If you have a chronic illness, you may have questions about how much physical activity you can and should do. How often can you exercise? What exercises are safe and beneficial to improve your condition? Understand the basics of exercise and chronic disease.
If you have a chronic condition, such as heart disease, diabetes, asthma, back or joint pain, exercise can have significant health benefits. However, it is important to choose the physical exercises that you are going to do carefully, to know all the precautions that you may need to take in order not to cause more harm.
How can exercise improve a chronic disease?
If you have a chronic condition, regular exercise can help manage symptoms and improve your health.
– Aerobic exercise can help improve your heart health, endurance and aid in weight loss.
– High intensity interval training is generally safe and effective for most people and may take less time. In high intensity interval training, you alternate exercising at high levels of intensity and exercising at a less intense level for short periods of time. Even activities such as walking at higher intensities count.
– Strength training can improve muscle strength and endurance and make everyday activities easier to perform and provide better joint stability
– Flexibility exercises can help you get the optimal range of motion for your joints, so they can function at their best.
– Stability exercises can help reduce the risk of falls.
For example :
-Regular exercise can help improve your heart health. Recent studies have shown that interval training is often well tolerated in people with heart disease, and it can produce significant benefits. For people with high blood pressure, exercise can lower your risk of dying from heart disease and reduce the risk of heart disease progression.
Regular exercise can help lower your blood sugar levels more effectively. Physical activity can also help control your weight and boost your energy. If you have type 2 diabetes, exercise can lower your risk of dying from heart disease.
– Asthma. Often, exercise can help control the frequency and severity of asthma attacks.
– Back pain. Regular low-impact aerobic activities can increase strength and endurance in your back and improve muscle function. Abdominal and back muscle exercises (strengthening exercises) can help reduce symptoms by strengthening the muscles around your spine.
– Arthritis. Exercise can reduce pain, help maintain muscle strength in affected joints, and reduce joint stiffness. It may also improve physical function and quality of life for people with arthritis.
– The cancer. Exercise can improve the quality of life for people with cancer, and it can also improve their physical condition. Exercise can also reduce the risk of developing or recurring breast, colorectal and prostate cancer.
– Madness. Exercise can improve cognition in people with dementia, and people who are active on a regular basis are at lower risk for dementia and cognitive impairment.
Which exercises to avoid
Your doctor might recommend specific exercises to reduce pain or build muscle tone. Depending on your condition, you may also need to avoid certain exercises.
If you have lower back pain, for example, you can choose low-impact aerobic activities, such as walking and swimming. These types of activities do not strain the back.
If you have exercise-induced asthma, be sure to keep an inhaler handy while you exercise.
If you have arthritis, the exercises that are best for you will depend on the type of arthritis and which joints are involved. Work with your doctor or physical therapist to create an exercise plan that will give you the most benefit with the least aggravation on your joints.
How often and at what intensity can I exercise safely?
Before you start an exercise routine, it’s important to talk to your doctor about the length of your exercise sessions and the level of intensity that’s safe for you.
In general, aim to accumulate about 30 minutes of physical activity per day at least five days per week. For example, try walking briskly for about 30 minutes most days of the week. You can even break physical activity into smaller chunks of time spread out over the day. Any activity is better than none at all.
If you can’t do as much activity, do as much as you can. Even one hour a week of physical activity can have health benefits. Start by moving more and sitting less.
If you haven’t been active for a while, start slowly and work your way up. Ask your doctor what kinds of exercise goals you can safely set for yourself as you progress.
Do I need to take any special measures before starting?
Depending on your condition, your doctor may recommend certain precautions before exercising.
If you have diabetes, for example, keep in mind that physical activity lowers blood sugar. Check your blood sugar level before any activity. If you are taking insulin or blood sugar lowering medications, you may need to eat a snack before exercising to help prevent hypoglycemia.
If you have arthritis, consider taking a hot shower before exercising. The heat can relax your joints and muscles and relieve any pain you may have before you start. Also, be sure to choose shoes that provide real shock absorption and stability during exercise.
What kind of discomfort can I expect?
Talk to your doctor about the kind of discomfort you might expect during or after exercise, as well as any tips for minimizing your pain. Find out what type or degree of pain might be normal and what might be a sign of something more serious.
If you have heart disease, for example, signs or symptoms that you should stop exercising include dizziness, unusual shortness of breath, chest pain, or irregular heartbeat.
What else should I know?
Starting a regular exercise routine can be difficult.
To help you stick to your routine, consider exercising with a friend. You can also ask your doctor to recommend an exercise program for people who have your condition, perhaps through a local hospital, clinic or club.
To stay motivated, choose fun activities, set realistic goals, and celebrate your progress.