Everybody has been told and likely knows that in order to live a long and healthy life, a person should not only eat healthily but also exercise regularly. And while that is undoubtedly good advice, we don’t think it took in account people with chronic conditions, especially in regards to the exercise part.
In its simplest terms, lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system becomes hyperactive and attacks normal, healthy tissue. This results in symptoms such as inflammation, swelling, and damage to joints, skin, kidneys, blood, the heart, and lungs. Sounds painful right? Well, that because it is. Now, imagine that you are experiencing some of those symptoms, even mildly – how keen would you be on exercising and being active?
Although it can be admittedly difficult, exercise is just as important, if not more so, for a lupus sufferer then a healthy person. However, if you suffer from lupus, the type of exercise you can do and how far you can, and should push yourself will vary greatly on a case by case basis. And while you should always contact your healthcare provider before you embark on any new forms of exercise, we have provided you with some key and important facts about exercising with lupus that according to the Lupus Foundation of America, you should be aware of:
Low-impact exercise can prevent osteoporosis: This is good news for lupus suffers as there is no shortage of low-impact exercise to choose from. Yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi, swimming, walking or cycling will help to improve muscle tone and keep you fit without damaging joints.
Variety is key: When a person suffers from a chronic disease like lupus, it is very easy to find an exercise that works and stick with it, likely, because it causes the least discomfort. However, variety is key, especially with lupus, as it is important to make sure you work for all your different muscle groups.
Exercise lowers stress levels: We all know that stress can worsen lupus symptoms and lead to flares, so keeping your stress levels as low as possible is critical. Gentle, low-impact exercise has been proven to reduce stress, so next time you’re feeling a bit on edge, go for a walk or join a yoga class.
Rest is just as important as exercise: If you are experiencing some of the typical lupus symptoms like swollen joints or severe pain, then don’t push yourself to exercise, listen to your body. Limit high-impact exercises such as running, dance classes and weight-lifting to allow your body to fully recover.
Stretching can help with muscle pain: Sadly, the reality is that if you suffer from lupus you will likely experience some discomfort while exercising. However, yoga or Tai Chi are excellent exercises that can actively help with muscle and joint pain. Meditation, breathing exercises and other relaxation techniques can also help you mitigate certain lupus symptoms.Advertisement