Move it move it!

Whether you deal with a chronic illness or not, there’s something everyone should get into the habit of doing – exercise. I know, I know that’s what everyone says, but it’s especially important for those people with joint or muscle problems. I don’t mean going out and jogging 10 miles every morning but doing exercise a couple times a week is important. It’s important to do not only cardio, but weight bearing exercises. They’re both extremely helpful in keeping your joints loose and building up muscle to support those areas such as your back and neck.

So what kind of exercise programs can you do? When you have a chronic illness it’s important to push yourself but NOT to the limit – don’t go anywhere near it! Especially when you’re first starting. Here are some types of exercise I’ve found most beneficial depending on how I’m feeling that day.

  • ZUMBA – My official new obsession for the time being, this high energy dance workout uses latin rhythms to work your body. Can’t dance? Who cares! Believe me, a majority of the people there get lost following some of the steps but the beauty about this exercise program is all you have to do is move to the beat. If you can’t do some of the exercises the instructor is, you can just move to the music for that section. I often don’t do the jumping parts and instead just rock my feet on the ground. And that whole looking silly thing – forget about it. A few minutes in you’re having so much fun you don’t care how you look (that or you learn to laugh at yourself, that’s my strategy).
  • Wii Fit Plus – Doing this for twenty minutes to a half hour can actually give you a good workout. This is nice when I’m just too tired to drive to the gym. The games are so fun you don’t even realize how much you’re working out until after you’re done. The yoga poses are awesome stretches that make your muscles feel amazing after, but don’t over exert yourself. When your body says stop, do it. Be careful with some of the faster paced things like boxing or kung fu, your arms will thank you for it the next day.
  • Yoga – For me, yoga is an amazing thing when I’m extra stiff. Most of the stretches I do throughout the day I learned in one yoga class or another. Some people can do this is the morning to wake them up, others find it relaxing enough to do right before bed. Find a class close by and try it out or do it at home with a DVD. There are also varying levels and intensities for those of you that are more limber or want more a workout (instead of stretching) feel.
  • Nike Training Club – This is an app on the iPhone and the newer iTouches, sorry to those of you who don’t have one =\. When I’m feeling really good, this is the app to use. You make your own 30 minute playlists and the app plays them while you’re doing the workout. There are a ton to choose from for every level and some workouts are 30 minutes while others are 15 making it easy to fit into a busy schedule. You will sweat, that’s for sure. At the start of each exercise, it instructs you how to do it through the headphones, or you can watch a video. The exercise regimen looks kind of easy until you actually do it. It works you hard but it feels so good when you’re done. I, for one, feel very proud of myself because it’s not every day I feel good enough to finish one.
  • Pilates – Pilates is a really good workout if you have a bad back. A lot of the programs focus on working your core muscles which help support your back. The stronger those muscles, theoretically, the less back pain you’ll have and anything that reduces pain gets an A+ in my book.

Even if you can’t do any of these, get up an walk everyday. There’s a little old lady who lives next to me and she walks up and down the complex at least once everyday. If she can do it, so can you! Take breaks when you need and remember not to push yourself too hard. Get into a habit of exercising, you definitely won’t regret it.

Published in: on September 7, 2011 at 9:10 pm  Comments (4)  
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4 CommentsLeave a comment

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