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Ask an Exercise Physiologist: chronic fatigue, trampolines and stairs

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We’re here to help—and what wonderful questions this week!

Ask an Exercise Physiologist is here to help with all your health and wellness questions and challenges—lifestyle, wellness, pain, health.

Do you have a burning health and wellness question? Now is your chance.

Every week we will pick a bunch of questions, and help you solve your burning query. If we share our problems, we are more likely to solve them.

I’ve had chronic fatigue for over 20 years. My body starts to feel better after 11 am. Do you have any suggestions for how I can get fit and healthy? I walk 90 minutes most days, but I’m exhausted afterwards.”  

–Toni, 55

Hi Toni,

After 20 years of learning to manage your chronic condition, I hope you’re good at pacing your lifestyle habits. You’ve had long enough to find the magic potion for what works for you!

I know you probably don’t want to hear this, however, but a 90 minute walk is too much (especially if you’re depleted afterwards).

Have you thought about breaking up your walk into sections during the day? I’d recommend starting with 20 minutes in the morning and 20 minutes in the afternoon.

If you recover well from that, then start adding five minutes to the walk every week. Slow and steady wins every day of the week.

Do you have a Rheumatologist or Allied Health Professional helping you with your journey? Having someone to keep you accountable and supported is important.

Do you have a “doing diary”? Or a diary to help manage your activity levels?

Here are some helpful tips/questions to consider to help you manage your condition:

1) Do you know what flares you up?
2) Do you have a healthy sleep routine?
3) Do you have a dietician managing your nutrition choices?
4) What form of activity does your system respond well to?

At Capital Hydrotherapy and Exercise Physiology we run Chronic Fatigue classes, which have a focus on mindfulness, gentle movement lines, energy cultivation, breathing and de-loading the nervous system.

Choosing a form of exercise that allows you to recover and that you can adhere to regularly is the key. Consistency is essential – so you can build on your tolerance levels.

“I have three kids who are 5, 8 and 10 years old. I am quite fit; however, my pelvic floor feels very heavy when I jump with the kids on the trampoline. Should I avoid this type of activity?”

– Leonie, 42

Hi Leonie,

If you’re getting that heavy sensation, I’d suggest keeping away from the trampoline till you have your pelvic floor under control.

Do you have specific exercises you do every day? If not, I’d suggest seeing a women’s health specialist—they will prescribe the right exercises for your condition, and where you have an overactive or underactive pelvic floor.

I’d start with some single leg squats while doing your specific pelvic floor exercises before you start jumping on a trampoline again.

Give yourself 3-6 months of doing your specific exercises before you start loading yourself up with trampoline fun. Now is the time to work on it—especially leading into perimenopause!

At Capital Hydrotherapy & Exercise Physiology we have specific pelvic control classes, and Hydrolates classes (Aquatic Pilates)—here’s our new timetable.

“My legs feel very weak when walking up stairs, and I have had a few falls this year. Do you have any suggestions?”

– Annie, 64.

Hi Annie,

Have the falls been since lockdown? Many of our patients are experiencing the same situation, as their body isn’t as conditioned (undertrained!) to normal life as it was! The saying is true—if you don’t use it, you lose it.

I’d recommend focusing on a balance and lower limb strength program 4-5 days a week, for around 20-25 minutes, plus walking most days. That should get you out of trouble.

Do you have steps at home? If so, use them as a work out in the morning when you’re not fatigued. Do 4-6 repetitions daily. Strength builds on strength, which builds on strength!

Here’s an exercise program to help address your lower limb strength instabilities (a combination of strength, mobility and stability):

1) Lunge
2) SL Squats
3) Hip Extension
4) SL Calf Raise
5) Hip Rotation

You can print the PDF here, and I’ve made a two-minute IGTV clip for you, which is dropping into Instagram later today.

Great questions. I’ll answer more next week!

Want to ask your own question?

Fill out our Google Form, or email us your health and wellbeing questions, to either: editor@hercanberra.com.au or kirra@capitalhydrotherapy.com.au.

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