Exercise can help people with autoimmune diseases. The key here is to do things right. Here are some of the most important things to keep in mind when exercising if you have an autoimmune condition.
Most autoimmune diseases are accompanied by chronic inflammation. Too much exercise can contribute to inflammatory load. Overtraining will increase your autoimmune symptoms. Not exercising is not good as well. Exercise increases the levels of endorphins in the body. Endorphins play a crucial role in a person’s immune function.
It regulates immunity and keeps it running smoothly. The immune system starts misbehaving without endorphins. The same thing can be said for exercise. Too much and too little are both bad. Intensity should be balanced with volume and you need to give your body time to recover. The error margin is smaller when the person is suffering from an autoimmune disorder.
How to Exercise if You Have an Autoimmune Condition
It depends on the kind of autoimmune condition you have.
For instance, people with multiple sclerosis can sleep better if they exercise. Starting early may also lessen the risk of developing multiple sclerosis. Here are some of the best exercise options for you.
• Exercising in the morning – A study revealed that patients with multiple sclerosis had less muscle strength and more muscle fatigue in the afternoon.
• Tai chi – Tai chi can improve functional outcomes in people with multiple sclerosis.
• Combine endurance and strength training – A 12-week high-intensity interval and lifting program improved the glucose tolerance of patients with multiple sclerosis.
Exercising consistently can help people with rheumatoid arthritis. It reduces depression as well as improves functionality and sleep.
• Light and extremely light intensity exercise – Doing light and extremely light intensity exercise daily is often more effective at improving cardiovascular health in patients with rheumatoid arthritis than a 35-minute moderate intensity activity every day.
• Yoga – Yoga can help reduce pain, increase general well-being and improve function in people with RA.
• Exercises focusing on the hands – For patients suffering from hand and finger joint soreness, exercises that are focused on the hands can improve functionality more than low intensity exercises.
Crohn’s disease can involve impaired digestion, emergency diarrhea, GI pain, fatigue and joint pain. Due to this, patients often don’t want to exercise. However, exercise can help improve your overall health.
• Aerobic and resistance training – Either alone or both can modulate a person’s immune function to improve Crohn’s symptoms.
• Medium intensity and sprints – Children suffering from Crohn’s disease were able to tolerate all-out cycling sprints, six rounds of four fifteen-second cycle sprints at 100 percent maximum power output. They can also tolerate moderate cycling, thirty minutes at 50 percent maximum power output. Some inflammatory markers, however, were greater in the moderate group. A particular inflammatory marker also remained higher for a longer period of time in the moderate group.
• Walking exercise – Low intensity walking programs can help improve the quality of life of patients with Crohn’s disease. Three times a week might be enough.