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Exercise ... Do more, do less, do nothing? What worked for you?

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Narcissus

Yes, I know there are many topics here on exercise, but I'm feeling very enthusiastic and felt like starting a new topic.

 

After over two months of feeling downright rotten (forgot to take my meds once, and took them twice another time), I'm finding myself in a brand new window.  On Friday I was feeling so restless and awful that I decided to take a small bike ride out of simple desperation.  The first five minutes were a slog,  I barely had the energy to turn the petals.  I felt like my body was telling me to lay off, that exercise was not what it needed.  I've had these warnings in the past, and I' ve usually heeded them.  But as I pressed on I noticed that some of the fatigue fell away. After about ten minutes of riding it was no longer a total drag, and I returned to my apartment so as not to overdue it.  I took three more bike rides throughout the day, each no more than 15 minutes long.  Each trip was increasingly more satisfying, and during the intervals in between my most persistent symptoms disappeared!  I've been continuing this routine for the past few days, and I feel fantastic!  It's as if each burst of exercise purges the symptoms from my body.  Most noticably absent is that terrible brain/body fog, everything is much much clearer now, like a veil has been lifted.  

 

I woke up this morning with the usual symptoms: slight dread, fogginess, fatigue, head aches - and after a short vigorous bike ride the symptoms have all subsided.  Some symptoms persist, and I think that the exercise may stir things up a bit and cause some new combinations of symptoms.  But so far it's all infinitely preferable to the fog I've been lost in for the past few months.

 

This isn't completely unprecedented, I've had other windows like this one, and not all were caused by exercise.  But I think exercise has been a consistent part of all my better windows.  And I'm wondering now if when a window was opened by acupuncture or some shift in the withdrawal process, if it wasn't really the increased exercise I was able to do that kept it open.  

 

I know many of us struggle with exercise, and that in withdrawal there are periods where it doesn't seem to be very helpful.  But I also think that the idleness withdrawal forces us into can overextend itself and become toxic.  I think it's possible that when we do exercise we can mistake our body's early resistance for signs that we're injuring ourselves, when this isn't the case at all.  

 

I guess what I really want to do is encourage the long term sufferers here to try exerting themselves every now and then, even if it hurts initially and feels like a setback.  It might be exactly what's needed at certain times.  For me, the recommended walks in nature have not been sufficient to clear my symptoms, and long walks often seem to make me feel worse.  More vigorous exercise seems to have a qualitatively different effect, it seems to give my system a kind of jolt, similar to acupuncture treatments.  In other words, it seems to have a destabilizing effect, and while that words is somewhat maligned here (and understandably so), I'm convinced that some of the stability we achieve in withdrawal is unhealthy and should be disrupted.  

 

Just some more anecdotal stuff for the archives, I suppose.  Has anyone else had similar experiences?  Are there perhaps places where we get "stuck", and where some form of disruption is needed?  

 

Wishing big open sun-filled windows for all.  

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trouper

this is very interesting. i definitely want to take my bike for a spin now!

 

i've had a similar break of symptoms before. i was "stuck" in a bad wave about 2 months ago of very high anxiety, fears, ocd symptoms and tearfulness. i went to my cranial chiropractor who also has a few other specialities under his belt, one of them being neuro-emotional technique (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuro_Emotional_Technique). he asked me a few questions about my childhood and started to drum his fists on certain areas on my back. i also was in tears because of the emotions from the questions, and i also had an adjustment done that session, too. while i was paying, i felt a break of symptoms and started to feel the high anxiety shift to depression, but felt so calm. i felt low for a few hours, the familiar odd withdrawal depression, but by afternoon i felt "normal" again and stayed in a window for a few days. i'm not sure what triggered the shift. he did it again 2 weeks later when i was in a smaller wave and i felt a tiny shift but nothing like that first one. the last time he did the NET i didn't feel much, but i think i was in a smaller wave again.  i am in a larger wave like the first again and i see him tuesday. i'm going to request he do some NET to see if there is a correlation. i'm still unsure if it was the adjustment, the release of crying/emotions, or the NET.

 

he believes emotions get caught in certain parts of the body and the drumming was trying to unstick it. i was very skeptical when he was doing it but i couldn't believe the relief. i'm still skeptical but after reading your exercise relief there may be some truth to unsticking the waves.

 

 

thanks for sharing!

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mlrp

I was very active before my "crisis" hit in January 2013.

 

Something my therapist offered recently was the notion that after years of regular, vigorous exercise my body may have become accustomed to maintaining a certain level of endorphins and my subsequent (very) sedentary lifestyle (eseentially CTing endorphins) in itself might have been enough to cause a major depression.

 

I can certainly attest to having enjoyed not only a regular "runners high" most times I went for a good run or aerobics workout, but also a true freeing of the consciousness that allowed my brain to sort of "idle" blissfully - or, if I wanted to work on something more cognitive (i.e., a thesis chapter), thoughts and ideas would flow very easily.

 

I also recently came to an awareness that part of my positive self-image was that of a being an active, healthy, fit person. Admittedly some of that was caught up in the "image = self worth" baloney but, more telling for me was the discovery that I had always discounted my athletic achievements. Being able to actually own and celebrate them was going to be a part of my overall recovery.

 

I say "going to be," because I do seem to be in the camp of w/d survivors who suffer exercise intolerance. I had a pretty decent window a few weeks ago, added maybe three verrrry slow, easy jogs (more like a walk with occasional shuffle) into my regular walks and got hit by a wave shortly thereafter. I don't know for certain how much exercise played into the wave onset, but here I am.

 

That said, I am very intrigued by your post, Narcissus, and intuitively feel that you are on to something regarding a very real down side to the stagnation of some of the stability we achieve in withdrawal. I guess I'm early days yet into my w/d, so I must be patient - and I'm not about to give up on exercise (eventually) being a significant part of my recovery process.

 

As a side note, relative to the "disruption" notion, I think I read somewhere (could even have been here) that some people fight panic attacks by plunging their faces into ice cold water and holding there for a few long moments. I believe the idea being that the shock of the cold water sends the CNS into "survival" mode akin to what would happen if one were to fall into icy waters thereby hitting some sort of "reset" button, forcing the person into the here and now. Anecdotal, indeed, and I've never tried it (my panic attacks have been horrible, but perhaps I hate the idea of this "cure" even more?!) but for what it's worth...

 

Great post - and I wish you continued windows and enjoyable workouts!

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alex

I am so glad for you Narcissus!

The power of the human spirit!

 

So many anonymous heros in this place... :)

 

Hugs, A.

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SouthernFreeze

i myself have just started surfing again after a 5 year break, i surfed since i was a little kid before hand. I think the pills were actually a big part of why i stopped...anyway

The exercise for me has been very uplifting overall. Often when i come in from a surf i am on a high but all my sensory's are on opened up too, which can leave me sensitive too panicky emotion of anxiety or stress. But this seems to be fairly short lived and the more i surf the less this feeling overtakes me. I think this is for two reasons. one - is because my brain is slowly becoming accustomed to it, and two, because the regular exercise is making me feel a little better about my health and well being in general.

I still feel terrible some days and just want to stay in bed, but if i can make myself go for a surf i feel better (not amazing....well sometimes) but better, it takes my attention away from it. And then i usually feel at least slightly better when i come in. I usually try and have a meditate straight after i come in to calm down my mind a bit as well. The exercise seems to make it go a million miles per hour which is why i guess it becomes so sensitive to emotions.

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mammaP

It's odd how things turn out sometimes. After a lovely window last week I crashed and felt really ill for a few days. 

Yesterday was the worst and almost fainted a couple of times. Today I felt a bit better but still rough, and all over

the place. No sleep last night and couldn't concentrate on anything. Kept bumping into things and just wanted to

sleep. I decided I was not going to spend another day inside on the sofa but wasn't up to driving so too the bus 

for the short trip into town. I took out my bus fare and put it in my pocket to save time getting on. 

 

In the shop I went to pay and I'd left my bag at home!  :o . I had no choice but to walk home  :o . It took  a long time

and I took it very slowly. There are benches along the route and I sat on each one for a few minutes.  I saw things

I never noticed before, walked through the avenue of trees that hang right over the road. Saw a little babbling brook

and some cattle behind the trees.  It was amazing to smell the trees and I arrived home very very sore but exhiliarated!

Straight into a magnesium bath and felt energised enough to sort some things out while waiting for the bath to run.

I feel much better in my head for that walk. I will pay for it tomorrow and be in a lot of pain but who cares when I had a

clear head for a while and have lovely photos on my phone! 

I thought of Narcissus and this thread as I was wending my way home.  And all because I didn't feel well enough to drive! 

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Narcissus

Sounds like a nice walk you ended up taking, mammaP, even if you ended up sore for it.

 

The window that opened up with the bike riding closed after three days, and now exercise seems either to do nothing or to cause a flare-up of symptoms. I should know by now that there aren't any magic bullets. I really worry that the lack of exercise is harmful, but on the other hand it seems to exacerbate things much of the time. I just don't know.

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rapunzel2

The window that opened up with the bike riding closed after three days, and now exercise seems either to do nothing or to cause a flare-up of symptoms. I should know by now that there aren't any magic bullets. I really worry that the lack of exercise is harmful, but on the other hand it seems to exacerbate things much of the time. I just don't know.

 

same here. I LOVE to excersise. but I really can't do it most of the time. which leaves me sad and also, my body is not used to that lack of excersise. 

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bubble

Yes, I know there are many topics here on exercise, but I'm feeling very enthusiastic and felt like starting a new topic.

 

The first five minutes were a slog,  I barely had the energy to turn the petals.  I felt like my body was telling me to lay off, that exercise was not what it needed.  I've had these warnings in the past, and I' ve usually heeded them.  But as I pressed on I noticed that some of the fatigue fell away. After about ten minutes of riding it was no longer a total drag, and I returned to my apartment so as not to overdue it.  I took three more bike rides throughout the day, each no more than 15 minutes long.  Each trip was increasingly more satisfying, and during the intervals in between my most persistent symptoms disappeared!  I've been continuing this routine for the past few days, and I feel fantastic!  It's as if each burst of exercise purges the symptoms from my body.  Most noticably absent is that terrible brain/body fog, everything is much much clearer now, like a veil has been lifted.  

 

 

I know many of us struggle with exercise, and that in withdrawal there are periods where it doesn't seem to be very helpful.  But I also think that the idleness withdrawal forces us into can overextend itself and become toxic.  I think it's possible that when we do exercise we can mistake our body's early resistance for signs that we're injuring ourselves, when this isn't the case at all.  

 

I guess what I really want to do is encourage the long term sufferers here to try exerting themselves every now and then, even if it hurts initially and feels like a setback.  It might be exactly what's needed at certain times.  For me, the recommended walks in nature have not been sufficient to clear my symptoms, and long walks often seem to make me feel worse.  More vigorous exercise seems to have a qualitatively different effect, it seems to give my system a kind of jolt, similar to acupuncture treatments.  In other words, it seems to have a destabilizing effect, and while that words is somewhat maligned here (and understandably so), I'm convinced that some of the stability we achieve in withdrawal is unhealthy and should be disrupted.  

 

Just some more anecdotal stuff for the archives, I suppose.  Has anyone else had similar experiences?  Are there perhaps places where we get "stuck", and where some form of disruption is needed?  

 

Wishing big open sun-filled windows for all.  

 

Dear Narcissus,

 

thank you so much for this great post which I've only noticed now. I've been wondering about how you are doing these days and am delighted to hear you have found a way to "cause" windows.

 

I couldn't agree more with what you wrote. That's exactly my experience. I constantly preach about walks in nature and then people tell me yes, we do walk but it only makes us feel worse. But there is a difference between walking to a crowded store or worse yet to a shopping mall which is a stress and a walk in nature.

 

The other important thing, as you point out, is that when I feel bad  I feel even more awful for the first 15 minutes of walking and think I won't be able to do it and that there is no use. I'm so glad that you confirm what has been my experience that that might be one ocassion when heeding to your body's advice is not a really good idea. Becasue I have also found out that if I disregard that urge to simply go back and go to bed, I suddenly feel exactly like you describe: like a veil has been lifted in my head: I feel calmer, I see things clearly and it lasts (for around 3 hours at least). Also I've noticed that depending on how restless and anxious I am, it may take me longer to feel that effect. But since I know it will come, I just go up until it happens. The only time I couldn't "walk away" my anxiety was when I CT the medication. reinstatement is still the only cure for that.  

 

Also, in the same way it matters how much Omega 3 or magnesium one is taking and what kind, it's not all the same how and where you walk. It seems that a very important component of my walks is that they are up the hill and that unveiling happens after I conquer some steeper sections when my heart rate has increased. I have exchange of steeper and more level sections and I think that's also what plays an important role in achieving the exact effect you are describing. 

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geminigirl

Hi,

 

I have been trying to stabilize for past couple of months after doing too fast of a taper.

 

Just wondering if other people have still excersized during this time?

 

I really love to excersize and keep in shape, but last time I ran for 30 minutes, I had a headache for several days after (seemed to aggravate my CNS). I am wondering if it's not recommended to excersize while still feeling withdrawal symptoms and during stabilization period.

 

Let me know your experiences.

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LoveandLight

Did intensive excercise, lifted the depression but then internal tremors started for 3 days and general increase in anxiety. Maybe trying to find the right intensity is the key. Swimming, I found good still getting workout but it doesn't feel so jarring.

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Meimeiquest

Yes, generally Alto recommends light exercise, like walking, that doesn't stimulate additional cortisol secretion. Inwould think if you're a good swimmer swimming would be good. For me, pretty stressful :)

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alizarin

Rebounding (the mini trampoline) is a good immune and lymph exercise tool. Since I can't keep my balance because of insomnia, I just hold on to a chair and just let my body bounce. It's a great source of oxygen distribution on a cellular level. I can't do more than 10 minutes, however. But that's just me and my case, you could probably benefit and do a lot more.

 

Light yoga also helps, especially poses for anxiety.

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Rhiannon

Most of the time intense exercise is hard on people in withdrawal, maybe because it increases cortisol levels. Most people do best with some type of gentle exercise during this time, it seems to help as long as it's gentle and not pushing your limits. Walking is really good.  

 

You'll get stable enough that eventually you'll be able to work out hard again, although while tapering you may go through periods when you have to ramp it back for a while.

 

Listen to your body and it will tell you what it can handle. Usually people do best if they do get some kind of gentle exercise regularly.

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Harmonica

I find cycling to be incredibly helpful to my mental state. Admittedly I am tapering very, very slowly so I'm not in "withdrawal". However, I think even light exercise is great. As is eating a relatively healthy diet. A few treats now and then do good for the soul, but a diet of junk will only make you feel like junk.

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MatGMax

I recently found that my body reacted badly when I started running while I'm tapering down on lexapro.

Mind you I'm 43 years old so age and fitness may have something to do with it ;-).

It felt like I had strained my lung muscles.

My throat muscles still feel a bit tight a week after running.

I'll just have to get fit more slowly!

Cheers

Damien

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ten0275

I agree with everything said here thus far. In the very early stages of withdrawal, anything cardiovascular was far too activating for me. When I could, I would stretch and that was about it. Stretching feels good most of the time. As my nervous system began to heal, I found I could do more. I used to marathon pre-withdrawal. Now I find I have very little to no taste for sustained intense cardio. As of right now, I am trying to stabilize from a 10% cut made almost two weeks ago. I probably should have cut smaller as I am feeling light to moderate symptoms. That said, it is about 0350 hours and I will be at the gym by 0430. I find that strength training with moderate to heavy weights is useful. Whatever it releases in me biochemically truly helps my symptoms and influences the trajectory of my day. Further, my muscles are somewhat sore post-workout and my mind tends to focus on that "healthy" pain versus the symptoms.

I think Rhi's take-home of listen to your own body is probably most key.

Hang in there.

Dave

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Moonlitelotus

I've found that exercise is too strenuous right now while in withdrawal. Even walking to fast or for to long makes me sick for the next few days. I've be gaining weight from this and it's very frustrating because I've always been a person who was very into fitness so this is quite frustrating. I really hope more than anything i will be able to work out harder soon. I'm going crazy by not being able to be active. :/

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DizzyGirl

I am going to our local gym 3 times a week. But I don't "enjoy" it as I used to when I was healthy. I just do it at the moment, because I think it might help me in the long run...I dont want to lose hope.

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Moonlitelotus

I get dizzy with any sort of exercise. :(

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nz11

You need to be wary of intense aerobic exercise imo in wdl the cns is impaired and exercise loads it and can set off an implosion.

In 2003 i got free of the drug for 2 months then was doing aerobic exercise and started to have a kind of panic attack...it scared me so i ran back to the doc thinking there was something wrong with me ...no questions asked was put straight back onto paxil ....$%^& it.! And the rest as they say is another 8 yrs of drug addicted history. I was just so clueless and ignorant.

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Patoski

I believe that it was exercise that actually stopped me achieving my complete withdrawel I was an addictive keep fit fanatic I stopped about 4 years ago and rested my body and my brain and thank God I've been off every thing for 7 months I actually thought I was looking after myself with all that exercise I found out that I was actually hurting my self.i never listened to my body an of coarse common sense was out of the question

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Petunia

topics merged

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Athena

Hello all,

 

I have difficulty managing the amount of exercise my body can take. I have very intense fatigue, and it seems worse during the winter, the temperature has been very cold here this year, so I figured it doesn't help. In the periods like now I sleep a lot, not very restorative sleep, a lot of weird dreams, but I sleep many hours, compared to the periods where I am more "on the edge" and irritable. During the summer I can do a little bit of running (very little, alternating with walking), but it feels good. I don't run during winter, so I figured I would take a zumba class once a week for cardio and regain a bit of fitness... My first class was yesterday, wasn't easy but I paced myself, and I liked it. BUT it has affected my sleep last night and today I have a lot more irritability and feel like everything is the end of the world... I so much hate that.

 

To those of you who try to keep a minimum of exercise during WD, do you think I should stop the zumba classes? Or maybe my body will get used to it from week to week? I liked the fact that I was doing an activity for myself that I liked, but I don't want to interfere with my healing... Thanks for any thoughts!

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Petunia

Athena, I think you should keep going, especially because your enjoyed it.  Maybe just pace yourself a little more until you get used to it, and I think eventually you will get used to it.  It may also have have been overstimulating because it was a new experience, next week it wont be as new.

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Athena

Thank you very much Petu for your input.

 

I dont' know yet what I will decide, I was too depressed today. Hopefully I'll have a clearer mind in the days to come.

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Cressida

This is a big problem for me too. You hear so much about how exercise is vital for health and yet doing it can intensify WD symptoms.

I have dogs too. They re 15 years old so fortunately not champing at the bit though they like a walk. The last two evenings I have been for brisk 30 minute walks. I noticed some more fatigue during the day yesterday but last night my cortisol symptoms intensified ( I know my pattern ) . This morning I am very anxious and have that weird fatigue that's not tiredness it feels like there s no charge in the battery. My muscles are bunching up.

I am going to take more rest today and not walk outside. Am going to try two walks a week spaced to see if I can get away with that. Try that for a month or so and if I get away with it introduce a third. Crazy crazy crazy

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Celeste

Hi all,

 

My nervous system seems be sensitive to exercise and I was wondering if anyone has had any similar experiences. Whenever I do anything physically active...walk, run, bike...I start to become extremely itchy. It starts in my ankles or feet and works its way up. I then start to feel extremely stressed out...it's like the cortisol starts pumping out like crazy. It's horrible...I can't even walk around the block. I've tried lighter forms of exercise like riding a recumbent exercise bike and this still happens. If I do ride the bike for a 30 minute workout I feel irritable for several hours after. The sensitivity seemed to get worse when I started taking a multi-vitamin so I stopped taking the multi-vitamin but I felt really fatigued and sluggish so I am taking it again. I just miss being able to MOVE without all of these complications. Before withdrawal, running really helped my anxiety but now it seems to do the opposite. Any comments, experiences or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!!!

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cymbaltawithdrawal5600

Celeste,

 

This post might get more comments if it was in your own intro topic as it is a quite specific detailing of how exercising is affecting 'you'.

 

Most people find that when they are suffering in withdrawal syndrome, any amount of activity beyond a gentle walk for 1/2 every day makes them 'feel bad' in any number of ways.

 

Sometimes it is a lot better to search for existing topics and read through them to see if your issue has already been covered. A search of google using 'survivingantidepressants.org exercise' brought up several results including:

 

Exercise! (And resistance to it) - Surviving Antidepressants

 

Too much exercise? - Surviving Antidepressants

 

Plus various intro topics where the posters discussed their reactions to exercise:

 

https://www.google.com/search?q=survivingantidepressants.org+exercise&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8

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Cressida

I find walking for half an hour usually makes me feel good at the time then kicks off an exacerbation of symptoms. Its frustrating. Walking around the house for half an hour or much longer doing housework etc doesn't have the same effect as a straight half hour walk on treadmill or outside. Only difference I can think of is I go a bit faster on the walks

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Celeste

cymbaltawithdrawal- Thank you for the response! I am still learning the protocols here and will do that in future posts.


 


Cressida- I totally know what you mean! It's the same for me...I wait tables at a pretty busy restaurant where I'm walking around for 4-5 miles per day and it doesn't aggravate my symptoms like taking a short walk does. I also noticed walking doesn't aggravate my symptoms when I'm on a trip or a vacation. I think there is definitely some kind of stress component involved. I am also looking into a low histamine diet. From what I've read, people that are intolerant to histamine get a ton of symptoms when consuming high histamine foods...the main one being inflammation in the body. It seems that there at least a few people dealing with this on this site...and it came up after withdrawal.   


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Addax

I responded in another thread about this issue but I can't recall which one. I'll look for it as well as a journal article. In the meantime the readers digest version is: exercise is stress on the body and the body reacts by producing cortisol. The more intense the exercise the more cortisol produced.

 

Higher intensity exercise worked well in decreasing my anxiety and other symptoms until I fell into a particularly harsh wave, if you will. At that point the opposit became true until I stabilized again at which point it again became a stress reliever.

 

Yoga is a good alternative. Restorative yoga would be a good option, as would any gent all or basic yoga class.

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Petunia

Similar topics merged.

 

My ability to do intense exercise or even moderate exercise disappeared and now I have to be careful what I attempt.  On some days I can do more and get no bad reaction, but on other days, trying to do a little housework or a 15 minute walk will have me feeling dizzy and unwell.

 

I used to be fit, active with good muscle strength.  I used to do back to back gym classes and I could do heavy yard work for hours without a break, even on hot days.  But now my limit is a 30 minute walk on a good day or 15 minutes with a light weight weed trimmer.  What has shocked me is how fast my fitness has deteriorated.  I feel like I went from being a healthy 40 something to a very sick 90 something.

 

Agoraphobia, anhedonia, demotivation and difficulties with showering have all added to my problems with exercise, but as everything continues to improve, slowly, I expect to be able to slowly increase my exercise capacity again.

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Cressida

I responded in another thread about this issue but I can't recall which one. I'll look for it as well as a journal article. In the meantime the readers digest version is: exercise is stress on the body and the body reacts by producing cortisol. The more intense the exercise the more cortisol produced.

 

Higher intensity exercise worked well in decreasing my anxiety and other symptoms until I fell into a particularly harsh wave, if you will. At that point the opposit became true until I stabilized again at which point it again became a stress reliever.

 

Yoga is a good alternative. Restorative yoga would be a good option, as would any gent all or basic yoga class.

That is very useful thank you. It helps me to understand what is a trigger and how it works. Makes sense.

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peggy

for me exercise is a very good anxiolytic.  Unfortunately i can't spend all day exercising, but the benefits of getting my heart rate up and puffing for 30mins last me a good few hours

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