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Exercise

What exercise should I do if I suffer from a chronic health condition?

It can be difficult to exercise when you have a chronic health condition. For example, I’ve talked to so many people who have a thyroid diagnosis or an auto-immune disorder, and they can’t lose weight or keep gaining weight. And when they do exercise, they tend to overdo it as their bodies need the extra energy to fight their condition.

Those with a chronic health condition suffer from fatigue, depression, anxiety, joint pain, poor gut health, chronic headaches, numbness, or inflammation. So, when they do exercise, they are putting more stress on their body and end up feeling worse.

As someone who has recovered from thyroid cancer, I struggled to lose weight. I thought if I exercised more and took intense classes, it would help me lose weight. However, because of my thyroid condition, I only felt worse. So instead, I had to find different workouts that benefited my body.

Here’s a look at different exercises you can do if you suffer from a chronic health condition:

 

Stretching

Before you put your body through an intense workout, you should first do simple and easy movements. Focus on stretching at night before you get into bed. Create a mini yoga routine or use a foam roller to relax your body for a nice restorative night’s sleep.

Walking

Another option is to take a good nature walk. You don’t have to go to the woods or hike a mountain. I mean just getting outside and taking in that fresh air. Walk around the block, even if it’s just for five minutes. Walking helps us be more mindful and calms our brains, which calms our bodies.

Strength Training

Next, you should strengthen your muscles with a specific regimen of yoga or Pilates. Yoga can help build endurance and help restore our bodies. Then, once your body feels less stressed, I suggest full body, upper or lower body strength training to keep your muscle mass and composition in check.

Interval Training

Finally, I would introduce interval training into your workout when your body is ready. Short bursts of intense exercise will get your heart rate up and then bring it back down again. It will change your body’s ability to handle stress and helps normalize your symptoms.

Go Back to the Basics

Learn from my mistakes. Don’t push your body with intense workouts to lose weight. Instead, take baby steps to strengthen your muscles and build your tolerance. Then, when you start to get a little bit better, and your body feels more restored, I would increase the intensity or duration of your exercise.

Change your daily walk into a jog or exercise for 30 minutes longer. If you follow these exercises, you should notice a big difference in your body and your weight in no time. Make sure you pay attention to your body. If you begin to feel sore or exhausted, it’s a sign that you’re doing too much.

How to Work Out When You Have a Thyroid Problem

Is getting fit on your list of New Year’s resolutions? How is it going so far? When you have a thyroid problem, working out is not easy. If your condition is well controlled, you are likely feeling full of energy and just getting on with your days. However, chances are you’re reading this blog because all is not so well, and you’re experiencing a range of thyroid-related symptoms. Here is my advice on how to incorporate workouts and exercise into your routine.

Choose Your Favorite Type of Movement

First of all, if you’ve decided that this is the year to get in shape, I applaud you. Humans were designed to move. Our bodies work better when we are active.

However, if you are suffering from thyroid problems, you need to consider the type of exercise you choose and how it affects you. Your thyroid issues may have caused you to gain weight, or perhaps your body is resisting weight loss? Conventional wisdom would tell you to exercise more and eat less. However, for thyroid patients, that’s not always the right answer.

Intense exercise stresses your body. Don’t get me wrong – I love high-intensity workouts. Crossfit, anyone? Or how about exercise boot camps? I love the adrenaline rush you get when you’re reaching your workout goals.

The trouble is, by exercising intensely, you may be making your thyroid symptoms worse. Tough exercise causes your body physiological stress. If that stress is prolonged, for example, if you are in the gym doing two or three classes in a row, it can cause your thyroid to regulate down even more. As a result, your metabolism slows further.

Also, if you are on full replacement medication, this hardcore exercise may not work for you. Keeping your heart rate up for this long, stressing muscles and joints may leave you feeling worse.

Remember that slower classes like yoga, stretching, or pilates are just as beneficial.

How About Restorative Exercise?

If you are well optimized and your thyroid condition is under control – go ahead and exercise to your heart’s content. On the other hand, if you struggle with fatigue, sleep quality, or your diet is not that great, it’s worth rethinking your approach.

Restorative types of exercise like Pilates or yoga are great alternatives to get you moving and build up strength. How about going for a walk? Depending on where you live, now may not feel like the best time to head out, but bundle up and try a short walk. Exposing yourself to the cold may help lower your body temperature and contribute to healing. Once you are feeling stronger, take it up a notch with yoga workouts.

Love spin classes? Look at the intensity. If you are in a class, it’s really hard to resist the instructor’s cheers and sit out the intense bit, but perhaps an exercise bike at home is a solution?

Making it Work for You

Avoid getting stuck on prescriptive exercise programs and never be afraid to adjust a training routine. Plus, remember resistance training is at least as beneficial as cardiovascular exercise when it comes to burning calories. High-intensity interval training may work well for you, too.

Most importantly, check-in with yourself. How is your exercise making you feel? If it’s leaving you more fatigued, adjust it to work better for you. No two people are the same, so why should exercise regimes be?