The perpetual dilemma...exercise. How do you exercise when you have arthritis in your fingers and wrists, pain in your hip, swollen knees, chronic fatigue, inflammation in your chest and/or arthritis in your toes and feet? It can feel impossible to even get dressed at times!
So, why get dressed? Seriously... I exercise in my pajamas sometimes.
We all know that exercise is important for healthy circulation, lungs, bones, joints, etc. Exercise helps with weight loss and it keeps our muscles toned. It improves digestion and promotes healthy organ function. It oxygenates our blood and it balances our metabolism.
But what about all of us who have pain, and limited range of motion in our joints? What about the fatigue? It is hard enough to get out of bed sometimes, so why bother exercising?
The problem is that we especially need the exercise to stay healthy in the face of chronic inflammation.
So I thought I would start a list of some tips for exercising. If you have anything to share, please do! We all need some tips and tricks when it comes to exercise. Here are my ideas
#1 If your feet hurt or you are fatigued: get back in bed..or lay on the bed. Lift your legs in the air one at a time and do ankle circles and bends at the knee, move them around and hug them into your chest. Put them both up at the same time and criss-cross them a few times. Do "the bicycle." Do any movement that feels comfortable to you. Just get them up there and moving. Even if you can only get them half way up there, it's doing some good. Remember to use your abdominal muscles to support your back while doing this. Then lower your legs and try lifting your arms in the air. Circle them around and punch the air. Do some repetitive movements to build strength...you don't always need weights. The point is to just get moving! This is great to do before you even get out of bed in the morning.
#2 If your knees hurt: get a big yoga balance ball. It is easier to sit on these than to try to get all the way down to the floor if your knees are bad. Sit on the ball with your feet spread apart and lean forward to stretch. Then roll back so you are in a position to do crunches/sit ups on the ball. Do a set of those. Then sit back up and bounce on the ball to exercise your upper thighs and hip muscles. Experiment and see what feels right. Just get your blood pumping!
#4 If your hands hurt too badly to hold onto weights: stand with your feet hip-width apart and your arms stretched straight out at shoulder height. Circle your arms in small tight circles. Increase the speed for more of a workout. Then reverse and go the other way. This can be really tiring once you get the hang of it.
#3 When you do feel well, take advantage of it and go for a walk or do something you love. If you take advantage of it while you can, you may see more improvement in your flexibility and a decrease in swelling that can add up over time. You might start to have more "good days"
Do you have any tips for exercising despite pain and fatigue?