02 Feb Keeping Fit in the Winter with a Chronic Condition
Happy Friday ladies!
February already! wow. Can anyone else completely wipe January off the calendar and be good with that? My favorite season is Fall, cool air, beauty in the trees and nature. Winter, a stark contrast, with bare trees, cold weather and an instinct to stay inside, can make it difficult for one’s state of mind and body. Keeping fit can be a challenge, for some, in the Winter months, but also a necessity for those with a chronic condition.
I have always been an active person. When i was 18 I got my first membership to a gym, and I was so excited to begin lifting weights. Prior to 18, I played basketball, softball, and got my lifeguarding certificate for swimming. I loved playing football and hockey with my brother and his friends. Fast forward, to later in life. I met my hubby in a rock climibing class, and we did the MS ride to bike ride for charity, after enjoying biking on trails and the street.
I was diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos Syndome in 2008. Hard to beleive it has been 10 years! I was lucky to take my puppies out to go to the bathroom by walking them to the end of the sidewalk. Pain can be very much a deterrant when it comes to exercise. Add grey and cold weather, and sometimes we want to hide under the covers and cuddle with our fur babies! However, we all know MOVEMENT is key! I had to get out of the mindset that MORE is better. In my 20s, I want to step classes and loved them.. I would do back to back classes, or use the treadmill/weights afterward. Before EDS, I Loved going to spin classes, as I would challenge myself and feel like I got an amazing workout.
Now, going on 50, ( in July) it has been important for me to continue to keep fit, but find a routine that I could maintain, and enjoy, at the same time choose the right exercises, to strengthen muscles and stabilize joints. ( I have pelvic dislocation at times,) so strengthening the joints around my ligaments is imperative.
Here are some tips I have for keeping fit with a chronic condition;
- Be kind to yourself. You may not be able to do the same amount every day. If you are having a pain flare, do take care of yourself. Listen to your body.
- Do try and take a walk – getting outside will help improve your mood as well.
- Exercise, even minimal, will help you get better sleep.
- Walk with a partner. I know this is not inclusive for those with chronic pain, but having someone to walk with regularly can motivate you as well as keep your mind off pain.
- Try home videos. With so much streaming TV and Fit tv channels, set up a space in your house for you to exercise. It can be as simple as using a yoga mat.If you don’t have streaming channels, there are plenty of exercise videos you can purchase for your needs.I have been trying these Videos for some gentle yoga.
- Use Therabands or Fitness bands for strengthening. I have THESE at home from Amazon, and they are an inexpensive way to exercise. I used to lift heavy weights when I didn’t have EDS symptoms. With this muscle condition, heavy lifting is not recommended. I use these RESISTANCE BANDS with handles for hip, hamstring, calf exercises, as well as for bicep, tricep, chest and shoulder exercises. . The idea is more resistance and strengthening for stability, less trigger points, muscular knots.
- If you can get to a pool, swim. Swimming is one of the best cardiovascular exercises for all over body conditioning, and because you are weightless, there is no stress on joints, muscles.. i am nearly pain free in the pool. I swim at our development’s pool in the summer.
- Try pre-making meals or getting your significant other to help with this. I often make jasmine rice in my steam cooker and add chicken, vegetables for an easy meal. Standing for long periods is tough with hypermobility, so I suggest making more ahead of time, or using a crock pot for meals you can freeze is helpful.
Food; I eat healthy foods and prefer chicken and fish as proteins. I do believe in eating in moderation. I don’t deny myself foods I enjoy, but find if I eat healthy, I crave heathier foods. That doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy cookies or ice cream here and there. With pain, there is often fatigue, so I choose to eat well for energy and well being.
** Disclaimer- I am not a medical doctor. This post is discussing what I have been doing to help with chronic pain by excersise and healthy eating. Everyone is different. Please discuss anything you may be interested in with your doc. 😉
How do you keep fit with a chronic condition?
Have a good weekend!