There was a short news broadcast today about this guy Jud who is running the length of New Zealand. His motivation was initially just to prove that he could do it. Wow! I couldn’t believe this! It kinda got me thinking about my exercise and running. I have wanted to start running for quite some time now. I can even visualise myself getting up and doing it… somehow I just don’t.
Thing is, I have this strong sense that it is exactly what my body needs to really flush out many of the toxins in my body. I can still see hints of them still sitting in my body. I know it all comes down to good circulation which is controlled by the lymphatic system. The tense shoulders, the ingrown hairs, the liplomas on my legs and the highly frustrating cold feet when I sit still for too long! Though my routine with yoga has been really good, I just know it is somehow not enough. I feel like I need to sweat. Really sweat like you do when you take up running. I feel like I also need the deep breathing and essentially breathing out all the toxins that way too.
Now, I know that I have done heaps in my healing journey. I have cut out so many toxins in my diet, reduced my stress in my life and feel like this is the final step which I haven’t been able to complete. I am not sure why I am struggling with it so much. Perhaps it is because in the past I used to get incredibly sore from exercise. I would get sore from doing too much walking or lifting something too heavy and I guess there is a certain fear that the same will happen. I just don’t want to feel like all this healing that I have done has been for nothing. Like the exercise bit, the running bit is the final test and well… what if I fail? What if the pain is just as bad as it was before?
So, I would like to ask you out there what your experience is with exercise and Endometriosis. Do you exercise regularly? Does it really help heal your Endometriosis? Do you feel better for it or worse? Does it make you sore? Is it something that gets better with time? Does the soreness ease off if we continue with it? Perhaps start off slow?
I know, a heap of questions and I am hoping I get some positive feedback on exercise!
Perhaps my body is not quite ready for running and I might have to look at other forms of “sweating it out” initially but somehow THE RUN is the ultimate test for me. For years I would actually look at people that could run and envy them. I envied them because even if I ran for just 5 minutes, it would make me instantly sore. I know I am not that sensitive now but it is still the ultimate test. To me, THE RUN would prove that I have healed from Endometriosis. I know for many of you, it is pregnancy or simply no pain, but for me it is THE RUN.
I have never understood people’s desire for being super fit or athletic but somehow it all adds up now. I get it because it is really about using our bodies and making them stronger and fitter and ultimately healthier.
So, if you have any experience or would like to share your experience with Endometriosis and exercise, I would love to hear from you!
This Post Has 39 Comments
I can’t do much at all anymore swollen discomfort walking lifting can’t even do a small bag of laundry I’m in the full ending it’s all over bladder stomach colon I need a hysterectomy as of 2 and a half years ago. I used rob so awesome I mean really running around all over I can’t even have a boyfriend I’m really devestated
I know this blog post is several years old now, but I thought I would add my two cents.
When my periods started, I never felt any pain or had bloating… but gradually that changed. It seemed like every period was worse than the one before. I didn’t start experiencing debilitating pain until after I had my first son and my cycles returned. Some days I could do nothing but lie on the floor in the fetal position. I had started an exercise regime before being diagnosed with endometriosis and didn’t feel any of the symptoms. After I was diagnosed I fell into a sort of depression and my symptoms got worse. After I pulled myself out and started exercising again (mostly lifting weights, some cardio) the symptoms decreased. Since then I have noticed if I go awhile without exercise, the symptoms come back with a vengeance. They’re slowly getting worse, but I continue to exercise (still lifting weights!) and do my best to eat a “clean” diet to stave off inflammation.
Bottom line: exercise DEFINITELY helps with symptoms!
I hope all is well with you currently… and that you started running, maybe even a little lifting! And that you have embraced that feeling of soreness.
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My husband is kind of a fitness guru, and he strongly advises against running. It puts a lot of strain on the body, especially the knee joints, which weren’t designed for the kind of impact running puts on them. For that kind of exercise, I’d think bicycling would be better – no impact on the joints, but with the benefits of heavy exercise. Interval training was mentioned earlier in the comments, and it’s been proven that interval training is the best way to strengthen one’s muscles and body.
Good point and thanks for pointing that one out! I have heard that if we run barefoot this doesn’t happen so much. I found these really cool shoes which help you run like you are barefoot. Might have to save up for those ones 🙂
Hi Melissa: Before I had endo I used to run about 4-5 miles, maybe 4-5 times a week!! I was an addict. But in the process of running I ruined my knees:( So now I can no longer run. I try to walk every day for an hour or two:)
Running makes you feel great but unless you’re lucky, at the end of the day it might mess up your knees real bad. I gave up running about 3 or 4 years ago and my knees still have not healed. Just a word of caution but go with your gut:)
Interesting 🙂 I find a calm walk and Yoga has helped me so far. Perhaps your body is used to exercise and it therefore isn’t “grateful” for the addition 🙂 Just an idea on that one 🙂
I have heard that weight lifting is good for endo cos it reduces Testosterone levels. Do you find weight lifting helps?
Anyone and everyone will be sore when they first start exercising, if they try to do too much too soon. I am a weightlifter and if I have to take an extended break from it, I never start it up again where I left off – I will reduce the number of sets and the amount of weight I was lifting to get my body just used to the movements, then increase over a few weeks. This lets me avoid that awful pain from the damage caused to muscles during the exercise. As you become more experienced and stronger your body is better adapted to do heavier exercise, but you will still experience soreness when you change your exercise routine or increase the intensity of a weightlifting program. But this soreness is associated with the change and should only last a couple of days or so after the first few workouts.
As for exercise and endometriosis, exercise has never helped my symptoms. In fact, if I am on my period and try to exercise, it will trigger cramping. So I generally take a few “off” days when my cycle comes. I exercise regularly and have for quite some time, it really hasn’t helped the endo even a little.
What an awesome comment Kami! Thank you so much 🙂 That is really inspiring and to view it like we are just kids again 🙂 Thank you!
This comment totally echoes how I feel. I am turning 39 in two months and started running about 4 years ago. Its been a great journey and one I wouldn’t pass up for anything. It always saddens me when I go through seasons when I can’t run. About endo pain I personally discovered that running on day 1.5 – 2 is not a good idea. But I also learned that running on day 3 of my period is the best running day I could ever have. Its amazing how our bodies work. I can go longer and stronger even though I start out in pain. Who knew? My philosophy with running is to just be like a kid. When you are out walking and you feel like giggling and being crazy, just run! Even if it only lasts for 20 seconds…its exhilarating for the lungs and heart, mind and emotions. Why are we so planned and serious? Children just run. They play! Approach it this way while starting out. And when you have a few victories (like getting up early cause your legs feel like they will go crazy unless you get out there and pound some ground) then make your self a goal. The couch to 5K was where I started. No regrets! I’ll never be a marathoner. But I finished a 1/2 marathon and still can’t believe it. God can do amazing things through our broken bodies as we keep moving forward for healing. Incidentally, I began running to help my lymphatic system. I continue to run because its addicting.
It is my pleasure Cory! I hope it heals you 🙂
Try Spinning! It’s awesome! Thank you for your website and help on this journey.
Great suggestion on doing more hard core Yoga cos I love Yoga and feel I could stick to that. I will have a look into where I can do it at the new home 🙂
That is a fabulous idea! I will look it up 🙂
I also felt amazing healing through dance!
I have done Yoga but I am the same way. When I try to workout really hard I either have terrible abdominal pain or just cannot stick with it. I would suggest hot yoga since you sweat and maybe a higher level of yoga. I know my whole body was working when I did Vinyasa flow about a week ago. Today I did Hatha and it was more for the relaxation part. I am just not a runner as much as I’ve tried. I think it is because of my sinus problem and when I run
it makes that worse. It is also not good for your knees long term but probably provides great healing everywhere else.
I started a group on Facebook called “Finally Fitter”. We all try to keep each other motivated and help each other to reach our fitness goals. You’re welcome to come and join if you’d like to. 🙂
Great to hear and thanks for the motivation! I will motivate myself 🙂
That is awesome Gabby! Glad to hear your period wasn’t painful – that is such an instant sign isn’t it?
Thanks for the info. Martial Arts actually sounds like good fun! I will take your advice on board – baby steps 🙂 I might also find someone to run with once I am up to doing longer than 10minutes!
I really recommend the couch to 5km program that was mentioned above. I couldn’t even jog 30 seconds to start with and I worked up to running for 6 mins at a time (then unfortunately another health issue has slowed me down. 🙁 ) Some days I couldn’t do it because of endo pain but I really do think that the exercise helped. Also in the end I knew some days I would hurt if I did nothing or if I just got up and went so I decided it’s better to get up and go! Hope you do get into running. It’s not something I thought I would ever enjoy but it really does feel great! 🙂
About 4 weeks ago I started working out. Slowly begin walking everyday then 2 days out of the week doing muscle training workout. And it has been great! Thanks to my trainer! After a week I started power walking and now at 4 weeks am jogging and power walking. My last period was not painful at all. By powerwalking I do sweat alot. And am the type of person that is hard to sweat. I want to encourage you to start by walking even if its only for 10 min a day then begin increasing the time.
I am not planning on running just power walking and jogging but we’ll see how my body reacts to running if I decide to do it.
Hi, Melissa. Years ago, when I started martial arts training, my endo was already bad, but not painful. I have always been physically active in some form or another so slipping into martial arts wasn’t that hard and no more sore than you would expect from certain muscle groups not being used to the sudden workout. That is to say i was sore almost all of the time initially, no sooner did it ease off and the next session came along! But the body settles in and it isn’t anything like this further down the line. My endo got really out of hand during that period in my life though and I even had to stop training for a while. So the exercise on its own is definitely not enough. I did get back into it later and trained until my second dan black belt, but haven’t done any martial arts for the last six or seven years now. The reason for stopping had nothing to do with my condition. I need to try and re-establish some kind of an exercise routine, which, funnily enough is to include running. I’m not particularly keen on it, I find it boring, but it requires little financial layout and with the woodland behind our house it is ideal. I found it extremely hard the first few times and gave up almost immediately. The reason for that, I discovered later, was simply that I was going too hard at it. After two failed attempts at getting my new regime going, the third time worked better. I simply had to remind myself continually during the run, which was very slow, ‘baby steps – baby steps – baby steps’ and it worked so much better. I still have no settled running regime due to other reasons but I can now go out for 15 minutes and survive the run. Discipline is the key, trying not to outdo myself and a good stretch and rehydrate afterwards. And a running partner helps 🙂
Anyone tried bikram yoga?
Thanks Jane. That is really cool that you did it anyway! 🙂 I will go on an exploration of what I can do when I move to our new home in Queenstown! There are certainly heaps of options these days. I also like being outside – but sometimes that can give us an excuse if the weather is bad!
Walk, walk, walk… Melissa. I like to run, but find that I do get a lot more sore from running and you have to make sure you REALLY stretch before and after. I totally understand about the envy about runners. I just recently did a 5k and was going to walk, but I decided if they can do it I can too. I did do it and it was hard but i finished and had to get over the fact that everyone was leaving me in the dust. I tend to jog at a slow pace, not run. Exercise is so important and I walk everyday. Now I really need to work on the muscle strengthening more. I think the trick is finding something you like to do and then do it. Find something else you like and switch it up. I think it is easy to get bored. But I like being outside, so walking or jogging work for me … Although I am going to look into Kundalini Yogi (Thanks Dena).
I used to take Kick boxing when I was a member of a club and loved it and it was a great work out… Sore but great.
They do say that one should do one day physical and one day muscle training so the body can rest. I have looked at Zumba before and it does sound like fun! I shall look into the Kundalini DVD’s too! Thanks Dena 🙂
I think it may be that we both tend to push ourselves a little too much! I think it comes down to just listening to our bodies and doing what feels good. When it no longer feels good, stop and do something else. I think a good stretch may help too. I think I would run on a lawn or sand or something anyways – then I get the benefit of earthing at the same time 🙂 Thanks Mel
Boxercising sounds like fun too 🙂 I know I need to really sweat and get my heart racing. Shifting focus…. cool concept! Thanks Ann-Marie!
Thanks Amanda. That is really motivational for me to get into it. It is calling me and somehow I feel like my body wants to, so perhaps I should just listen! I agree… just being healthy is a massive achievement! 🙂
Wow! A black belt! That is awesome! I had no idea you were a karate chick! So happy you don’t have anymore pain with endo either 🙂 That is awesome! Maybe we should do the oil pulling thing together 🙂
Thanks Helen. So happy to hear that it was beneficial for you and you stuck with it! Okay, so just gotta start slow. Interval training…. great! I shall give it a go! :)Thank you!
I definitely feel like I have to sweat at least every other day when I work out, but I have always hated running- it just seems too hard on the joints. So, instead I do Zumba at home. It’s a super fun Latin dance workout that really makes you sweat! You can pick up the DVDs at Amazon and they also have classes available at gyms. On the days in between, I do something that is strengthening, either a Pilates DVD (System 27)- also good for the pelvic floor muscles or a Kundalini Yoga DVD which is very cleansing and helps to move stagnant energy. I really like the Raviana Kundalini DVDs. They are great teachers and the music is really nice! When I do this combination of workouts (taking one day off a week to let my body rest), I feel wonderful- my blood circulates better, my body is stronger and more pliable, and my energy is great!
Hi Melissa. I can definitely relate to envying runners. I tend to get really really really sore, to where I can’t sleep, even after just a moderate jog. I believe the endo makes our systems more prone to inflammation, which can relate to soreness. I always wonder if I just stick with it if the soreness will go away, but I find that as I get stronger, I push myself harder, so the soreness continues. I think I need to look at what is “starting slow” for most people and start even slower, to see if a super-gradual approach works better. And of course, running is really hard on joints, so some people think it is not a great exercise for anyone. I still do envy all those joggers as they cruise by though! Good luck to you.
Running is great if you’re into the high impact stuff, I wudn’t recommend it if you have any major back trouble other than weak muscles. Personally I enjoy boxercise and jogging, I find it so satisfying and feel on a high after working out, it’s true that you release all them happy hormones 🙂 As for the running you can build on it! Literally run a bit, walk a bit, run a bit.. etc.. and invest in a really good pair of shock absorption trainers. For me the exercise can be a great distraction from the endo, if it’s not so bad but niggling I find the discomfort can go when I move – a case of shifting focus? I don’t know. I strongly recommend to everyone here that you make the time to do some bit of medium/high impact exercise, be it a fast walk/cycle anything that gets your heart beating faster and those endorphins pumping! 🙂 It’s soooo good for you physically,emotionally, even spiritually! Good luck with the practice Mel, no bother to you! x
I just started running about 3 years ago and I am now 36. I started slowly with this running program http://www.coolrunning.com/engine/2/2_3/181.shtml. It gets you going at a beginner’s pace and you can take as long as you like on each step. Like you, I was never a runner before I started this. I take breaks from running when I’m busy (a week or two off here and there) and I always regret it. Running, in my opinion, helps every minor ailment and especially helps me manage my endo pain. Don’t think of it as succeeding or failing. Think of running as a journey. Each time you run, run 10 seconds longer than the last time if that’s all you can do. You will get stronger and your lungs will hold more air the more you run. The fact that you already do yoga will probably help you because you are already strong.
My desire is not to be the best athlete in the world, but to be healthy. Running not only helps me look better, but feel better, too. I hope this helps and that you give it a try. Running has made such a difference in my life.
I feel the same way you do when it comes to running. I wish I could just put on my shoes and go!! It seems to be so simple! But somehow I can’t seem to get there…
I do remember being in pain from just walking, or after a really active day. But I’ll have to say that it has been a while ago. I don’t really hurt from endo anymore these days. I still do have the tense shoulders and neck, bad digestion sometime, and like you I can tell I need to get rid of toxins better. A few months ago I started walking to see how I would do, and that went fine! 🙂 No pain! I hadn’t been exercising for the last couple years so I’m out of shape and my muscles let me know, but no pain from endo! In July I started back going to martial training. And that can be intense training! And I am doing fine, just really sore from being so out of shape!! I am so happy to be back training! I train 2, 3 4 times a week and I’m loving it. We are about to have a tournament in October, and if all goes well I should get my black belt in November! 🙂 🙂 🙂
All I have been doing to get better is paying off! Between all the great suggestions you gave me and homeopathy, I feel very lucky and blessed to feel the way I do, with no endo pain really!
Great article as usual! When I started my healingprocess seriously four months ago, I had a plan what was going to be included in my program: good nutrion, diet, yoga and exercise. I had not been running for years. It seemed too difficult to get out there and I also felt so sensitive in my body. I didn´t know if my body could take it. But somehow I realized it is necessary to exercise. So I started very slowly running. 2-3 times a week and I did some kind of interval/maximum-training for 20 minutes. It is something like this: First you walk for a couple of minutes, next minute you jog slowly, then one minute a little bit faster and one minute the maximum/fastest you can run. After the maximum you start from the beginning walking, jogging etc. Then you slowly build up your strength. One minute is often possible to maximum the speed and you make some sweating that is so good for your bloodcirculation and is also working on the glandularsystem. I have found out that days that i thought I would not be able to run, i went out anyway and it felt so great! If I had a little pain before the run, it was gone afterwords! Now i can run for 30 minutes! 🙂 I feel so strong! Yes I have bad days too, but I now know that it is possible! So go for it! Find your way of exercising that feels good for you! 🙂