Miriam Daurat, Chartered Physiotherapist and Pain Management Specialist with Our Health Hub says ‘Chronic health conditions’ cover an incredibly broad range of health issues. These range from persistent pain from varying causes, autoimmune issues like diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis, breathing difficulties from conditions like asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and many other conditions. If you have a chronic health condition, it’s vital to know how to exercise safely: for your own peace of mind as well as for the optimal management of your condition and its symptoms.’
- Keeping a record/diary
This is a big one, and often one of the harder things to persevere with.Recording the type and duration of exercise alongside symptoms associated directly and 24 hours afterward can help establish both healthy and unhelpful patterns. These can then be discussed with your healthcare provider as needed.
The most important thing about stretching is not to stretch to the point where you start feeling pain.If a stretch hurts past a certain point, ease off until you can still feel a stretch but there is no longer pain. Stretch within this pain free range and every week try to push a little further. This will help you to safely improve your flexibility.
The key to improving cardiovascular fitness safely with any chronic health condition is to have a conversation with your GP to find out if your condition limits your safe capacity to exercise. Have any necessary medications on hand that may be required (like an inhaler for an asthmatic). Inform the person running your classes so that they are aware and can adapt activities safely for your benefit.
As with stretching, the most important thing is to not complete strengthening exercises through pain. If an exercise is too painful/difficult to do due to your chronic health condition then it is worth discussing this with a GP/Physiotherapist. They will adapt the exercise or prescribe something different in order to gradually build strength safely.
- Knowing your limits
This comes with time, and will evolve in response to any changes in your condition and physical fitness levels. Above all, be kind to yourself and stay safe.
Our Health Hub www.ourhealthhub.uk specialises in helping people manage persistent pain. Their online clinics include Gentle Stretching exercises prescribed and coached by qualified physiotherapists.