Break Free! 6 Ways To Exercise With A Health Condition

Posted: September 19, 2014

Are you staying away from exercise because you have a health condition? No more! Here are 6 exercise ideas for when you have a health problem.

A lot of people today suffer from medical conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, posture-related aches and pains, and other stress-related problems.

When you have a heath condition, is it really safe to exercise? While it depends on the nature of the medical condition, as a general rule – not only is exercise safe, but it will also improve your health if you do it the right way.

Talk to your doctor first, and get her clearance before you start an exercise program, if any of the below situations are applicable to you:

  • You have diabetes
  • You have heart problems or hypertension
  • You have been sedentary for more than one year
  • You have problems with balance, and experience fainting spells
  • You’re recovering from a recent illness or injury
  • You have been diagnosed with a serious medical condition

Your doctor is the best person to advise on the type of exercise programs that are safe for you to do, and whether your medication will affect the workout. Follow the guidelines prescribed by the doctor and start exercising carefully, under the supervision of a qualified personal trainer if possible.

The following are some of the exercise programs that you can consider even while suffering from a medical condition.

Walking

Walking is a low impact activity which is a good pick for almost anyone. It is easy to do and can be done no matter where you live. There aren’t many conditions which prevent you from walking.

Yoga

The breathing exercises of yoga can be quite helpful to improve chronic conditions. Slow movements and stretching also improves flexibility. Research indicates that yoga may be effective in helping patients with stress-related conditions such as high blood pressure, cardiac disease, depression, and anxiety. However, yoga must be practised only under the able supervision of a qualified practitioner, especially if you have a medical condition. Else, its extreme range of movement involving the joints and the spine may worsen existing problems or cause new injuries.

Swimming

According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, water-based activities can help people with chronic conditions. People who have arthritis may notice improvement in their joints without exacerbation of symptoms. Swimming and water-based exercises can also reduce pain and improve the use of joints for people suffering from osteoarthritis.

Pilates

Pilates is a gentle but highly effective form of core workout. It is particularly useful for managing chronic back pain. Pilates is a growing trend in India and many gyms and fitness centres offer this program. Pilates can be performed even while lying on the back, to strengthen the core muscles. It is particularly beneficial for people with a weak back or posture problems and cannot do intense workouts. Pilates is a complex exercise and must be practised only under the guidance of a trained instructor.

Tai chi

Tai chi is a great exercise for people of all ages. It is a martial art form, and like yoga, it is rooted in meditation. According to a study in the New England Journal of Medicine, practising Tai chi twice a week can help reduce stiffness, pain, and fatigue in fibromyalgia patients. Tai chi movements are also known to improve muscle strength, flexibility, balance, and aerobic conditioning. Tai chi classes are available in many cities in India.

Strength training

Strength training using light weights are especially helpful for people suffering from joint problems or arthritis. The weights can strengthen the joints and alleviate symptoms. Progressive resistance training or periodically increasing the amount of weight that is used will continue to build muscle strength and provide greater benefits. Resistance training has also been found to help patients with heart conditions because it decreases the myocardial demands during day-to-day activities such as carrying groceries or lifting moderate-to-heavy things.

Exercise for chronic conditions

For people suffering from chronic conditions such as diabetes, asthma, back pain, arthritis, and heart diseases, regular exercising can help manage symptoms well.

Strength training improves endurance and muscle strength for patients with heart diseases. Regular physical activity can improve insulin sensitivity in diabetes patients and help keep the symptoms in check. Core strengthening exercises improve back pain, and muscle strengthening alleviates joint stiffness and aches. Routine exercising also helps bring down the frequency and intensity of asked asthma.

Your doctor may recommend specific types of exercises to manage your particular medical condition. Before starting an exercise program, it is important that you check with your doctor about how long you should exercise, and at what intensity. Check with your doctor about the exercise goals that you should be working towards.

If you have been sedentary for a while, take your time and start slowly. Build your strength up gradually to gain the maximum benefits.

Pic credit: Akalat (Used under a CC license)

Nisha Salim is a self-employed writer and a social media junkie.

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