fitter too, so we're doing things together. James is quite good at being my drill sergeant. On tonight's walk he tried to take advantage of my poor sense of direction to get me to walk the same part twice over. ;) I knew what he was doing and went with it anyway. Knowing subsequent exercise will get easier is a big motivator for me. I hate being out of breath (being an asthmatic who never takes my inhalers will do that!) and I hate having to rest, even for a few seconds. I'm so impatient I want to be done right away, but I don't have the fitness to do long stretches of exercise. I stop all the bloody time to catch my breath right now, but I know it'll get easier. The MH benefits will be good too, especially when it's dark and miserable and James and I both need a pick me up.

  2. I've been looking a lot more intake exercise lately. When I was totally engrained in diet culture I used to think exercise wasn't worth doing unless I burnt a shit ton of calories and it really made me sweat. However I know now that a huge session with weights, cardio and some really intense instructor shouting COME ON YOU CAN DO IT FIVE MORE SIT UPS (I don't do a do exercise. I'm in enough pain with my IBS and endo down there THANKYOU very much)

    Anyway I'm a lot more into yoga and gentle exercise now, and even when I am feeling really shittylike today k try and at least put my trainers on and go for a walk! I know that there's a big divide in the fat positive community about exercise. But not everyone exercises to lose weight! I don't know if you followe Michelle Elman or Jessamyn Stanley ... Both are fat girls who exercise because of the way it makes them feel, nothing to do with losi weight!

    1. Yeah, I know there's a lot of suspicion on fat people who start exercising. I think every fat person knows one ex-fatty who started exercising and/or losing weight and suddenly turned into a massive arsehole who mocks fat people and talks about their 'old' bodies and other peoples' current ones in horrible terms. I'm at pains to say I'm not going to be like that - but I know people will still be a little suspicious. Hell, I've been suspicious of people before, so I get it.

      I'm aware of Jessamyn Stanley and I follow Glitterandlazers, who's very open about exercising for the feel-good aspect of it. James and I are going for another walk tomorrow and again on the weekend and we're really looking forward to it. It feels good to take control a bit instead of feeling like a 'victim' of chronic illness.

  3. As a disabled person, living with chronic pain, I spent a couple years feeling sorry for myself and letting life pass me by. I stopped doing all the things I loved...going to concerts, shopping, because I couldn't stand up long or walk very far without sitting down and resting. In 2016 I decided it was time to reclaim my life. I started eating better and I got a fitbit. Just get one. You never have to add anyone or deal with wankers unless you want to. You don't have to join the online activities. I love mine. It is great for monitoring your sleep, and keeping track of your activity. It even has relaxation guides for breathing exercises. I'm kind of amused by some of the dorks who find it necessary to have the most steps in any challenge...they can't ever lose. Lol. Anyway, like I said before I'm m not about performance. I don't need to kill myself. It's no good to do a bootcamp session and then not be able to walk for a week. It's attendance. I just show up every day and I do what I can do. I'm doing this for me. So I can walk when I'm 64. I am also losing weight. Not for vanity, not because society hates fat women. Because my health sucks. My blood pressure was uncontrolled, I was prediabetes,my cholesterol was climbing. Soon I would be on meds for both. Already on blood pressure meds and on thyroid meds. Plus the dope I take for pain. Nothing can fix that. Just walking has improved my mobility greatly. I'm not fast and I may never be. When I started, I could barely go up my street and back. I been walking for about a year now. I went to a concert (Tool) a month ago. I made it! I feel like I have part of my life back. Fuck society. Fuck what anyone says. Be fat, be less fat, be slim. Be what makes you happy. I am 57. I been 300 to 350 pounds most my adult life. I never felt bad about that (well maybe when I was a teen, but everyone is awkward then). But I was also extremely sedentary. I think that, more than my weight, really did me in. So I am slowly increasing my activity, cutting out some of the crap I eat, learning about my food addiction, and getting healthier. I don't want to say diet. Diet is suppressing cravings until I go berserk and eat my fridge (well at least lick the walls). I am learning how to eat better, more fruits and veggies, less processed crap, and occasional pizza. Lol. Okay well this got out of hand. Lol. So...set attendance goals, don't kill yourself, get the fitbit. Haha.

    1. A friend is giving me her old fitbit which she doesn't use any more, so I'm thrilled. I always feel better after a reasonably gentle walk. I know what my limit is and as long as we don't surpass it and I don't end up having a fall then I'm always happier at the end of a walk than when I started it.

      I agree that being sedentary is bad, no matter what a person's weight. I've not worried so much in the past about my weight, but the sedentary nature of my life post-Fibro/ME etc *has* worried me. I will worry about myself a bit less because of increasing my exercise. I will worry a whole lot less if I can move about more as time goes on.

      I've been the same as you - becoming chronically ill knocked me sideways and in some ways I'm still reeling. I still haven't found a way I can make money as a disabled woman. Because I worked normal jobs for many years I don't have a shred of business sense in me and I don't have it in me to make money at blogging. In some ways being able to take hold of my mobility instead of being a 'victim' to chronic illness is really empowering. It's really early days for me yet but I feel hopeful about the physical side of my illness for the first time in a while. The financial side of it will have to come later. ;)

  4. Yep, I haven't worked in seven years. I'm almost afraid to try to find a job. My age is against me now. Plus I don't know if I am mentally capable. If you start walking a little at a time, you'll be surprised how much that will help. I doubt anything will cure my pain, but I can either sit on my butt and hurt or get up and walk with it. I was really worried that if I soon didn't get active I was going to be completely immobile. Scares me to think of that. I have no spouse or kids. Pretty sure my family would chuck me in a home. Lol.

    1. Yeah, that's what made me want to make changes - the 'What if?' question. What if this is as 'good' as it gets if I don't take action? What if I end up in a wheelchair? And there are lots of people who ARE in wheelchairs, and it's not a 'blame' situation - they may have dived headfirst into a pool or they may have been born with a condition. Either way, it is what it is. But if I, someone with a slow descent into lessened mobility - could possibly avert that happening, then that's kind of my duty to do so. And you know, if there's nothing that can be done to postpone the slide into serious disability, then I did my all. I didn't want to be here in 20 years wondering if I could've changed things. James and I have no kids and in 20-30 years almost everyone who's a big part of our lives (parents, etc) now will be dead. Sobering! The home comment made me laugh - you've still got your sense of humour and that's half the battle!

  5. I’m glad you are making changes that are working for you. It’s very hard to keep going, to keep pushing. You always do and it’s very inspring!! I’m thinking that a lot of people exercise for more than the weight loss aspect. It is so great for mental wellness and a general sense of wellbeing. It’s also social (usually) and that’s a bonus for most people. This is a very timely post for me! Over the years my cholesterol has been creeping up. I’m 50 soon and it’s not a good look. My doctor keeps giving me “another 6 months” to sort it out….. and I never do. It’s currently at it’s highest, I found out last week. She has given me one last chance and if I can’t lower it through diet and exercise….. it’s the medication for me. I really don’t want that as I’m on anti-depressants and my thyroid meds already (although my blood pressure is fine, so that’s good!!!) So to that end I have started doing yoga on Wednesday’s with a good friend. It’s pretty funny! I’m as flexible as a lamp post, but the studio has a resident doggy who wanders around, so I’m gonna keep going back until his sits on my mat for part of the class (a huge sign that he likes you apparently!!) LOL. Why is exercise so hard? Is it the pain? is it the boredom? Believe it or not, I have a very sedentary life. It’s just so much easier to slump on the couch with a family size block of chocolate than to strap on the trainers and zoom around the streets on a cold night!!!! Keep up the good work and I’ll do a downward dog (not on the actual dog) for you next Wednesday!!!!

    1. It's funny, the mental clarity I've had since I've picked up the exercise. Things that had been bugging me for months - niggly little things that needed doing - I'm getting them done because they don't seem to be that stressful to me now. I feel less swamped than I did before, and I know that's because the exercise is helping my mental health.

      Flexible as a lamp post, lolol! Maybe I'm a weirdo, but I like exercise. At least, I like walking, swimming etc. I'm sure I'd hate one of those bootcamp still workouts, but I love a good sweaty walk. Yoga dog sounds awesome! I love seeing lots of doggos on our walks. I totally understand you wanting to avoid pills where possible.

      We went out in the pissing rain on Saturday knowing we were going to get drenched but did it anyway. It was pretty good fun until the last quarter, when I was soaked to the skin. Even my shoes were soaking wet. Still, I felt good afterwards. Now I'm looking at walking boots the way I'd normally look at dresses, and I'm even thinking about joining a gym for the winter months when it's too icy to go walking. Who am I any more?! Hahaha. xxx