PMR: Exercise:Tiredness

I like swimmimg and I am fine in the water for half an hour - I don't overdo it gentle swim and just moving those muscles. I feel great when I get out and have a good energy level.

I usually swim in the morning - but my issue is that I become incredibly tired around 5pm and then I sometimes sleep on the settee for over 3 hours and still sleep OK at night.

I dont want to get exhausted however I must say it is good to feel so relaxed.

I know it is important to pace myself and to exercise but I am not sure if I am doing too much.

15 Replies

  • Hi

    I think you know your body best so listen to it.

    As long as you are only tired and not aching you are fine .

    Many of us I expect do the same thing falling asleep some nights early.

    I slept 11 hours last night sleep is good for our bodies as it helps repair

    As long as you are not doing this everyday I cant see it causing any problems.

    Swimming is better than a lot of physical exercise as it does not put so much pressure on the muscels


  • I swim around 1pm when I get back home take it easy often doze for a hour

  • Why don't you try having a short rest earlier in the day, before you get so tired. It's probably as much the autoimmune part of the PMR as that you are overdoing it - the problem with overdoing the exercise is that your muscles become painful. Lots of people find this sleepiness happens without having been exercising. Your body is saying it wants sleep - it's up to you to find a way to manage that so it doesn't interfere with your plans. On a blog called Despite Lupus a young woman with lupus tells how she plans a rest in the early afternoon - every day. If she doesn't do it she can't manage the evenings as well but if she misses for some reason or forces herself through the "sleep barrier" after a few days she has a flare. The exercise is good for you - so is the sleep!

  • Thank you all for your advice- I will try to adapt to a rest in afternoon then I may not be so tired in evenings- it's just getting the balance as I would be so fed up if I didnt swim but I think I will try to alternate and not do 2 days running. I will have a look at Despite Lupus about afternoon sleeps it sounds interesting and refreshing. It takes a while to adjust to new lifestyle but I am now only working 3 half days a week as full days are gruelling- I am learning to say no to requests and put myself first for a change- PMR is a silent condition and people don't know what is going on inside- I have been accepted for 2 half days research at Leeds on PMR - effects of steroids on muscle- I start on Feb- if it can help others it will be worth it- I will keep posted here if any revelations - meanwhile I continue to get so much useful advice from here - someone is always there to give words of encouragement!

  • If you've read the Spoons Theory, this will make sense. Daytime nap probably renews the supply of "spoons"!

  • Never heard of it but I will defo look it up- learn lots from you all thanks

  • Hi - I go swimming regularly - once a week on Sunday morning with my neighbour , the other times in the afternoon when the pool is less busy (like 3PM) so I can swim backstroke also . The Sunday morning is on an empty stomach - before preds - and is definitely less enjoyable than the afternoon swims for me. Swimming causes me more fatigue than all the other exercises I do ( walking - uphill - for 1 hour or more per day and sometimes cycling in the gym ) . The PMR is mainly in my upper arms - so crawl is always a challenge - some days I manage a few laps - some days I don't. I am encouraged by everybody to continue swimming, I am 54 . Hope this helps - Jos

  • Hi Jos

    Yes thanks your comments have helped as I also find swimming tiring but rewarding.. I woke at 6am and had Pred then swim at 9am just for half hour- it's enough but before PMR struck in October I was in an hour with lots more energy- I am 63 but sometimes feel older! I am determined to carry on swimming at least 4 times a week as I chat and don't just swim up and down but just move in the water . Now I've done a bit of cleaning , made a boiled fruit cake and I am lying on sofa - I will pick up more energy around 5 - but relaxing us nice on a Sunday or any day! I find family problems drain me sometimes and I try to take a step back - you are certainly an inspiration with exercise you do- i sometimes have to make myself go to swim but when I am in the water it's great! At moment I am troubled with sciatic pain but trying to keep active-we have to - I still work a few hours a week which keeps me in the real world.

    Best wishes


  • Hi Caddie

    Pleased to hear from another PMR swimmer (just online after my afternoon nap) . Because you really get exhausted from swimming, I use swimming as the nr1 feedback mechanism from my body to tell me how I am doing with the PMR. It takes at least 5 minutes for my muscles to warm up and for my breaststroke to become smooth - longer before I can start crawl. I swam 1200m in less than 30minutes before PMR, now I do 1000m in around 35-40minutes, depending on the day. You definitely loose a lot of power in your muscles. My GP told me - you decide how you feel and reduce the preds at your own pace. He did not give me any guidance on how to do it. In the beginning I was a bit puzzled by this, but after a while I started using swimming as the guiding factor. The swimming goes well for 2 weeks with an existing dose - I reduce my preds.

    Best Wishes


  • Jos

    That's interesting to use swimming as a marker- you are doing really well- I didn't learn to swim until I was 36 as I had bad experieces as a child when I was pushed in- then I had a large gap and started again nearly 3 years ago and I got the confidence to swim under water- so just before PMR came on Oct I was swimming 32 lengths which was good for me now it's only 12 lengths but that is better than a few weeks ago- I do breaststroke and as you say backstroke if the pool is quiet - in Jan last year I got frozen shoulder and couldn't do crawl but some views here suggest it could have been start of PMR as soon as I started Pred shoulder pain went.I like swimming also because I sleep better at night. Do you find that? It is good advice to reduce Pred based on progress/stamina in pool - my GP leaves it to me within guidelines. What dose Pred are you are now? How much do you reduce by if swim goes well? I am on 13mg right now having yo yode over Xmas I know I shouldn't but I thought sciatic pain was PMR flare but GP said it wasn't- I live and learn!

    Cheers and happy swimming

    Cassie(soz I put Caddie before)

  • Cassie

    Some PMR sufferers also develop Tendonitis - seems to be my case - which further complicates the swimming sometimes. If I get shoulder pains I tend to also use Tiger Balm before going to bed to help me sleep. So yes I sleep something like 30min /1h longer due to PMR and exercise in general helps. Most nights I am OK. I am currently on 1.5mg (some people on this forum think the reductions are too fast ). Probably better to think of reductions as percentages, rather than absolute numbers or mg. I do not have a medical background but I am just finding my way - see what works. My experience is that your body tells you very quickly if you are reducing the preds too fast with pain - although temporary extra fatigue seems to be unavoidable and part of the process - but that is my experience and everybody seems to be different.

    Best Regards


  • Jos

    Good advice thanks. I have just been swimming And now resting but when I got out of pool I had sciatic pains in calf which only lasted only a few minutes thank goodness. - how long has it taken you to reduce to your current manageable dose- seems encouraging



  • Cassie

    2 more things I experienced when swimming - PMR seems to make you more hungry (watch out for gaining weight) and I had 2 colds (one despite having a flu injection) because the immune system is down . The colds were not caused by the swimming - but I am super careful when I swim and feel something in my throat ... . I went down from 20mg in March last year to 1,5mg now . For me - I managed 15-20% reductions in steroids in one go but I had one flare up going from 7.5 to 5 mg , which is 33% . That for me seems to be too much / the limit.

    Regarding specific body parts causing pain - for me the upper arm. A local physiotherapist who had a recovered PMR patient in her Pilates class gave me one specific exercise - my wife's Yoga teacher another one. So these kind of people for me were a good resouce to help me exercise specific parts of my body .

    Best Regards


  • Jos thanks again for sharing your experience I know what you mean about increased appetite- I always try to carry emergency provisions- I take Manuka honey 15+ costs loads but feel it helps no colds since feb- bad sciatic pain in hip and calf cramps phoned GP and got codeine- how I hate taking all these meds- went swimming today but calf pain bad when I got out perhaps I should leave it for a couple of days- ok on back maybe- feeing a bit of a tablet junkie today- wow you are doing so well on Preds- I am not reducing again until this other pain goes



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