Exercise & Lyme Disease

Not surprisingly, exercise is a great way to manage, control and treat some diseases and Lyme disease is no exception.

Let’s go over what Lyme disease is first. Lyme disease is caused by a bacteria by the name Borrelia burgdorferi. The bacteria is transmitted to humans from a bite from a specific type of tick known as a deer tick or a black-legged tick. You won’t always be infected if you are bitten but symptoms can start within 3-30 days of exposure.  

Early symptoms can include fever, chills, headache and fatigue, and if the disease develops, more serious symptoms may include severe headaches, rashes on the body, loss of muscle tone and heart palpitations.

For early treatment of Lyme disease, antibiotics are very effective and most people who go through this stage recover. Some of the symptoms of Lyme disease, like joint pain and a build of toxic byproducts, can continue after the course of antibiotics. In this case, exercise is a great way to consistently treat the disease.

It is important to note that if you are using exercise as part of your Lyme disease treatment, you should also be getting extra rest. Not resting enough but continuing to exercise can have the opposite effect.

Let’s go into why exactly exercise is helpful for the treatment of Lyme disease: treatment of the disease by antibiotics can result in a buildup of toxic by-products in the body. These by-products will then need to be removed somehow. The body also reacts to these by-products by producing an immune response known as a Herx reaction. Exercising allows for faster and more efficient blood circulation around the body and as a result reduces the length and intensity of the Herx reactions.

Apart from this, there is another interesting benefit of exercise in the treatment of Lyme disease and that is that by raising the core temperature of the body, this stops the bacteria from thriving in places of the body with lower blood flow.

Apart from getting extra rest when using exercise as part of your Lyme treatment, here are some other tips:

  • Use light weights (1-6 lbs.) as part of your exercise routine.
  • Be sure to warm up and cool down before and after your session.
  • Take a hot shower 10 minutes after exercising. This is important because, as we discussed earlier, it is hard for the bacteria to survive in high temperatures.

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Photo by Jenny Hill on Unsplash

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