Exercise and Chronic Illness

Once you are interested in a particular topic, you seem to develop a sensitivity to it. Last week I came across an interview with Andrea Wool, the topic was, ‘Everything You Need to Know About Exercise and Chronic Illness’. How I wish I had this information at hand when my son was ill. Ms Wool, herself a sufferer of chronic illness, is a personal trainer and educated in nutritional therapy.

She reiterated what we all already know; exercise is essential for every body – chronic illness sufferers are no exception.

The two issues around exercise and chronic disease tend to fall into two groups:

  1. Those who over exercise (giving rise to flare ups)
  2. Those who under exercise

From my experience most chronic fatigue syndrome sufferers would fall into the second group, but I will cover her tips for both categories.

The over exerciser, as you would expect, needs to scale back to decrease the stress on their body. Andrea Woods recommends keeping a journal to track symptoms as they may relate to exercise. This will help to identify what level of exercise is beneficial, and what triggers a negative response. When it comes to exercise sometimes scaling back results in being better.

The under exerciser, generally is someone who finds any movement painful or exhausting. In this case doing something is better than doing nothing – adding a little stress helps the body to adapt – that’s how you get stronger. As always, if you are intending on introducing exercise into your life, seek medical advice about what you can do safely.

Andrea suggests the under exerciser change their definition of what exercise is – she demonstrated abdominal bracing, holding your abdominal muscles in the brace position for one minute, or even 30 seconds a day. She also suggested standing on one leg for five minutes a day, and indicated that you can improve your strength with as little as 10 minutes per day.

Finding your exercise sweet spot when you suffer from chronic illness is definitely a balancing act. Getting it right for you will support your overall health foundation.

If you are interested in learning more about Andrea’s approach, visit her website www.getautoimmunestrong.com

If you’d like more information about how health coaching can help you make meaningful lifestyle changes that work best for your values, strengths and circumstance contact Annette for a discovery chat.

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