Meet Alexander Zass, the Amazing Samson, once billed as "the toughest man in the world" and known for doing isometrics and lifting small horses.
So I started doing isometric exercises today. Not directly because of Mr. Zass, although I have to say this is a pretty impressive display, but because I'm sick and tired of feeling like a pile of poo.
I know that not all of us can exercise, or even stretch, and those of us who can can't necessarily do it every day. But me, I've always liked isometrics.
My Dad turned me on to them when I was a fat kid in high school, oh so very long ago. Keeping his hopes to himself, he handed me a dog-earred paperback put out by the Canadian Air Force, and I actually did the exercises for three days in a row, after which I happened to have an appointment with my regular weight doctor. In the course of checking me for something else, the good doctor pushed down lightly on my tummy.
"Have you been exercising?" he asked.
"Yes," I said, turning bright pink.
You'd think this sort of praise would inspire a kid to keep on with it. Not me. I was mortified that he might think I was aspiring to be fit and promptly ceased all physical movement. Anyway, I always secretly suspected my mother of giving him a heads up.
Pubescent mortification notwithstanding, I poked around on the Internet this morning and found a nice, short, VERY normal-looking demonstration of isometric exercises that can be done anywhere and (from the looks of it) by anyone.
If you're not isometrically inclined, here's another idea. Some years ago, when I was first diagnosed with fibro, I found a book called Soft and Easy Exercise For Everyone by Judy Palmquist and Mary Kay Bennett. This is a friendly little homemade job, put together by a couple of real-life women in Helena, Montana, and specifying "Fibromyalgia" in its short-list of targeted aims on the cover.
I'm sorry to say that this book doesn't seem to be available online anymore (but glad to say that my beat-up old copy's worth $45 at Amazon!). If you're interested in a copy of your own, let me know and I'll send you the contact information.
Of course, you can find all of the exercise in this book by combing through other fitness resources and putting together a custom routine for yourself. But this particular book is the product of a small fitness center that focuses on women and fibromyalgia, and it presents easy exercises in an accessible way that appeals to me.
This is what I like. Easy. Because if they're not easy, I won't do them. That's what I like about isometrics. That, and the things you can do if you practice every day: