Sunday, June 19, 2011

June Update - 6 month results!

It has been quite a journey!  Back in December, I started this blog with a post about my minimal shoe experiment, and set June for my target date for judging experiment success.

The Test:
  • In June of 2011, when I'd normally be buying another pair of sneakers:
  • Will I still be wearing these or other minimalist shoes?
  • Will I have hip, knee, arch, or heel pain?
  • Will I be able to increase my activity level without putting on arch supports?
  • Will my other fibromyalgia symptoms decline when I reduce this alignment stress on my body?
  • Will I be able and willing to walk the dog all the way around the block at least once a week instead of just walking him in the yard all the time?
The Results:

  • I am still wearing minimal shoes.  My first pair of moccasins have been resoled twice, I've made a pair of huaraches, my husband has gotten his first pair of moccasins, my mother's new ghillies are ready to come out of the gluing press
  • I still have pain, but much less.  Most of my remaining pains are forms of stiffness, and I can do exercises to loosen up.  Stiff feet wake up with a little jogging in place, stiff knees loosen up when I do squats.  The hip only bothers me when I wear non-minimal shoes, I can just walk barefoot for a bit to loosen that up.
  • Arch supports?  Hah!  Friday night, I ran 6 laps around the track for the first time (1.2 km total) and sprinted twice!  Shoes with arch support bother my hip.  Sure, the arch in my right foot is occasionally sore when I overdo it, but as long as I increase slowly over time my arches can keep up with the rest of my increasing capability.  
  • I still have some issues with tiredness, but I've not had any severe bouts that caused me to go back to taking my medicine.  Usually just going to bed early a couple nights fixes me up.  I am sleeping better with less pain, and better able to heal up after overdoing it on the track or in the garden.
  • I have two dogs now, and one is highly reactive, making the full circuit around the block difficult.  I do walk them around the neighborhood more than I did before, but we're not yet on a regular schedule.  The short distances I've been doing with the pup I could manage daily once we get out of the gardening season.
Overall, the experiment is a success, and I'm quite happy with it.

The most visible improvement this year has been in my gardening.  I am working on a community garden at church, raising food for a homeless shelter and some decorative items for the church.  There are very few volunteers, and I've put in a large part of the garden myself.  I've scheduled 2 hour sessions multiple times a week, and I've never once gone home because my muscles and joints were failing me.  (Yesterday we were working close to noon and turned it in because we were getting too much sun exposure, usually we leave due to dusk, weather, or other plans.)  In past years my tiny little garden didn't get fully planted because of my limitations.  This year I have planted a surface area larger than my entire yard at home!