My Top 5 Reasons to Exercise When You Live With Autoimmune, Fibromyalgia or Other Chronic Conditions

Doctors are always telling us that the best thing we can do for ourselves is to do exercise.

But as you and I know well, exercise is not so easy, especially when you live with an autoimmune disorder, fibromyalgia or other chronic condition. Our bodies hurt, and our daily activities can feel overwhelming. So how can we be expected to exercise?

Well, if we just exercise a little tiny bit each day, we will build up our ability to do more and more. And this is important because…

Exercise can actually help us control the side effects of autoimmune, fibromyalgia and chronic disease.

WHAAAT? Have I piqued your interest here? There is something that could make you feel better, that doesn’t require taking medication???


Exercise has many proven health benefits, especially for those of us living with chronic conditions.

Top 5 Benefits of Exercise For People Who Live With Autoimmune, Fibromyalgia or Other Chronic Conditions:

  1. Exercise can help reduce your physical experience with pain and discomfort.
  2. Exercise helps to decrease brain fog and increase clarity in our memory and in our mind.
  3. Exercise helps to regulate our neurotransmitters- the things in our brain that make us feel happy.
  4. Exercise has also been proven to have a positive impact on hormone regulation.
  5. Exercise can greatly improve your ability to get good sleep.

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 also helps to improve bone density and joint mobility, even in people who live with joint degenerative disease like rheumatoid arthritis!

Brain fog is a common side effect of autoimmune, fibromyalgia and lyme disease. When we experience brain fog, it feels like we can't think clearly, like our minds are all cloudy. That makes it harder to do the things we want to do, like connect with the people around us. Exercise helps reduce the effects of brain fog, while increasing short and long term brain health and memory retention.

Autoimmune disease and chronic pain disorders have a high correlation with anxiety and depression. People living with chronic conditions experience a higher incidence of moodiness, anxiety and depression. Exercise has been proven by multiple medical studies to significantly reduce anxiety and depression, and increase mood stabilization. In fact, exercise has been shown to produce neurotransmitters that help us to feel calm and happy, creating more enjoyment and relaxation in our day.

This matters in so many ways. For women, it can help regulate their menstrual cycles, or help to balance out your body during menopause. 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 (and who doesn’t want that!!).

Many people living with autoimmune, fibromyalgia and other chronic conditions struggle with sleep. And as we all know, sleep is paramount to our health! Exercise is a wonderful sleep aid- it helps us to fall asleep, stay asleep longer and get better sleep quality.

And all of these benefits have trickle down effects! Better heart health, improved energy levels, decrease food cravings, and most importantly, increased self-confidence.

We know exercise can help you feel better- but some exercises can cause flareups. So what exercise should you do? Stay tuned for my next email with my tips for exercising!

With Love,
Andrea Wool
CEO (Chief Exercise Officer), Autoimmune Strong