We’ve once again reached that magical, wintery time of the year. With the sun setting early, one tends to turn inward and contemplate personal change and improvement. Many of us spend the latter months of the calendar listing New Year’s Resolutions in an effort to feel better, be healthier, and have a happier and more successful coming year.
For women with uterine fibroids, however, the resolution to implement an exercise routine may be daunting. With symptoms of fibroids including heavy menstrual bleeding, bloating, and chronic pain, some women may feel discouraged before even starting a fitness program.
However, hope is not lost. Exercise, when performed carefully and correctly, is not only possible, but can actually help you feel better. Follow these steps for a successful venture into fulfilling your New Year’s Resolution.
Consult your doctor
Many gyms and fitness centers require a written doctor’s note before allowing new members to begin an exercise program, and there are justified reasons for that. Your doctor can also recommend which physical activity may be most beneficial and comfortable for you, considering he or she knows you and your medical history, including the size, location and number of your uterine fibroids.
Make yourself comfortable
Before you begin, if you’re experiencing discomfort, take whatever medication you normally take to relieve pain. Put on your best sport shoes. Wear comfortable, loose clothing, especially if you are experiencing bloating. Use a heating pad if that helps you, or have one ready for after exercise, just in case you feel uncomfortable. Additionally, keeping on top of your iron levels and eating right will give you the energy you need for your workout.
Choose your perfect routine
If your doctor has given you the go-ahead to do whatever suits your fancy, then go right ahead and do that! If, however, you have instructed to be careful, your choices aren’t as limited as you may have thought. Yoga, pilates and walking are all low-impact options that suit a wide variety of tastes, abilities and budgets.
Plan your strategy
Scientists have done extensive research as to how the human brain works. We are creatures of habit and though challenging to accomplish, habits can be changed. Turning your goals into your habits is the game plan.
Goals need to be manageable and measurable, so be specific and break your goal down into bite-size, specific, habit-forming pieces. Instead of saying, “I’m going to work out an hour a day for the rest of the year,” say, “I will participate in a pilates class at my local community center two sessions a week for the next month.” Maybe decide that along with that, you’ll take a half-hour walk on your non-pilates days. Take it from there. As these items become habits, built into your day-to-day, add on whatever else fits into your availability and preferences, keeping in mind that some days it will feel automatic, while days that you’re experiencing heavy bleeding, bloating or pain might be more difficult. Your goal is to establish a habit so that you don’t second-guess or re-evaluate the decision on tough days.
Write down your goals. This has been proven to work. Minor as it may seem, it’s a big step toward success. Likewise, record each small triumph in your day planner so you can look back and celebrate consistent success. Fitting exercise into a time slot when you otherwise thought would be impossible, finishing a 2-kilometer walk in five minutes less time than it used to take, or mastering a new yoga position are all triumphs. Document them and be proud!
Having uterine fibroids can be challenging. It can be uncomfortable at times, and can take a big bite out of your lifestyle. Still, you can accomplish your goal of exercising and becoming more fit; uterine fibroids can’t stop you! A little creativity, flexibility and preparation are all it takes.