Exercise is good for autoimmune disease, fibromyalgia, and other types of chronic pain
People who live with Autoimmune Disease, Fibromyalgia, Lyme, and other chronic pain disorders often hear the same thing from their doctors. “Go exercise, it’s good for you!” And doctors are right- exercise has been proven to help reduce the symptoms of autoimmune, fibromyalgia and chronic pain.
Exercise can help in so many ways, including:
1. A reduction of physical pain:
Those of us living with autoimmune and chronic disease often experience physical pain- body aches, soreness, extreme tenderness. It can feel like it hurts to just move. Well, perhaps counter-intuitively, the most important thing we can do to reduce that pain is to actual move our bodies. You see, as we limit movement by sitting all day, we suffer from multiple issues. Our muscles get used to not working, so they get stiff, and with stiffness, comes pain. Exercise keeps the muscles warm and moving, and a proper stretching and foam rolling routine keeps them healthy. Exercise also increases bone density, and helps maintain proper posture, which is important as we age. And joint mobility! Believe it or not, studies have shown that exercise can improve joint mobility even in people who live with rheumatoid arthritis.
2. An increase in cognitive function and brain clarity:
Brain fog is a side effect of autoimmune, fibromyalgia and lyme. It feels like we can't think clearly, like our brains are all scrambled. Exercise helps reduce the effects of brain fog, while increasing short and long term brain health and memory retention.
3. Helps to control the experience of anxiety and depression:
Autoimmune disease and chronic pain disorders have a high correlation with anxiety and depression. Exercise reduces anxiety and depression, making it easier for us to function happily in our daily lives.
4. Has a positive impact on hormone regulation:
This matters in so many ways. For women, it can help regulate their menstrual cycles. Exercise can help the body regulate insulin- your blood sugar hormone- as well as cortisol- the stress hormone. This can lead to weight loss, and although I don't emphasize exercise specifically for weight control, it can help. It helps improve sex drive as well (wink wink).
5. Improves sleep:
Exercise can improve your ability to fall asleep, stay asleep longer and get better sleep quality.