Of all of the “lifestyle” changes that we can make to help a positive lyme recovery, I feel that exercise is the most important. The lyme bacteria is well known to be of an “anerobic” type, which is to say, thrives in a low-oxygen environment — and dies off in a higher oxygen environment. This is the benefit of exercise; and probably the most significant change that affected my recovery.
Now, without any question, exercise itself, to a lyme sufferer, is one of most challenging things to do. We barely have enough energy to get through the day without some form of nap or rest. But, it remains critically important — if for nothing else, to help break the cycle of poor sleep. I’ve come to observe that during those periods of very low physical activity, it directly correlated to a poor night’s sleep. In my way of understanding things, I was half asleep all day, and had no real need to sleep deeply at night. So exercise helped to deepen the cycles of exertion with a deeper need for good (sleep) recovery at night. And a deeper sleep results in a more refreshed awakening — and daily activity. Can you see this cycle?
So, for all these reasons, I feel it’s critical for us to deepen the cycle: as antithetical as it may seem, drive ourselves to more exertion during the waking hours, and affect a deeper, more refreshing sleep during the night. Certainly, we do these things in moderation, always listening to our bodies. Yet, it’s still a valuable, well, exercise. And this doesn’t even begin to mention what this does to reduce the bacteria load.
On some level, I was aware of all of this, and in that most challenged health period, resolved to begin to get more oxygen into my lungs. I remember it vividly: It was winter, at the New Jersey seashore. And my (very do-able) first event was to simply walk around the block. It felt exhilarating to get the cool air into my lungs; and in part, likely helped me to naturally breathe more deeply, just to take it all in. With that short of an event, it didn’t take any significant health-toll on me; in fact, I felt markedly better by the next day. And then walked two blocks. And so on.
–And is in fact part of the reason I moved to Florida several years ago, for the ability to more easily exercise outdoors all year.