Exercising With a Chronic Condition
Getting diagnosed with a chronic condition can be a gut-wrenching experience. Maybe you loved exercising and pushing your body to the limit. Maybe you’ve always planned to tone up and lose weight and get some of those intriguing endorphins that exercise offers. And now, you’ll never have the chance.
Or will you?
While it all depends on your circumstances and your health condition, it is completely possible to exercise and stay fit while managing a challenging chronic illness.
How can you do This – Without Damaging Your Health Further?
Manage Your Expectations
First of all, you will need to understand that you likely won’t be able to do what you could before. For example, you might have been able to run marathons and go on hikes dozens of miles long, over rocky, isolated terrain.
Chances are, you may need to lower your expectations. While exercising and staying fit (in moderation) can help with certain chronic conditions, putting your body through intense workouts regularly is going to make you feel worse.
It’s not your fault, and there’s likely nothing you can do about it. Rather than mourning all the marathons you could have run, focus on what you can do. Maybe you can’t run marathons anymore, but you can still go on shorter runs.
Choose Your Exercises Wisely
You may need to rethink your workout schedule. For example, you might have loved running or long walks. However, if you’re suffering from arthritis or some other condition that causes severe joint pain, running is going to be extremely painful, and it might even exacerbate your condition.
Swimming is a great exercise to consider, as it doesn’t put pressure on any single area of your body. The water supports your body, allowing you to move freely. Swimming exercising your whole body without tiring you out too quickly.
While you’re still learning to manage your condition, tread carefully when it comes to exercising. Walk instead of running, swim instead of hiking or cycling, and maybe focus on flexibility instead of weight training.
Being strong and fit will likely help you to manage your condition, but you need to be more careful with yourself and your body than ever before.
Be Prepared To Manage Your Health
You need to be ready to handle any health dips. If you feel tired, rest. If you’re going out for a long walk or swim, make sure you have any medical implements you need.
For example, if you suffer from COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) you need to be prepared to handle any shortness of breath. You might want to carry your inhaler around with you, or if you need more heavy-duty medical equipment, and oxygen cells, which should be used on a ventilator at home – and stay up to date with the latest equipment (the SS-12A is a replacement for Teledyne R22 & MSA 472062)
Knowing that you have everything you need at home or on the go can reduce any stress you might feel when you make an exercise plan.