Endometriosis, Exercise, and Low Motivation: Keep Moving

On Jan. 1, I started off my day with a short meditation session followed by a 3km run. I don’t normally do New Year’s resolutions or commit to a “better me.” I struggle with long-term goals and easily become bored. However, there’s a reason for my renewed interest in exercising.

After my lapeoscopic hysterectomy  at the start of December , I practically gave up on fitness. At first, it was my body that required me to delay any physical activity. Then, as my wounds healed and everything felt less sore, winter days got darker and my mood took a dive. My motivation levels have been at an all-time low ever since, and my body has suffered. I knew something had to change when my lower back pain became quite severe over the holidays.

Many claim exercising lowers oestrogen levels in the body, which is a good thing for endometriosis sufferers. What’s more, after we exercise for a while, our bodies produce endorphins, the “feel good” chemicals with pain-relief properties. Personally, when I move around, my Body hurts less. If pain appears, say while I’m sleeping (sedentary), the pain will generally be much stronger. So, while there is evidence exercising is good for me, How do I find motivation? My strategy is to trick myself.

I’m always ready.

When I walk my dogs, I always wear running leggings, trainers, and a sports bra. That way, if I feel like chasing my dogs or doing a little cardio, I’m ready. Sometimes my energy levels don’t improve until I’m 20 minutes into a walk. It’s about being prepared to spring into action, even if just for the amount of time it requires to break a sweat.

I always make small commitments.

As I get up in the morning, I tell myself I only need to run for 20 minutes. However, by the time I’ve done 20 minutes , I can easily add ten or twenty minutes more.

Whenever I can, I run with friends.

Yesterday, I committed to a morning run with a friend. I really didn’t want to go. To top it all, heavy rain was forecast. Even though I wanted to give it a miss, doing so would have meant bailing out on my friend. In this case, guilt became the positive force that made me do it. Although in pain by the end of our run, I felt like a superhero. I went on to spend the rest of my day watching documentaries wrapped in my comfiest blanket, guilt-free.

Exercising can be good for endometriosis sufferers, and it doesn’t even have to be high-impact. Soft yoga, Pilates, power walking, and even table tennis are all beneficial and will reduce pain, having a direct impact on your quality of life.

The key lies in finding what works best for you. In my case, it means tricking myself the way you get kids to eat their greens. I’m OK with being a slow runner or a couch potato, and I tend to silently curse everything and everyone when I exercise. In finding a way to get myself moving, I am helping both my body and my mind.

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