When you’re suffering from physical pain and exhaustion the last thing on your mind is to get up and exercise, at least it was for me. Previously, I shared a post about the benefits of exercising when you have Chronic Illness, Why You Should Exercise When You Have Lyme. You can read that later but for now, let’s talk about options for exercising when you’re fatigued, in pain and you don’t have the motivation to stay consistent.
At first, you might think of walking, running or some other form of physical exertion and those might be good options if you’ve recovered and aren’t prone to relapses. These exercises are much more difficult to sustain for those who are suffering from chronic pain and fatigue on a daily basis. Even walking can prove to be exhausting.
Most doctors and health professionals would agree that exercising is absolutely necessary for recovering from any sort of autoimmune disease or chronic health issue.
The important thing to know is that you don’t have to go out and run 5 miles in order to have a successful exercise program and while I am not a specialist in this area, I’d like to share a few options with you to shift your mindset about physical fitness and recovery.
Physical Therapy is a great way to slowly get back into an exercise habit. When visiting a physical therapist, the focus would be on rehabilitating an injury or helping a patient rehabilitate after surgery. I have found that you can also go to a physical therapist to recover from chronic illness. It’s important to communicate your needs to your physical therapist so they know how to best assist you and what types of strengthening exercises to give you. They will work with you on proper form and be there to ice or rub away any painful spots afterward.
Before you are released from your physical therapist, ask if they know of any personal trainers who specialize in recovery exercise training. If your physical therapist doesn’t know, ask around or do an online search in your community. You might even find someone who will come into your home and continue to guide and assist you as you build up strength and endurance.
Swimming is an excellent form of exercise for those with chronic illness. If you can’t tolerate the chlorine in the pool, find a natural saltwater pool. You can build strength and endurance without injury because there is no impact on the body.
Local Fitness Centers and Gyms
Many fitness centers and gyms have personal trainers who can work alongside you to ensure you are using correct form, to teach you how to use the available gym equipment and give you direction for which exercises would be best for you. If your trainer is not familiar with chronic illness or recovery, you must be extra cautious and listen to your body. Never push yourself or exercise beyond your abilities.
If you prefer to work out at home, you can find just about any type of exercise online or on YouTube. If you’re using YouTube, create a playlist for your favorite workout videos so you don’t have to search for them every time. If you have a laptop, HDMI cord, and a Roku device, you can play your YouTube playlist right on your television. If you have a smart TV then you’re all set, just pull up YouTube, find your playlist and get started.
Types of Exercises
The type of exercises you choose will depend on your physical capability and your energy level. Here are some ideas to get you started.
- Riding a stationary bike
- Physical Therapy Exercises
- Tai Chi
- Low Impact Cardio
- Gentle Strength Training
- Search online for specific exercises for Chronic Illness, Fibromyalgia, Arthritis, Chronic Fatigue or even MS
- Healthy Moving with Jenn Hoffman
Do you have a favorite way to keep moving, get those lymphatics draining, to build strength and endurance? Share below and let me know what you have found helpful! If you’re not there yet because you’re still very sick, don’t get discouraged. Do whatever you can, even if that means walking across your living room. I’ve been there and while it can be discouraging, celebrate every achievement, no matter how small.