Your Balancing Act – Exercising and Autoimmune Disease

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Your Balancing Act – Exercising and Autoimmune DiseaseThe symptoms of autoimmune disease can vary and are quite dependent on the tissues which are under attack. In most instances, it is seen that people who struggle with autoimmunity problems, face episodes of energy ‘crashes’, instances of exhaustion, pain, inflammation and brain fog. Exercising regularly is the way to manage the autoimmune condition – considering the fluctuating needs and the acceptance level of the body.

Autoimmune disease is one condition in which the immune imbalance causes an attack to the immune system and leads to the destruction of the tissues. This is a chronic inflammatory condition and several people still manage through functional medicine protocols, which include lifestyle and dietary strategies.

​Regular exercise is a way to manage an autoimmune condition:

If done correctly, exercising produces anti-inflammatory compounds which include endothelial nitric oxide and endorphins. These compounds help in improving circulation, help to oxygenate body tissue, work to deliver different nutrients to the tissues, help to remove debris and help in detoxification. Chemicals are produced which help in enhancing the brain function like brain-derived neurotrophic factor. A healthy brain means a healthy body.

​How Exercises Make a Difference in People Who are Trying to Manage an Autoimmune Diseases

Autoimmune disease often feels like burden, especially during a flare but many people still feel it has forced them to live a healthy and balanced life.

If you are struggling with an autoimmune disease, you cannot abuse your body to increase your productivity, sleepless or get too much involved or say ‘Yes’ too frequently. It also means that the option of pushing your limits is not permitted as well. Such a decision might hurt your ego, especially if you are working out in a group. If it is a group exercise class, if it is a team sport or the situation is one which needs a competitive drive, your ego might compel you to do much more than your body is capable of.

  • It is crucial that you take care of your body. Exercise has immense anti-inflammatory potential. Too much of exercising can worsen the inflammation and can also trigger the autoimmune flare.
  • If you have just started your exercise routine and a bit scared of triggering the fair, a group exercise class might be too intimidating – you might be called “lazy” or “weak”.
  • Be assured, it nothing but your ego! Try not to take its orders, if you are looking forward to preventing an autoimmune flare or a situation of excessive inflammation. Besides, others are too occupied with their exercise routine and might not even notice you.
  • Keep challenging yourself to ensure releasing anti-inflammatory compounds, but never challenge yourself so much that you cannot return it comfortably the next day.

Several people with autoimmune disease get great results while managing autoimmunity, as they are able to maintain a consistent workout schedule throughout the week. This implies, tuning the body towards finding the right spot for autoimmune management – it shouldn’t be too less or too much.
According to Science, HIIT or high-intensity interval training offers much needed benefits in managing inflammation, boosting oxygenation, circulation and helps in improving the brain functions.

HIIT is about exercising at the maximum heart rate. This is for short bursts which can be of 30 seconds to 2 minutes. This intense routine is followed by a few minutes of rest and then a recover phase. The recover phase is followed by the exercise once again.

If you have just started your exercise routine, then exercising just a few minutes per day can help in getting results. To improve the fitness level, you need to incorporate HIIT in the workout schedule. It should include endurance training and weight training.

It might be confusing – how to exercise safely without increasing the anti-inflammatory effects, that too without going far. There are many online resources which can help in figuring out the safe ranges with the use of heart rate monitor. There are gyms like Orange Theory Fitness, which utilize heart-rate tracking along with motivational coaching.

The best part about HIIT is you can easily adjust the level of your fitness. An individual’s HIIT might be sprinting the stadium stairs. The HIIT of another person might be doing a few push-ups from knees. Both individuals find it useful.

When Exercising with Autoimmunity Keep the Following in Mind

You need to find an exercise which is enjoyable and fun. Negativity and fear are pro-inflammatory while positivity is anti-inflammatory. If you make it fun, you will be able to enjoy its many health benefits. Exercising in a group class or in a social setting is quite healthy for the same reason.

Challenge Yourself to Get the Heart Rate Up:

You shouldn’t challenge yourself to cause a flare. It is crucial to be able to exercise again the next day. If you have a consistent exercise schedule, you will be able to get the maximum health benefits.
Take care of your body. If you feel extremely tired to even get out of your bed, it is not a good idea to exercise. If you feel a bit tired, but can function, you can continue your routine with the same intensity, but you need to ensure that you are still able to perform. At times, a light workout helps in faster recovery, than not working out at all.

In case you are a bit run down, as you choose to workout, you can quit a bit early. You don’t have to push a lot. Of course, you need to give your best on the days you feel energetic and can challenge yourself a bit more. However, be cautious and never overdo it.

This is a lifelong condition – it needs lifelong attention. Make the most of your exercise session.

Get in touch with my office for more information on how to manage chronic health symptoms and autoimmune disease.