Autoimmune Disease and Exercise: Three Things You Should Know

Developing a solid exercise regime can be tricky even when in the best of health, and hardly anybody would deny the benefits of exercise for overall well-being. All good habits take time to develop, and the development of healthy habits doesn’t always come naturally. When it comes to autoimmune disease and exercise, eating right and staying in shape becomes more difficult when dealing with a body set on fighting its own tissues.

It’s well known that exercise results in burned calories and added strength, but it also plays an important role in hormone regulation. Exercise puts stress on the body, which makes it susceptible to attack or leaves the immune system weakened. Make sure to consult with your doctor when planning to adopt a new exercise regime or adapt an existing one. Your doctor is the best resource to make sure any medication or supplements you are taking can help alleviate some of the strain exercise will cause.   

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Know Your Limits

Life before autoimmune disease and exercise probably looked a lot different than life after, but with patience and persistence it’s possible to develop an effective program. In general, exercises should be low-impact and of low-moderate intensity cardio and strength training. A main reason why autoimmune disease and exercise can be so tricky is how certain types of exercise can lead to the production of various chemicals. Motivation is key when it comes to working out, and an exercise partner can make a world of difference. 

The type of autoimmune disease you are dealing with matter when it comes to how you should exercise. For example, those dealing with rheumatoid arthritis can benefit much more form hours of light activity a day than they can from a half hour of moderate intensity training on a daily basis. On the other hand, people with multiple sclerosis benefit from more demanding exercise. The rare condition called autoimmune hemolytic anemia can occur in conjunction with other autoimmune disorders, and XpertDox has produced an informative chart for those who wish to know more.

Ease into Your Routine

In addition to consulting with your doctor, it’s advisable to also give working with a personal trainer a try. Experts exist for a reason, and a trainer can assist in developing a personalized routine based on the information your supply. However, any routine is just a starting point. It the physical effects are too overwhelming, pull back rather than push through since your body is on a different playing than most. Also, be mindful of other sources of stress in your life. Don’t pile exercise on top of stress created by family, travel, or work issues.

It’s essential to keep moving. Even on a day when you are feeling extremely fatigued, some sort of exercise can be accomplished. Your capabilities will vary from day to day, so go easy on yourself on the days when you are not at your best. Learn to recognize and appreciate all gains since sometimes they are going to be small ones. As the weakness subsides, more demanding activities can be incorporated when the time is right.

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Listen to Your Body

Overly strenuous exercise can trigger flareups. The longer you have lived with your condition, the more likely you will be better at heeding the warning signs. Don’t let yourself feel down over taking time for self-care. You can’t help other people if you are not first helping yourself. If you are new to exercising, or want to add in new elements to your routine, a journal can help track how your body feels after certain types of exercises. Learn to heed a given day’s energy level, and don’t force yourself to do something when your body can’t handle it. 

If goals like trying to lift a certain amount of weight or run a certain number of laps cause too much stress, be satisfied with getting in the movements because that is what matters most. There will be times you need to go easy on yourself, and that is okay. Overdoing things leads to unnecessary complications. 

Autoimmune disease and exercise becomes more manageable the better you get at knowing your limits, easing into new routines, and listening to your body. Even when a flare up makes any progress seem impossible, try to keep in mind it will eventually pass and you can get back to more activity in time. 

Healthy exercise habits are an ongoing process that can and should take a lifetime to perfect since bodies, whether merely aging or struggling with a disease, always operate under a continually changing set of circumstance. In addition to learning about autoimmune disease and exercise, take the time to research foods that can make inflammation worse.

What has worked for you when it comes to dealing with autoimmune disease and exercise?

Written by Valentin Bosioc

Valentin Bosioc - wellness specialist, certified personal trainer, certified fitness instructor, celebrity trainer, Musclemania Champion, Ninja Warrior Semifinalist, world wide motivator!

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