Wednesday, June 17, 2009

can't exercise?

We all know the common advice about keeping healthy. Eat right, exercise and get enough sleep. Many of us think that exercise means vigorous physical activity. Although that is a great way to get in shape and stay fit it is not always possible. 

Some people have health conditions that prevent them from being able to engage in activities such as aerobics, tennis, jogging, or team sports. These conditions include severe arthritic conditions, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), fibromyalgia, low blood pressure problems such as Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) and others. Unfortunately many people afflicted with conditions that prevent them from being as physically active as they are used to may think that there is nothing they can do to stay active. This leads to weight gain, loss of muscle tone and can even affect other body systems.

It doesn't have to be that way. If you are unable to engage in heavy physical exercise, if even long distance walking is beyond you or yoga triggers your low blood pressure, there are things you can do to stay healthy. The first is to realize that pushing yourself to exhaustion is not going to help. If you can walk for five minutes a day that's where you start. If you can do a few Tai Chi poses start there. It takes time to build your body back up.  And your new activity level  may be reduced from what you are used to, but remember, any movement that you can do is helpful for your body.

Here are a few links to some websites with information on different types of gentle exercise that you may be able to do to keep your body moving. You may need to engage in these activities with a fitness professional who can guide you and monitor your progress on your journey to health. As with any health condition please consult a healthcare practitioner before you engage in new types of physical activity.

photo courtesy of,_Cannon_Beach.jpg

1 comment:

Shelli said...

What a great post! I have had CFS for three years, and I hate the fact that I can't exercise like I used to. Aerobic exercise is out, but I can still do yoga, and I love it. I'm interested in checking out some of the other exercises you have listed.

One thing that has helped me is a graded exercise approach, not program. I don't set any goals for myself, but I start out slowly and try to build little by little while maintaining an awareness of my body's limitations. I found a good article at