Exercise is important for all people but particularly those who are chronically ill. For an exercise to be successful, you have to desire to want to do it and you have to be motivated to complete it. If the exercise is not done correctly, it won’t be helpful. The first step is to decide your motivation for exercising. What is the reason you want to exercise? Making that personal decision is the first step so that you don’t find yourself skipping your exercise regime. To follow are just a few examples of exercises you can do inside your home and even, while in bed.
- “Diaphragmatic breathing, or deep breathing, is breathing that is done by contracting the diaphragm, a muscle located horizontally between the thoracic cavity and abdominal cavity.” Start by laying on your back, close your eyes and put your hands gently on your stomach. Take a slow inhale through your nose and notice if your abdomen is filling up instead of your chest. You want to fill your diaphragm with air, which will make you more present and will calm the fight or flight feeling that your chronically ill body is often in. Then slowly exhale through your mouth and add a soft “shh” as the air escapes you. This is also a great exercise to use if you are having difficulty focusing or you are in an anxious state. You can do this breathing exercise throughout your day.
- Stretching daily is a great habit to develop and helps you to begin your exercise regime. You can stretch while standing or sitting. Start by reaching to the sky, down to the floor and then side to side. Yoga poses for bed can also provide some useful moves.
- Ankle exercises can be done without leaving your bed. Sit on the side of the bed with your ankles hanging over the side of the bed and trace each letter of the alphabet with your foot. This provides mobility to your ankles and loosens up the joints to get you ready to stand up. This exercise can help prevent ankle swelling and reduce foot pain that you may be experiencing.
- Walking can also be done at home. Walk in a circle inside your house going from room to room. You don’t need a treadmill or to go outside to walk. Start off with walking 10 minutes each day then increase to 15 minutes. This is the hardest exercise for those suffering from chronic pain but will be the most beneficial. Walking is wonderful for the body because it increases circulation and also helps with weight loss if done consistently. It releases endorphins that improve your mood and is good for bone health and preventing diabetes.
Exercise is very important to your health, particularly if you are in chronic pain. Start with a few exercises in your home and try to do them daily. Any physical activity you accomplish is better than none at all. You can do it!
Remember to speak to a medical professional before attempting to do any type of exercises.
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