Pick-Me-Up, Pamper, and Prattle by Amy Nora

We will hear that taking care of ourselves can be overindulgent or that you are entitled to it in our society.  Tune out what society says, and as someone with a Chronic Illness here are the facts.  You must utilize self-care.  This means that you cannot run yourself ragged emotionally or physically.  You need to invest in emotional and physical health.  There are days that you must rest, this will prevent you from getting sick.  There are times that you will need to cancel plans; yes this is frustrating, but it is unfortunately our reality.  But, there are things that we can do to help invest into our emotional and physical health with give us strength to fight our chronic illnesses.

Emotional health can involve going out with friends, getting away to that quiet place in your home that you love with your favorite beverage, and watching HULU, Netflix, or reading a book.  (I personally prefer a book, but to each his own. 😊)  Go to the movies, take a walk in the park or around your neighborhood, go pet a neighbors cow, or look at the birds that are flying overhead.  Make sure that whatever you do brings a smile to your face, heart, and soul.  It is proven that when sick laughter causes the production of serotonin; find something to laugh about!  Watch a movie, or find that TV series that makes you laugh.  Spend time with your pet, the joy they bring to you is great for your heart and sould.

Your Physical health does not mean that you need to run a marathon.  It can be something as simple as 5 minutes three times a day of some sort of easy exercise, or if you can handle it more.  Yoga, Tai Chi, Walking, Pilates, these are all low impact exercise options that help build strength and help with mobility.  Aquatic therapy is excellent for those with joint issues.  Check with your local community centers and churches, synagogues, or temples to see if they have classes if you are not sure where to start.

Another aspect of your physical health is eating healthy.  Make sure that you are getting 3-5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day.  Try and eat a healthy balanced diet.  Yet, when you feel awful or are down it is easy to hit that quart of chocolate ice cream (I brought up chocolate ice cream because I went through the 12 step program and I still have problems.  Apparently, they frown on ice cream for 3 meals a day.) in frustration.  Between prednisone and many of the medications that we take for our diseases, weight gain is easy.  While eating healthy won’t prevent it necessarily it does make you feel better.  If you want help with dietary suggestions, check with your local hospital which normally will offer a community class or go to WebMD.com

Remember that while you cannot control everything in life, you can choose to enhance what aspects of your life you can.  Decide today to do what you can to help make a difference.  Even a series of small baby steps over times makes a huge difference.

In Lupie Love,

Amy

How Many Times Have you Heard, “Just Lose Some Weight”?

If I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard over the course of my life that losing weight would help, I would be a rich rich women by this point in life. Yes, I know that getting to and staying at a healthy weight is important! So is eating the right foods and exercise. But in the long run will losing weight really fix or cure your health issues? Yes, I’m sure it probably will help some. But it’s not going to fix everything!! People like to throw that comment out for every issue. Oh you have headaches, lose some weight! Oh you have IBS, lose some weight! Oh you aren’t having any luck dating, lose some weight. Oh you’re having problems getting pregnant, lose some weight. I assume in the majority of cases people truly do not mean to be a Debby downer by telling others this. But they also probably have no idea how it feels to hear that from people you loved and respect, and expect some sensitivity from. If you’ve never struggled with your weight you have no idea how it feels for a friend or family member to direct those three words at you. “LOSE SOME WEIGHT!”

As a person who has struggled with my weight since High School I understand what a touchy topic this can be. I look back at my teen years and would give anything to be back at that weight now. But sadly that Amber was about 40lbs ago. But I didn’t just get fat due to poor choices and lack of proper food, just like many other chronically ill. Most of us probably took the DEVIL drug, aka Prednisone. Yes, prednisone fixes many many things. But it is also known to cause weight gain due to the cravings many deal with while taking the medication! And not like 3lbs weight gain. We are talking like 25, 50, 75 lbs. And it came on FAST. Your symptoms are mostly gone but now you got all the bonus weight. Sigh. The weight no one wants.

But it’s not just Prednisone that causes weight gain. Hormones often used for birth control can also cause weight gain, as well as Lyrica which is used to treat fibromyalgia! There are many many more that can cause weight gain. The point I’m trying to make here is that every over weight person you see did not just sit on the couch eating chips and watching Netflix all day! Even though that is what people automatically assumes, it is not always the case.

Did anyone think that maybe those of us who gained weight while on Prednisone might deal with a LOT of daily pain or extreme exhaustion!?!? Have you ever lived with so much widespread pain that literally every joint, bone and muscles hurt so bad that it’s torture even getting out of bed. Much less taking a walk or going to the gym. Does anyone consider the fact that many of us who are over weight can’t stand the way we look and can’t look at ourselves in the mirror. Many of us who have gained weight due to medical conditions or medications never asked for this. We didn’t just give up on ourselves and sit and eat chocolate all day. We got sick!!! And because of that many have taken medications that can cause rapid weight gain that doesn’t come off easily.

There are also those in the chronically ill community that gained weight because of the pain. They may have not felt like being the most active person. Every step, every tiny movement make your whole bodg ache. Then when someone throws out the “just lose some weight,” comment and you just wish they could live in your shoes for 24 hours so they know what’s it’s like. It’s honestly really hard to do anything at times, even low impact exercise can hurt! So what I am saying is when you already hurt in places you didn’t know could hurt the last thing you want to do is “hit the gym!”

If you really think you are giving offering up some groundbreaking piece of advice to work out and eat healthy. YOU ARE NOT! We’ve heard it from family and friends and even the doctors. I will admit the best I’ve ever felt was when I wasn’t walking in the morning before it got hot and ate a diet low on gluten. (gluten has been found to mess with inflammation in everyone.) It just wreaks havoc with the chronically ill. But let’s be honest eating healthy can be really expensive! And no that’s not a cop-out, but if you have ever tried to eat a gluten free diet, it’s hard at first and it’s expensive. And let’s be honest until you are ready to make a big change it isn’t going to happen. We are the only ones who can decide that we need to change the way we eat &/or our activity level. No one else can do it for us.

I guess the takeaway from my rant and rambling is that I wish people would work on their delivery. If you are kind and truly concerned about my wellbeing, I’m going to be more apt to listen to you. More than I will listen to the person who just tells me I’m fat and I need to lose weight. It’s not a surprise I know what I look like. I understand that research shows “When patients lose 5-29 percent of their body weight, the symptoms of chronic Conditions will improve!”Per the Cleveland Clinic. I know this but sometimes just getting your body moving and making that first move is the hardest part.

Exercising with Chronic Illness

Exercise is not something I have talked a lot about in previous posts. Because it’s not something I have been doing. And it’s not something I enjoy, or to be honest know that much about. But honestly it’s time! The cardiologist cleared my heart and we are looking at my lungs. But recently a doctor that I love and respect very much reminded me that the shortness of breath and high heart rate I have been experiencing could be something as simple as deconditioning. So it’s time for me to get back to exercising. And to make getting fit a priority. As I started researching how I should get back into the fitness world I thought others could use the information as well. So today I wanted to share a bit of information on what kind of exercise is good for those with chronic illness/pain and joint issues.

Before we get into any suggestions about exercise I wanted to remind you about a few things.

  • Before beginning any exercise program you should ALWAYS contact your physician to get the okay.
  • You should always start with low impact and go slow! You can increase your impact and intensity slowly.
  • Always move at your own pace and never try to keep up with someone you are with or with a class.
  • Lastly if your pain level increases by more than 2 points from where it was at the start of the exercise you should stop &/or modify that specific exercise to try to ensure that you don’t cause a flare.

It is recommend that everyone do a combination of stretching exercises, strengthening exercises and cardiovascular exercises! Stretching will help to increase flexibility, loosen any tight or stiff muscles, as well as improve range of motion. Everyone should be doing some stretching EVERYDAY!! Strengthening will help to build up muscle strength. And cardiovascular exercise has a plethora of healing benefits. Now let’s look at what specific cardiovascular or aerobic exercises you could be doing.

1. Walking – is an excellent form of light aerobic exercise. It helps to bring oxygen and nutrients to your muscles, helps rebuild stamina, boosts energy, and will reduce stiffness and pain. Other options of low impact aerobic exercises would be riding a stationary bike or using an elliptical.

2. Yoga – Practice the most gentle kind of yoga you can, preferably the Hatha form of yoga. This kind of yoga is a combination of postures, breathing, and meditation that will reduce the physical and physiological symptoms of pain. A study that was published in the Journal of Pain states that participants reported significantly less pain when doing yoga. Yoga will also help to build endurance and energy while improving sleep and concentration.

3. Tai Chi – The benefits seen with tai chi are very similar to those seen in those who do yoga. Tai Chi is a very low impact kind of exercise where the participants slowly, gradually and gracefully preform a series of movements. Studies show that this form of exercise may even be better to relieve fibromyalgia pain than yoga!

4. Swimming & Water Aerobics – Any exercise in the water is good for people with chronic pain or joint issues. It is also an excellent alternative to walking for those with mobility issues. Being in the water provides a low-impact cardiovascular exercise that helps to keep you moving without putting added stress on joints and muscles.

The last point I want to make applies to all people. Not just those who are chronically ill. It is something I have struggled with love you whole life not just the last six years since I’ve been diagnosed. I don’t know about all of you but if I don’t have an accountability partner I am less likely to stay accountable and stay on track. If I have someone who is checking in on me a few times a week saying hey how is your diet, and how is your exercise routine going? I am more likely to actually stay on top of those things. So I strongly recommend finding someone in your life to be that person for you. So make sure you find someone to help you stay on track.

We took a brief look at some exercises that are good for those who have chronic pain or have joint issues. So maybe this will give you an idea of where you could start. I did not cover stretching directly because most people have a basic idea of how to stretch. I also didn’t cover strength training, because it can be very complicated and vary dramatically from one person to the next. However, there are articles for reference on both below. If you do plan on starting a new exercise plan please let me know what you plan on doing. I know for me having an accountability partner works best for me. If I don’t have someone to keep me accountable then I won’t stick to my plan as well as I do with that partner. So that is also something for you to keep in mind. If I can help you in any way please let me know. I would be very happy to help!!! I hope this helps some of you. Below are some articles for references on exercise with chronic illness for you.

With Love,

Amber

References:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/exercise-and-chronic-disease/art-20046049

Expert Advice: How to Overcome Obstacles to Exercising with Chronic Illness

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/arthritis/in-depth/arthritis/art-20047971

https://www.fmcpaware.org/exercise/strength-training-for-the-person-with-fibromyalgia.html

Depression….5 Tips for Overcoming

Depression is real! Not just for those who are chronically ill but also for those who aren’t! This time of year is especially bad for depression because it’s cold and you don’t want to go out. And if you are chronically ill you don’t get to go out as often because of all the cold and flu going around. Especially this year with the flu shot being approximated to be only 10% effective. So what can we do to handle depression in the winter months that doesn’t involve medication. Let’s look at a few options.

1. Find and stick to a daily routine– This is so important especially for those of us who are not working. The days run together and you don’t know what day it is or even what time of day it is! So finding a routine that you can stick to everyday will help keep your days less blah.

2. Set Goals– When you are depressed you feel like you can’t get anything done. So set small goals for yourself EVERYDAY!! Some that you know you can accomplish and mark off this list. I don’t know about you but for me I love being able to cross things off a list. There is such a feeling of accomplishment. (For information on how to set goals see my previous post on goal setting)

3. Exercise – To many spoonies this is the most annoying topic to discuss at a drs appts. When you feel like crap the last thing you want to do is exercise. But it’s proven that exercise releases endorphins (the feel good chemical), and it will make you feel better. Even if you can just get in 10 min two or three times a week. And it doesn’t have to be some great big workout with weights and sprints. Just walking around the block or doing yoga is plenty. Just something to get that heart pumping.

4. Take on some kind of responsibility– I know from experience that the last thing you want to do when you are depressed is commit to anything. But especially for those who aren’t working or going to school this one is important. Try and take on something like cooking meals for your family one or two nights a week. Or find some place to volunteer a couple days a month. Much like setting goals if you you can accomplish something it will make you feel better overall and help to counter the depression.

5. Try to have fun– When you are depressed usually the last thing you want to do is stop sulking and have fun. But try anyway. If you enjoy reading pick up a new book, if you’re a movie person go see the movie that you’ve been wanting to see. If your favorite things still don’t seem fun just keep trying. Eventually you will get out of that rut!

Depression is hard and frustrating. And something that everyone deals with at some point. But there are ways to fight depression other than medications. If those non-pharmacological methods don’t work it might be time to talk to your doctor. There is nothing wrong with taking medication if you need it and don’t let anyone make you feel that way if you need to go that direction. These are just a few ways to help fight depression, there are tons of options and books you can read on the matter. Because one option isn’t going to work for everyone. If you feel like you are slipping to far it’s okay to reach out for help from a friend or family member. Remember, depression sucks but it is only temporary!

Tips to Help You Get Moving in Morning. 

Those first movements of the morning. You know what I’m talking about. When you wake up and try to move for the first time of the day……. Painful? Stiff? Frustrating? Are these words you would use to describe the morning in your world? They are for me. There are mornings when I wake up and am almost in tears bc I literally can’t straightened or bend (depending on the joint) and extremity! What can we do to help this? What can we do to make our mornings a little less stressful and painful? 
 Tips for getting moving 

1. Take a hot bath or shower. 

2. Avoid nicotine, alcohol or caffeine before bed. These stimulate your brain and can make it hard to get a good restful nights sleep. 

3. Try a morning self massage of the areas that are the most sore. 

4. Try to avoid sleeping on your stomach as it causes unnecessary stress on your low back. 

5. Try to avoid sleeping in cold damp areas as both these conditions can cause increased stiffness in the mornings. 

6. Do light and easy stretches while laying in bed!

7. Drink lots of water! It’s just good for you, period. But it will also help you be less stiff. 

8. Make sure to dress for the season as the extremes can make it harder on your body. 

9. Try to get regular exercise. Even 10min a day will help! 

10. Plan ahead! This one can be very helpful. This can be something as simple as making sure you have plenty of time to get up and around in the morning. 

11. Take your pain medication before getting out of bed. This one will take some planning, especially if you have to be somewhere. Because you will need to give the meds 30min to an hour minimum to kick in. 

12. Use your clothes dryer to your advantage. Before you need to get dressed put your clothing in the dryer on high for just a few short minutes. This will help soothe those achy joints! 

In the list of things that will improve your morning-time stiffness there are a couple catch 22s. The shower, yes it will loosen everything up and make you feel better. But it may also deplete you mr energy tank for the rest of the day. Also, regular exercise. We all know it will help. But it’s another that sometimes you just think “I hurt so bad, the last thing I want to do is exercise.” Or at least I know I do. However, exercise doesn’t have to be aerobics or heavy weight lighting. It could be riding a stationary bike or walking for 10 min. I know that my Rheumatolgist suggest some kind of exercise for at least 10 min a day. Doesn’t matter what it is, just get that badly moving!!  
Personally, my biggest suggestion is to make sure you have plenty of time in the morning. That way if you are more sore than the average day or if you need to jump in the shower to soothe those joints you have time. There is nothing worse than waking up late and having to push through the stiffness simply because you don’t have time to adequately deal with it. 

If you feel like your stiffness in the morning is getting worse or if you notice it primarily in one joint (like a knee), please make sure to contact your doctor and let them know. 

I included this little diagram of a few exercises you can do first thing in the morning to get moving.   


Hope some of these tips help!

-Amber 
Resources:
http://www.everydayhealth.com/fibromyalgia-pictures/7-ways-to-cope-with-fibromyalgia-morning-pain.aspx
http://www.fmcpaware.org/fundraising/176-movement-therapies/907-10-tips-to-overcome-morning-stiffness.html
http://www.healthline.com/health-slideshow/rheumatoid-arthritis-morning-stiffness

The Ins and Outs of Fatigue

Fatigue…… something everyone deals with at one point or another. The definition of fatigue is a lack of energy and motivation. This means anyone can be effected by fatigue. However, fatigue brought on by a chronic illness is like nothing a person has ever experienced. And most people don’t understand this kind of fatigue. It’s the kind of fatigue that makes daily life hard and sometimes impossible. It makes special outings a thing that is paid for for days, not just a fun care-free time out of the house. How do you explain this fatigue to others who think you are just being lazy? The best definition I’ve heard is: If you’ve ever had the flu and been so tired you can’t move, well multiply that at least 20 fold and you will know the feeling of chronic fatigue. Are there more than one type of fatigue? How can you combat it? What can you do to ease the fatigue? Let’s learn a little about fatigue find out what we can all do to ease its effects. Clinically fatigue is divided into three different categories: 1. Fatigue caused by a systemic disease like cancer and immune conditions. With cancer patients the fatigue is usually defined as acute and related to the disease or its treatments. Or a more chronic fatigue in those undiagnosed that often resembles chronic fatigue syndrome. Or it can be classified based on timing. Like with sarcoidosis, which is further divided into morning, intermittent and afternoon fatigue. 

2. Fatigue that one might experience when they have neuromuscular disorders, during normal exercise. Patients who have MS may complain of fatigue. This fatigue is separated into two categories. Nerve fiber fatigue which is based on pathology. And fatigue of disability based on the face they need more energy when dealing with such a chronic illness! And also sleep deprivation caused by the disease or its treatments. 

3. Fatigue that defined as “painful weariness” that generally has no defined cause.
So now let look at how Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is different from other types of fatigue. CFS is diagnosed when there is no clear or possible medical conditions present. A person has to meet certain requirements to be diagnosed with CFS. Those requirements are: One must have unexplained, persistent fatigue for six months, or longer along with four of the following issues. Loss of memory or concentration, sore throat, enlarged lymph nodes in your armpits or neck, unexplained muscle pain, pain that moves from one joint to another with no swelling or redness, headache that is new and has increased severity and pattern, sleep that is not refreshing, extreme exhaustion lasting more than 24 hours after physical or mental exercise. Once the diagnosis is made the most common treatments are sleeping pills, antidepressants and therapy. 
Now that we have looked at the kinds of fatigue and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Let’s look at what we can do to decrease fatigue in all cases. 

– Pace yourself throughout the day and set your own pace. Try to avoid over doing even if you are having a “good day.” If you pace yourself throughout the day you will hopefully be able to get everything done you want without being totally exhausted. 

– Get moving and exercise. Lack of exercise can cause the muscles more stiff and painful, and make exercise more difficult and tiring. You will need to build up your exercise. You can’t ever go too slow. If you do too much you are likely to cause you other conditions to flare. Schedule your workouts so they become a regular part of your schedule, when you keep your schedule it’s easier to keep doing the exercise. Also, pick a time of day that is best for you. If you choose a time when you are less stiff and tired it will be easier to continue your regimen. 

– Just say NO. Saying no is okay and should be something you do when needed. Try to plan your activities when you are least tired. And if it happens that something falls on a day that you are extremely fatigued don’t be afraid to reschedule. It’s better to reschedule then overdo and pay for it later. 

– Have a bedtime routine. Lack of sleep can cause a person to be fatigued. At bedtime, do whatever helps you wind down. Take a hot bath, listen to soothing music, gentle stretching, or maybe some light reading. And don’t get into bed until you are ready to go to sleep. Make sure the area where you sleep is dark and quiet and at a comfortable temperature for sleeping. Try to end all screen time (phones, iPads, and TV) at least an hour before you are planning to go to sleep. 
Hopefully, after reading this post you can define your fatigue and find ways to decrease fatigue. Always, talk to your doctor if your fatigue is worsening or your current sleep regimen is no longer working. Also, make sure you are doing what you can on your end to fight fatigue and get better sleep. 
-Amber
References: 

http://www.everydayhealth.com/fibromyalgia-pictures/fight-back-against-fibromyalgia-fatigue.aspx#10

Autoimmune Fatigue: The Staggering Symptoms Beyond “Feeling Tired”

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/chronic-fatigue-syndrome/basics/treatment/con-20022009

To Cope or Not to Cope

We all have family, we can’t pick them. We are stuck with them. Sadly, though they are usually the ones who hurt us the most. Whether it be by not being supportive or by making snide comments about our illness. When they make rude comments about us being lazy or us not doing anything to improve our health, it is very hurtful and hard to take. That being said families of people with autoimmune issues also have a lot to deal with. Its not just the person with the illness that has to learn how to cope.  So, why do our families act the way they do? Do they not understand or do they just not care,  that is the real question. Do we need to education them more? Or will they ever understand? Its hard to say for sure. Some people will just never understand and we learn how to take it. All we can do is provide them with the best education for our situation as we can. What they do with it is there purgative. 

How do you define coping? Most would say it is how we face and deal with problems or issues that arise throughout our lives. It involves facing the problem head on and finding a way to deal with said problem. People who are diagnosed with chronic illness need the love and support of their family in order to cope successfully. That can be reciprocal, the families also need the love of the ill in order to cope. Many times people who aren’t coping can have trouble expressing their feelings and feel that they are out of control.  Which makes the situation harder on everyone.  So how do you go about learning to cope or educating our families to cope?  

Knowledge is power “A man of knowledge is reinforcing power” Proverbs 24:5. The first step in this process is to find a doctor that you can easily communicate with and who you find helpful.  One who doesn’t rush you in and out of his office and is willing to answer any and every question that you have.  The next step is to keep asking questions and be specific until you totally and completely understand your situation. One important thing to do during this step is to WRITE YOUR QUESTIONS DOWN!!! It is very hard to remember everything when you have such a short time with doctor. Next, it is very important that you inform your family as early as you can. The longer you wait the more they may feel left out. One of the most essential parts of coping is learning how to deal with and control harmful emotions.  It is really easy when emotions are high and raw for hurtful things to be said. 

There are somethings that should NEVER be said to someone with a chronic illness, and it never hurts to pass that information along to family members.  Things never to say:

  • But you don’t look sick!
  • You’re cancelling on me AGAIN?
  • I know how you feel.  (Unless you have a chronic illness YOU DONT KNOW!)
  • If you need anything, let me know! (Really!?! How many people actually follow through with that?)
  • If I could be sure your health would be OK by/for (fill in the date/ or occasion)
  • You can beat this! You will be back to normal in no time at all!
  • Should you be eating THAT?
  • I wish I could just stay home all the time.
  • God never gives you more than you can handle!

Our families should focus on the things we need to hear to better help us cope!  Things to say:

  • Tell me more- Ask how their day was or how they are feeling and then REALLY listen. 
  • I believe you – For most people sick or not validation is vital when dealing with something big. This is even more true for people with the Invisible Illnesses because the symptoms are invisible and they are struggling with a way to “prove” their illness. 
  • I support you- Many times people lose long time friendships and even relationships with their families when they become ill. So the more support the better!
  • I care about you and I’m here with you for the long haul.

Dealing with the diagnosis of a chronic illness and living with a chronic illness is one of the worst and hardest things a person can ever go through.  And we need all the support we can get. Whether it be from families, friends or support groups.  Do whatever necessary is to find people to support you.  I hope you find some help in this, and feel free to share this with family if you find it helpful 

-Amber

Resources 

  • https://themighty.com/2016/04/what-to-say-and-not-say-to-someone-with-a-chronic-illness/
  • http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/102000363#h=7
  • http://autoimmunewellness.com/5-things-say-someone-autoimmune-disease/

WHY EXERCISE DOESN’T HAVE TO BE A DIRTY WORD


When you have a chronic illness and/or chronic pain the last thing you want to do is exercise.  But it’s one of the first thing that you will hear from your doctor as a way to make you feel better.  That often leaves you frustrated and annoyed, saying “I hurt too much and am way to fatigued to ever think about exercise.” However research shows that it does have benefits for the chronically ill. That leaves you asking “What kind of exercise can I do when I can hardly move.”  Lets discuss that along with the benfits of exercise.

So here we go, exercise is good for you they say. Well how is it good for us?

Physical benfits of exercise:

  • Helps to build a stronger heart muscle to help combat heart disease.
  • Helps to low blood sugar
  • Improves muscle strength to help stabilize your back and improves muscle function.
  • Can reduce pain caused by Arthritis or Fibromyalgia.

Exercise can also help to reduce depression or anxiety a person may feel. A study was done at UC-Davis School of Medicine that showed that people with better mental health feel less pain. So we need to work to improve our mental health by exercising. Exercise causes release of the “feel good hormones,” (serotonin and dopamine)  which work to improve your mood, appetite, sleep and memory.

So now we know why we need to get moving, but what’s the next step?

  • It is a MUST that you speak with your physician before you start any kind of exercise program. They will be able to help you determine what kinds of activities and intensity levels you might be able to handle. 
  • Consider working with a personal trainer who has experience with your illness. As they can be helpful when starting a new exercise regimen.
  • Start SLOW and build up. If it has been awhile since you have been doing any execise it will take a while to build up your endurance. Walking for a few minutes a day is better than no walking.  Your body will slowly adapt  and get strong with regular exercise.
  • Choose activities that you enjoy. If you enjoy doing something you are more likely to want to keep doing it. 
  • Choose  a buddy to workout with. This can help to keep you motivated and accountable. 
  • Alternate your activities to keep exercise fresh. 
  • Be patient with your progress. Overexerction could make your pain worse.
  • Move at your own pace. Never try to keep up with a class if what they are doing is causing you pain. 
  • And most importantly accept that some days you will be able to do more that others.

Now we know why, and what to do and accept when starting a new exercise program.  But what kind of exercising should we do?  What exercises are good for people like us.  Lets find out what is recommended. 

Here are a list of exercises for people in pain:

  1. Walking- This is a low-impact activity that is good if you have the physical capability. One of the biggest benefits of this activity is that you can do it just about anywhere, any time.  And do not have to join a gym to do so. 
  2. Swimming- This activity is great for people with OA, have musculoskeletal issues, or any joint disease. This activity is beneficial because swimming and water exercise defies gravity, so there are not any pain on the joints and the risk of injury is low. 
  3. Yoga- The breathing that is done when doing yoga could be as helpful to ease pain as the movement and stretching. It is cautioned that the extreme range of motion could cause injury. So it is recommended that you do whatever is comfortable to do not push past that. 
  4. Tai Chi- This activity is good for the young and old alike. As long as you can move you can do Tai-Chi as is incorporates the mind and body. Tai-Chi done twice a week has been found to reduce pain, stiffness and fatigue in patients with Fibromyalgia. It helps to build strength, endurance and balance. 
  5. Pilates- This activity helps to build core strength. And was developed for a “society that’s extremely burdened by low back pain by Joseph Pilates. People who have Fibromyalgia can also benefit from Pilates. It has been found that piilaties improved pain more that a relaxation/stretching regimens. That being said this exercise requires instruction. So make sure you find an experienced teacher. 
  6. Simple stretching- This activity can be done anywhere, in line, in bed or even in the car. Research shows that “Stretching and getting all your body parts moving in a full range of motion and working just a little bit against gravity is helpful” Dr. Fine (health.com)
  7. Light-weight and strength training-  Working with weights can be particulary helpful for those with arthritis. By doing so exercises that strengthen the joints around an injury it takes the stress off the joint you are using. Its important to pace yourself when working with weights as they can cause injury. If you have been inactive for a significant time try starting with using a soup can as weight or do sit-ups or push-ups. 

We have now covered why to exercise, how to start an new regimen, what to watch for and then the exercises recommended for those with chronic pain or illness.  So what’s left? GET MOVING!! 

  • Http://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/get-moving-chronic-illness-and-benefits-of-exercise-0706154
  • Https://www.spineuuniverse.com/wellness/exercise/7-tips-exercising-when-you-have-chronic-pain
  • Http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20436269,00.html/view-all