Exercising My Way Through POTS
It has taken me a long time to get to where I am today as I was barely able to walk to and from the bathroom by myself a little over a year ago. I have many limitations, but exercise has been something that has helped me get to a better place.
There are one to three million people suffering from POTS syndrome in the US alone, the majority of those being young women. People who suffer from POTS are unable to stand for periods of time, which can result in severe functional impairment. Treatment options are pretty limited, and the syndrome alone is poorly understood.
Exercise training is currently a key part of my recovery process. Those of us with POTS have a hard time sustaining an upright position, making exercise intolerable. This is why a lot of us begin the re-conditioning process with seated exercise, like the recumbent bike, which has been a huge part of my exercise routine for the past 2 years, along with light strength training, swimming, and recently modified Pilates. I went from being able to run, walk, and spin, to barely being able to ride the bike for 5 minutes at a time, but I have slowly increased my level of conditioning with seated exercise and have only just recently been able to incorporate upright exercises. Exercise training expands blood volume and increases cardiac muscle mass and heart size, which reduces symptoms and provides a better quality of life over time.
There are many different types of exercise, and you have to find the re-conditioning regimen that works best for you. This is what has worked for me. It is a trial and error process and I have found that I have learned so much from each person that I have been fortunate enough to connect with from the Dysautonomia community. There is no one size fits all and you will find what works for you. If you have just been diagnosed, I know it seems impossible right now to even think about trying to exercise, but I am here to tell you to never give up and to listen to your body; every little movement counts, even if you have to do it from your bed. Start small and gradually increase over time. If you need encouragement, I am always here to offer guidance or support.
Stay tuned for further progress and different types of exercises that I am incorporating into my routine.