Have you ever cleaned bathrooms, pulled weeds, washed windows, vacuumed, or scrubbed dishes for too long? Don’t answer that. I’m sure you have as I have, too. Have you ever tried to endure your fitness activities only to quit early because of increased fatigue and pain? Again … a rhetorical question.
We’re all subject to doing too much or even doing too little.
It’s easy to pinpoint the “too much” scenarios. We feel a burst of energy (well, maybe not a burst – more like a pfffft of energy), and we tackle some tidying we’ve been meaning to get to. We clean out the refrigerator or pantry. We scrub the grout in the bathroom. We hose off the patio furniture.
Then we wake the next day thinking, “Did I run a marathon yesterday and get run over by the water truck at the finish line? Why don’t I remember that?”
Doing too much isn’t limited to work activities. We can overdo it at Disneyland, shopping malls, planting beautiful flowers, or hosting parties. In the fibromyalgia, autoimmune, and chronic illness communities, learning to pace ourselves is a subject that’s discussed ad infinitum.
But what about doing too little?
It’s a very fine line to try NOT overdo it, but under-doing it has problems of its own. How do we build up strength if we don’t challenge ourselves? Building strength, fitness, and stamina is shown to reduce overall body pain.
Regular fitness programs (which can include strength-training activities such as light weights) provide profound and lasting results. These include pain management, detoxification, improved digestion, a stronger metabolism and immune system, and even improved mental clarity. Creating a consistent fitness program takes time, encouragement, support, and tenacity.
One way to build up this strength – to challenge ourselves – is to increase the effort spent on these activities a little at a time. If you exercise for 10 minutes, work your way up to 15. If you exercise for 3 minutes, work your way up to 5. If you exercise for 30 minutes, try breaking it up into shorter bursts of higher paced activity.
But hear me – hear me!
Becoming stronger isn’t only about increasing fitness time.
To become stronger, regularly challenge yourself to do more, to do less (but with more intensity), and to change what you’re doing.
Variety in time, intensity, and activity is key.
Would you like some help in these areas? I know of one simple tool that can help.
Using a basic kitchen timer
can help with the
Too Much and Too Little conundrum.
Setting a timer can prevent you from doing too much. It also can set the pace for challenging you to do a bit more. It depends on the circumstance.
Want a bunch of specific tips on how to use a kitchen timer? Check out my ProHealth.com article here called, 10 Timer Tips for Healthy Fibromyalgia Support. (And, don’t forget to rate it!)
Of course, these tips are good for all – not just for those with fibromyalgia and / or chronic illness.
Do you have a timer tip of your own or a story of how a timer has saved your bacon? Please share your comment below!