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Shortness of Breath with Little or no Exertion

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Shortness of Breath with Little or no Exertion

It may be the fatigue, it may be the pain, or it may be both causing this. The best solution to help reduce how short of breath you become during your day-to-day is to work on some cardio and strength training 3 times a week each (at least). If you have other medical issues, talk with your doctor or physical therapist first.

There are a lot of cardio and strength training workouts you can do, but the goal is the same. With cardio, move as fast as you can, for as long as you can. This may only be 5 minutes, maybe even 1 minute. The goal is to work your way up to at least 5 minutes of pushing as hard as you can SAFELY. This means exertion without injury.

If you hurt something, rest and back off the speed a bit next time and be more mindful of your movements. I run really short sprints in the back yard with my dog. People with CSS are often fall risks due to lack of coordination, past injuries, random pains and spasms, and easy muscle failure. So doing your cardio at home or in the backyard may be the safest bet for you. And remember, grass absorbs more shock than the street. Freestyle aerobic dance is also a past favorite. The key is to push yourself for a small amount of time to music that really gets you going (something with emotional meaning for you).

strength-training-basics-470x265-optFor strength training, the same “a lot for a little” also applies. Choose a weight or weights that are light enough to move around, but after 5 reps become quite difficult to lift. 10 reps are best. When that gets easy, increase the weight. I was on total bed-rest for an extended amount of time so I originally started strength training with a 1 pound weight. I worked my way up to 3, 5, 10, 15, and now use 20.

I have to be very careful and mindful to do this. No music, and very slow movements. One small pull and it can take a good couple of days to heal. Remember to engage the upper body, core (middle), and lower body in all of your lifting movements, these exercises will be the most useful to you.

Again, the goal is to push hard, but not TOO hard. This is a level that only you can determine. Allow time in between workouts, at least 1 a day. You can rotate cardio and weights day-to-day or do them in the same day with one in the morning and one in the evening (otherwise your body will certainly retaliate).

PilatesAll of this will make your more simple day-to-day movements less exertive. You should notice a difference within the first week. If you are very sedentary I recommend doing these for AT LEAST 3 months out of the year back-to-back (I call it my “Boot Camp Months”) to maintain muscle mass and to keep my heart healthy and strong. Ideally this should be a year round thing. If weights and dance are to hardcore for you right now, you can start with Pilates (on the bed or couch if you can’t lay on the floor, Pilates is kind of like Yoga in movement) and a balance board.380238049_o

Yoga is also great for those who can handle stretching. For me, stretching yields only negative consequences. I can stretch every day for months and all I get is pain, more spams, more pulls, lots of nausea from the severe pain it causes, and my muscles never get looser, they just tighten right back up over the day and that alone is very painful.

So figure out what works best for you and what you’re willing to deal with after. Remember, it’s not worth doing if it keeps you from doing everything else. There needs to be a balance. Granted you may have more energy because of these kinds of exercise, but right away you may not.

Give it time and plan your errands and activates for before your workouts if you feel vulnerable out in the world after doing them (due to increased pain and fatigue from the exertion).

Just remember, we’re “sprinters” not “runners.” Most with CSS can do just about anything for a very short amount of time. It’s just a matter of willpower and proper training. In 2001 I was in a wheelchair, I couldn’t go from a seated position in a chair to a standing position without using my arms to pull me up. Now I walk and I can go from a seated position on the floor to standing without help from my upper body. I may not be able to do a lot or a little for a long period of  time, but I can certainly do a lot for a very short amount of time. And if you REALLY PUSH YOURSELF, that very short amount of time will pay off, big time.



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