How should I exercise? Which activity is best for me to do? Those are always repeated questions when you have a chronic progressive disorder. I have Charcot-Marie-Tooth. I would like to lose weight and improve my overall health. However, it is not always easy when you are dealing with a chronic disorder that affects mobility and balance.
The right type and amount of exercise are extremely important. Exercise cannot restore muscles that are already damaged by CMT; it can only help maintain and strengthen the unaffected muscles. An article in CMT Association discusses how a physical therapist can help to design a program that is right for you. I am currently working with a physical therapist, and he is working to create a plan that works best for me.
I am also taking swimming lessons. It seems that swimming is good for CMT patients. I find that I have less joint pain after swimming than with other exercises. Learning to swim is harder than I imagined it would be. My biggest issue with freestyle swimming is coordinating the breathing, and arm and leg movements. I seem to have better coordination when doing the backstroke, maybe because I don’t have to think much about the breathing part.
Many articles talk about strength training and resistance exercises. An article on the Hereditary Neuropathy Foundation website recommends 150 minutes a week of aerobic exercise and activity. That breaks down to 30 minutes, five days a week, which seems doable until you factor in the impacts of CMT on daily life. I would like to go to the gym five days a week, but with work and other commitments, I am often too tired to go. I pay for the membership and feel guilty that I do not go as much as I should. I know that if I can get into a routine, I may be able to maintain it.
A friend suggested that I exercise in the morning before work to allow for the after-work fatigue. But I just can’t seem to get up and out of bed early enough to do this. I know I need to exercise to keep the strength I have. I also know I have to listen to my body.
Have you found that exercise helps? If so, which exercises do you do?
Note: Charcot-Marie-Tooth News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Charcot-Marie-Tooth News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Charcot-Marie-Tooth.