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Exercising with Issues

If you’re like most people (myself included), it’s really easy to find excuses why you should skip your workout. I overslept, I didn’t sleep enough, I’m hungry, I ate too much, my favorite show is on, there’s nothing good to watch while I’m on the treadmill – the list goes on and on. But when you combine these everyday distractions with real physical ailments, it can be even tougher to convince yourself to lace up your sneakers and get going. The good news is that with a few precautions and some common sense, it’s possible for almost everyone to be physically active.

The most important key to exercising with issues is a visit with your physical therapist or doctor. Discuss with them your intentions and concerns and be sure to follow their advice and special instructions. As time goes on, stay in dialogue with them about how you are feeling and any changes in your symptoms.

Your workouts will need to be tailored according to your physical limitations. For example, those with arthritis or individuals who may be recovering from an acute injury will do well to avoid weight bearing exercise (such as walking and jogging), which can be hard on the joints. On the other hand, individuals with osteoporosis need weight bearing activities to strengthen their bones. Pregnant women and those with cardiopulmonary concerns must take care not to over exert themselves and should always use the Talk Test (if you are breathing so hard that you can’t carry on a conversation, slow down). People with fibromyalgia, arthritis, and other conditions which make movement difficult and/or painful should listen to their bodies; an active lifestyle is crucial in managing the symptoms of these conditions, but do not push yourself if your body is giving you warnings signs that you have gone too far (such as sudden or unusual pain, extreme fatigue, etc.)

In the end, the benefits of exercise are so great, it’s worth your while to find ways to fit it into your life, whatever your issues may be. A healthier body is never a bad thing. Keep moving, my friends!

– Alan

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