Losing weight is and important undertaking for anyone who is overweight, but for those with chronic illness and/or diseases, Fibromyalgia, Endometriosis, Diabetes and IBS just to list a few, weight loss and exercise are essential components to feeling as well as possible. For these individuals, weight loss workouts designed for those coping with chronic illness are a must.
These conditions, along with any chronic illness, can make diet and/or exercise very difficult, often resulting in lack of ability of the individual to lose weight and get proper exercise. More often than not, chronic illness or disease results in one of the worst things possible for someone with one of these conditions: weight gain and lack of activity. Due to inability to get proper exercise because of pain, inflammation and other symptoms, people with a chronic ailment frequently “give up” on exercise and the resulting weight gain and muscle degeneration due to inactivity then causes even more discomfort and pain. This becomes a vicious cycle in which the individual may feel trapped.
Though it may be difficult, one must make every effort to get as much exercise as possible. However, this does not mean that getting exercise has to be excruciatingly painful or leave you wiped out for the rest of the day. Below are some ideas for making exercise as effective as possible, with as little pain as possible; these exercises can be done in your own home and without expensive equipment, with the exception of swimming.
*Note: One should always be mindful to not “overdo it” and be sure to start out slowly in order to acclimate the body to the exercise, especially if they have been inactive for a long period of time. Remember, exercise is great for the body, butany exercise is better than none under these circumstances, so there is no need to push yourself or cause yourself more pain, this is only likely to lead to further lack of interest in exercising. Take it slow, take it easy, carefully try some different exercises and create a personalized set of movements that your body can handle, without causing undue pain. Try one or two the first day, doing mostly stretching activities, then try another couple the next day and so on until you have a routine of exercise that you are able to complete for about 30 minutes each day. You may even be able to eventually step up your routine for a more effective workout. If some days the routine is too much, restrict the routine to more simple movements or avoid a painful area or areas until you are able to resume your full routine again.
Isometrics are a great option for getting exercise with as little pain as possible as it involves no lifting weights and can even be performed on some muscle groups while sitting or lying down. This is also a great option for gently working muscles as well as stretching. For this reason, this is the preferred method of exercise taught by physical therapists. Even though you are merely lifting the weight of a particular limb or area of the body repeatedly, Isometrics is a very effective in toning muscles when performed properly and on a routine basis. A simple example of Isometrics is to stand up straight with your feet shoulder length apart, arms hanging straight down at your sides, then slowly raise your arms straight out from your sides until they are in line with your shoulders. Hold this position for 60 seconds, then rest for 30 seconds and repeat the process again. If you are able, try this same exercise while standing with your feet about a foot and a half apart and your legs slightly bent.
Yoga is another great way of getting exercise while also gently stretching the muscle groups, it is also known to be relaxing. You do not have to perform the more difficult forms in Yoga if you are unable, again, any exercise is better than none. Start with basic Yoga forms and work your way up slowly to any of the other forms you are able to perform.
Swimming is a great exercise for everyone as it works all the muscle groups without straining joints and puts as little pressure as possible on all areas of the body. Simply moving around the pool gives the body more exercise than you would think, even if it is just for 20 minutes or so and is a calming exercise as well.
Walking is also a great non-stressing way to get exercise, even if you are unable to speed walk or walk vigorously. A simple, slow 20 minute walk works wonders for loosening tight muscles while giving them a bit of a workout. If 20 minutes is not possible at first, start out with 5 to 10 minutes and work your way up. You may also want to take a 10 minute walk, then use Isometrics and/or Yoga to complete your workout.
You may find that you are able to tolerate your routine better, and perhaps even get in a longer exercise session, if you mix different exercises together, picking and choosing the best movements for your condition. For instance, those who suffer from Endometriosis are mostly plagued by abdominal pain. If it is impossible to exercise the abdomen without great discomfort and spending the rest of the day in misery, try Isometric leg and arm exercises that do not overly use the abdominal muscles, like the example above. This combined with some Yoga forms and 15 minutes of light swimming will do wonders for those suffering from Endometriosis, and will at least keep the limbs in shape. It will also inevitably get the abdominal muscles some exercise as well.
Of course, a cardio workout is best, but again, any exercise is better than none at all and you may find that once you have gotten into the habit of a less painful workout you are able to step up your current exercise routine, or maybe even find some good cardio exercises you are able to do as well!