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I was told by a doctor that I should try weight training twice a week for my legs, and that this would significantly help my condition in about 3 months. This seems like a very long time, but at this point I am ready to try anything. I got some ankle weights, so I figure I can start by just flexing my legs with the weights. The doctor wants me to go to the gym and lift as much weight as possible, but I think I feel more comfortable starting out at home with something small. I'm womdering if anyone has had any postive (or negative) experience with resistance training.

Right now my only exercise is walking around in my neighborhood, when able. When I was feeling better a couple of months ago, I did some pilates and sit-ups, and this seemed to be OK (at least it didn't hurt). I even managed to ride an exercise bike a few times, but then they told me to lower my meds and my heart started to race out of control. So now I am pretty much de-conditioned and starting from scratch.

Anyway, just wanted to get some advice on types of exercises that might be helpful.



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Rita, before using weights, I used resistance bands. They come in different levels from easy to hard. My exercise plan was mapped out by my physical therapist. I felt it REALLY helped a LOT when I stuck with it... sadly, I've gotten out of my routine and should go back to it again.

The resistance bands were cheap and I bought them by the yard at my PT office--just a few dollars. I even got one for free at a health fair sponsored by a local hospital.

These are similar to what I have, but somewhat pricier--mine were flat rubber bands a few inches wide and only cost me about 3 to 5$ a piece.


Mine are "theraband" brand


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Hi Rita,

Wow...lifting weights sounds like it would trigger a response that you may not want! I can see 1 pound ankle weights but...lifting?!?! Whoa. My system would go nuts. I don't want it to make you worse.

My doctor is, Dr. Grubb, and he said it is extremely important to recondition but did not say anything about weight lifting. He thought swimming or water therapy would be best.

I briefly talked with Dr. Abdallah when he was at the DYNA camp in Toledo this summer and he said that it was very important to build up the calf muscle in order to support the vein that returns blood to the heart. Guess that supports what your doctor is saying too.

I am doing Pilates...but only in a supine position and very carefully..with a trainer. He thought that was fine. (not doing the up and down and roll on ball...only the eqipment)

I am also having physical therapy but it is highly supervised and the PT agreed to read Dr. Grubb's book and some of the research.

Rita, please be careful with the weight lifting..if you do it...please keep us posted as to what you are doing and if it is helping.

Take care,


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Dear Rita,

I have to agree with the others. BE CAREFUL! I would do like you were thinking, start low and at home. But I have to say if you could get a PT program, that might be better. I personally just do light weights and swim when I can.For my legs I do leg lifts with 3 pound ankle weights and excercises for the pool.

As to how long to see results, good guess. I worked out like that for 14 months and had some changes, but nothing to get really excited about.


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All great suggestions above B) I'm glad you posted on this topic, because I have been trying to work up the willpower to get started on an exercise program...I am seriously deconditioned right now and would love to build up a little at a time.

My personal favorite exercise is yoga...very low impact of course, and only beginner stuff. But I love the way it gets everything flowing, and makes you feel all stretched out and loose. And there is plenty of oppurtunity for toning too...and even weight loss.

I also think that specific toning exercises are great too, especially for the abs and legs to get those muscles strong and the blood pumping.

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You may want to check out the American Council on Exercise website. If you use the link below you should arrive at the Exercise With Health Challenges Fit Facts. Several listed are hypertention, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, heart disease. I copied some of the suggestions in the hypertention write up since you mentioned that you heart starts beating fast - note that it recommends low resistance and high repetitions when using weights and only after conditioning has been improved.


Exercise and hypertension

Endurance activities such as walking, swimming, cycling and low-impact aerobics should be the core of the exercise program. Exercises that include an intense isometric component that can cause extreme and adverse fluctuations in blood pressure should be avoided.

As aerobic conditioning improves, add low resistance, high repetition weight training. Circuit training is preferred over free weights. During weight training, holding one's breath should be avoided because it can result in large fluctuations in blood pressure and increase the potential of passing out or, in some individuals, possibly result in life threatening events such as abnormal heart rhythms.

Ideally, hypertensive individuals should exercise five to six times per week depending on their initial fitness level. However, improvement can be achieved with as little as three sessions per week. The total exercise duration should be in the range of 30 to 60 minutes per session.

People with lower levels of fitness should start with shorter durations (10 to 15 minutes) and gradually (5 minute increments every 2 to 4 weeks) increase to the 30- to 60- minute goal.

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Thanks everyone for your responses! I want to start off with something I can do at home, at least for the first few weeks. MightyMouse, I am really excited about trying the resistance bands. It gives me hope that I might be able to do something constructive which may actually improve my condition. I am going to call my aunt who is a physical therapist, to see if she can suggest some exercises. I also did some searches on google. I am posting some links below, in case anyone is interested. (The Thera-Band one has tons of exercises, instructions, etc.) I'll keep you posted on how it goes!





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I go to the gym 3 times a week for weight training only. I do not warm up or cool down or do any aerobic exercise there, just weights and a couple of core strengthing exercises without weights. (I do the areobic part at home, usually a while before I go to the gym. I walk 30 minutes or ride my bike for about 20 minutes. I don't do it at the gym because if I warm up or do areobic exercise there I am too wiped out to do any weights so dividing up the exercise has helped tremendously).

I do warm up my muscles a little by making my first exercise a lot of reps at a very low weight.

I do not stretch because I am already too stretchy, except that I do stretch my calfs after working them to help prevent cramps.

Dr. Grubb once told me that women especially need upper body training to keep their strength, especially those arms. And we need to build muscle in the legs to improve tone.

The weight training has helped me a lot. I have been doing it regularly for at least 4 years now. My body has changed and I am stronger.

I agree that you need to be cautious at first. Start with really low weights and only a few reps and build very gradually. You can even start weight training with no weights, by going through the motions of a particular exercise while tightening your muscles.

This hasn't been easy for me. At first I would get trememdous pressure in my head and headaches and my vision not seeming right and dizzyness. I have had muscle tremors and can get shaky working weights. I can get too hot working weights. However, I have perservered in spite of all of it. I have spent several gym visits when I have to quit and go home after only 2 exercises. I usually only do four or five at most.

Sometimes it still makes me dizzy. However I have built up the ability to do this so have seen real progress. Now it feels so good to work with the weights. I actually have a new relationship with my body because of it. One thing that helped me was to work with a trainer who was willing to learn about POTS. There are many weight training exercises (majority of them) that are done sitting down which helps.

Your idea to start at home is a great one. Let me know how it goes.

Michigan Jan

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I started by walking down the driveway, then added swimming about 6 months after I was initially ill. After almost two years with POTS I joined Curves because they have great leg strengthening machines and I needed to get out of the house. I just kinda skipped the aerobic part in between the machines at first but now 7 months later I can honestly say that it has helped tremendously. I easily go into sensory overload so I wore some earplugs at first to turn down the volume on the music. It bothers me less now. I also choose to go during a non-busy time so I can do what I prefer and not be made dizzy by a lot of other people in the room. The monitor is extremely nice and supportive. It sure beats PT and it is cheaper. Last month I started a beginner Yoga class because I felt I needed to push my edge a little furthur. Yoga is recommended to improve neurological functioning. My muscles are extremely tight and the stretching helps with a general feeling of improvement however short lasted it is. I always take a bottle of water of Propel with me and drink alot during my limited workout.

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