BLOG 1: Balancing Autoimmune Disorders with Fitness
BY HEATHER KATHERINE
After having my second child, my body had been through a lot. I had challenges with my pregnancies, tough labor and deliveries, along with the emotional stress from caring for a newborn and toddler. All of this brought on an autoimmune response in my body called Mixed Connective Tissue Disease.
My condition is similar to Rheumatoid Arthritis and Lupus, where the cells in my body mistakenly attack my connective tissue causing inflammation, pain and muscle weakness. It primarily affects my hands and arms, limiting me in my upper body functionality.
So let's be honest. Is it a struggle to wake up and get through each day? Yes. Those of us who battle autoimmune conditions, cancer or other health aliments don't usually feel like getting out of bed in the morning, let alone heading out to exercise. But let me say this:
The most important thing I have discovered is that being moderately active is the key in preventing further relapse and damage. Exercise also improves our stress levels which aids in disease management and overall well-being.
I will note that I am under amazing care by a Rheumatologist, and I am on medication for my condition. But, daily exercise is my savior. Getting out for an early morning walk, jog or swim, in addition to daily stretching/yoga plus light functional training 2-3 times a week, is like medicine for my body. When I don't do it, I feel worse. That said, over-doing it can worsen my condition too. It's all about finding a balance.
Without exercise our bodies cannot function properly. We stagnant and disease may brew. If we CAN find the motivation to workout daily, we WILL ultimately feel better and live longer.
Starting out with a fitness program can be the hardest part for anyone. We need to take it slow and develop a tailored regimen that supports our physical limitations. I am excited to be a part of others' journey's in disease management and helping create a path of lifelong wellness.
DISCLAIMER: The author is not providing medical advice. You must always seek treatment and approval by a licensed medical doctor before beginning a fitness regimen.
Exercise + modern medicine is the key to disease management and prevention. My goal is to help others in this journey.
- Heather Katherine