Exercise is one of those things that for some people it can improve your health but for others it may do more damage if they overdo it. But for most women there is a balance and it may be possible to increase it slowly over time. Physical activity can be helpful for your mental health, and for improving your condition and your quality of life. If you are worried about starting physical activity, consult an exercise physiologist or a physiotherapist. Both can help you with fitness goals but come from slightly different angles.
The following is a list of ways to get you going
- Do some research – Know what’s good for your condition (this is also where an expert might be able to help). For example some people with arthritis acknowledge that while the exercise might be painful, it reduces pain in the long term. In contrast, people with CFS know that doing too much, even if it’s just a little, is a detriment.
- Slow and steady is always better, especially at the start.
- Doing something is better than nothing – a walk for 200mtrs with a few stretches may be just what you needed.
- Exercise on your own terms – don’t let anyone force you to exercise.
- Exercise with a friend who understands and is empathetic/ or be able to call someone if you get stuck – there is always a possibility you will go beyond your “spoon” allocation the first couple of times.
- Set a realistic exercise goal but acknowledge that you may need reassess that goal if you aren’t able to physically meet it. It may be a two and a half steps forward, two steps back kind of thing.
- Be ok with giving up rather than pushing though – you need to think about if pushing through is worth it for the next coming days.
- Try not to compare – especially to your old self before the chronic illness.
- Do physical activity that you enjoy!
There are a few community groups in Canberra that offer low cost or free workouts that are specific to those with chronic conditions. Go to our organisations section for more information.