Training with EDS – it’s not all about cycling!

My personal experience with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome is that the fitter I am, the more I keep my symptoms under control…and ultimately being fit has led me undertaking this epic adventure.
However telling someone with EDS to increase their fitness isn’t as simple as it sounds. When first starting out I would go swimming or go to the gym and only mange small amounts of exercise, after which I would be totally wiped out and maybe not even get out of bed for the next two days. Added to the fatigue and the soreness is the potential to dislocate joints and altogether it seems like a wholly unattractive process. But believe me: stick with it! Fitness can only be built up gradually and it requires a large amount of self discipline and self belief – when I first started exercising I would never have believed that I could cycle 60 miles, yet alone do that back to back (to back to back…) but because of the strength I’ve worked hard to achieve this is now a reality, although still a tough and daunting challenge!
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Training with mum @ Studio 9 Fitness Wokingham
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The key aspect was to make training attractive and manageable. Setting goals and targets to achieve along the way – such as being able to do a sit up, or walk 10 minutes on the treadmill – are pivotal in keeping your motivation levels high.  Starting with the right activities and right goals is important, my main aim at first was to strengthen my back and neck, so I started with isometric exercises, a very gentle mat pilates class and a deep water aqua aerobics class (you are in a flotation belt so your ankles have no impact on the bottom of the pool!) Also ease of training is a big thing; if I had to drive to the gym I would be exhausted when I arrived and wouldn’t be able to train, so I found a local service where I have one-to-one sessions with a qualified personal trainer. Good trainers will take an interest and learn about your condition, how it affects you and create challenging but manageable exercises and really help you achieve your goals. In my case this is Tom from Studio 9 Fitness in Wokingham – the best facility I have ever trained in!
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I now train twice a week with Tom and cycle as many miles as possible with our local cycling club WCC. When I reflect on how far I have come I am still in amazement when I think back to the early days and not being able function for days post exercising. It didn’t feel like it at the time but each session was a huge leap forward in my development both physically and mentally.
As the 24th of February comes ever nearer I am buzzing with excitement at the prospect of getting going and ticking off the days…I just have to get through the Brighton half marathon first!
Keep checking the website for more blog posts and photos and please like my page on Facebook to be kept informed of regular updates.
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Studio 9 Fitness, Wokingham – https://www.studio9fitness.com/
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