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How has exercise helped you? Share your stories


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Okay, so as recommended on this forum, I’m reading the book Spark and learning about how physical exercise is good for the brain! I have a very sedentary lifestyle and I’m trying to find the motivation to get more active. Can people please weigh in and share their stories regarding how physical exercise has helped your healing?
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Moderate exercise has been a necessity for me from the beginning of my withdrawal.  The primary reason is that it discharges anxious energy and helps smooth out my mood.  I do brisk walking, exercise bands, and stretching on a mat at least 3 times a week, usually more.  I think most of the benefit comes from simply moving my body, but walking outside, preferably in nature stimulates the senses and helps distract from focusing on symptoms.

 

I've found I have to be careful not to push too hard. A couple of times when I was feeling good I overdid exercise and paid for it with a wave each time.  Now I try to be more tuned into how I'm feeling - if I'm feeling a little shaky I ease up and do something less ambitious.

 

Overall, moderate exercise has been a hugely important part of self care for me.

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I have been fortunate to have been able to move for most of this process.

 

Definitely walking every day. Stairs are a part of my home, so I'll weigh that in as exercise too:)

Moderation is definitely key at first bc doing too much too fast can cause a wave or increased symptoms for many.

 

Stretching has always been part of my life but now more so bc I find in recovery my muscles/ligaments/tendons just get so stiff. I the morning I feel like I'm elderly..after loosening up I'm middle aged again lol.

 

But there's def been days where I just have nor been able to...bad aches..some disco ordination, floaty/boaty/dizzy days. So we have to give ourselves permission to listen to our bodies and adjust accordingly.

 

But I'm at the 7 month mark and was able to do a very slow bike ride for a small distance yesterday. :)

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mine was a slow build up.

 

first time i exercised i did 30 mins intense workout - massive wave for weeks - was 18 months since benzos

 

came back 2 months later, did light walk down the street and back. was all i could handle.

 

slowly slowly slowly built that up to a brisk walk thats 3-4 km a day at sunset and its a breeze. I should push it more but im just glad to be at a place where im normal most of the time and dont want to risk it.

 

ive been doing the brisk walk for 6 months or so now and its definitely good for health in so many ways. your mood lifts, everything feels better after. just do it at your own pace.

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I used to do alot of running but stopped. Now I do strength training 3-4 times a week and some walking. Not sure if I will develop nice statue like muscle before benzo recovery.
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I have noticed that a lot of the fatigue is caused by stress. Exercising causes stress as well so we need to build it up slowly. A big lesson learned by the hard way. I suggest adding a lot of meditation if you want to incorporate more intense exercises.
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It's helped a lot. I'm still very much a work in progress. I started out by walking at least half of the days. I did this by never missing more than one day in a row. The second rule I made was that it'd be at least half an hour. I've always liked walking when I was able to do it, so it was no surprise to me that I enjoyed the walking. More exercise gave me greater impetus to eat healthily, which is something I kinda regret not doing sooner but don't beat myself up about. I started to lose excess weight and it didn't feel like a huge ordeal. I felt better physically and mentally. Now I have to make myself have a day off sometimes. It's important to give yourself recovery time.

 

I get fatigued quite easily even though I'm getting fitter. I can do a lot more than my body can comfortably stand, so I have to be careful. It's fine and sometimes desirable to tire myself out but I don't want to cause too much inflammation.

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I struggle with this so much.  Before I hit tolerance and now withdrawal I used to do heavy gardening, walking, jogging and strength training.  I can't seem to accept my limitations now.  My main symptom is muscle/nerve pain, and if I'm have a good day or 2 I fall back into my previous headspace and just do too much.  Like yesterday, I dared to vacuum and do laundry (lots of bending) and today I am right back into intense pain in my lower back where I do have some arthritis.  I'm convinced that w/o the Ambien withdrawal it might be painless or minor, but it is so debilitating right now.  I then chastise myself for bringing on yet another bad day/week in the form of a wave. :tickedoff:

 

Today I start Month 3.  I've seen others that this is a bad month for them....I'm holding my breath.  Sending compassion to all our fellow sufferers.  It is morally wrong that these drugs are still on the market.

 

 

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Deanna, don't feel bad about your condition. We do what we can when we can. As time goes by, you'll be able to do more. You're just now in month 3 so it's early. I'm just ahead of you by a couple of weeks and was on Ambien as you were. I wish I could go for a simple slow walk but I can't FOR NOW.  ;) There's too many witnesses that say that if you overdo it, you pay. And they're right. I try to push myself, I get a wave that takes me days to recover. I think you should just do light chores and light exercise until you heal more. I know it bothers you to not be as efficient as you once was. But, you'll get back to that with a little more time. Exercise is a great way to distract, relieve stiffness/pain, improve circulation etc. Just please don't rush into anything too intense. Hugs to you!
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Thank you Lady! I do know that it will get better.  My mood and cognition are better, and I have been blessed with many good nights of sleep this past week.  I even notice that time seems to be going faster, which signals progress for me because for so long I would look at the clock and think how many hours until bedtime or simply watch the clock all day.  Now I look at the clock and think - wow the day is going fast!

 

Hugs to All for a blissful day  :smitten:

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Brisk walking when I'm not in a bad wave has been key to my health throughout this process... Moderate exercise, whenever you can, is, I believe, key to recovery along with healthy distraction and a healthy *balanced* diet.

SG

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There's some really good comments here. I have to confess I'm not a lover of exercise, but equally I very reluctantly see the benefits. Incredibly small and slow schedule, but equally, do have a schedule, and redesign it to be more even more gentle, before you exacerbate Benzo symptoms. I am the classic "do too much then crash" exerciser. But I was before Benzo withdrawal too, and it wasn't a good way to exercise then, either! The only difference with exercise for me post benzos is that (a) I have to calibrate my exercise in my slower, smaller increments and (b) my expectations need to be more carefully planned. But I do try and stick to plans, once I have made them realistic, and a good exercise plan includes not pushing too hard and planned rest, even before you get to a stage where you are worried about triggering. The type of exercise is just as important. I find slow swimming really relaxing because of the physical sensation of warm water all around me. It supports my benzo-delicate muscles, too. Trouble is, my pool was shut for a while with covid (it didn't have covid, that would be weird, I mean the situation! ). But hopefully if you like swimming, your pool will be open again soon.
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Exercise had been crucial for me to feel more normal. I rode my bike more than 2000 miles this summer. Lots of muscle pain and it seemed like my muscles were shrinking as a result of withdrawal. Then joy of joys, I also developed pretty severe neuropathy in both feet. I just kept pushing through and it helped me feel better about myself. Feet are still messed up but feel better overall.

 

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