Exercise Plans for People Living with Lupus

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Most of us are acutely aware of the need to keep mobile and supple, but factoring in exercise to our daily routines can sometimes be a struggle and more so when chronic pain and inflammation are making us feel unwell.

Regular exercise is important if you have Lupus. It will help: 

  • Fight insomnia or general sleeplessness
  • Any cardiovascular problems
  • Maintain a healthy body weight
  • Increase levels of energy and help fight fatigue
  • Increase bone density to fight osteoporosis.

What exercises are safe, achievable and won’t put too much stress on the body? Here, we give you the lowdown on the right kind of workout plans to aim for, if you’re managing lupus.

Exercising safely

Of course, it is always recommended that before you start any exercise regimen, you think about the symptoms you suffer from, the levels of pain you have to manage and how you feel day to day. It’s always worth talking to your healthcare practitioner before you make any plans and getting approval from them before you start. 

Aerobic exercise

Aerobic exercise refers to anything that will keep pulse and heart rate elevated, and make you feel that little bit out of breath. However, it needn’t mean you have to push yourself to the limit. There are gentle ways of increasing your aerobic activity without hurting your joints. Think about short, but brisk walks, gentle and safe cycling routes or using an indoor bike or a length or two of the local swimming pool.

Gentle stretches

Stretching exercises can be done from a sitting position. A good one to try, to help relax tired, knotted joints and muscles is to sit up straight in a chair, and starting from the feet, tense every single muscle in them – hold for five, then release. Repeat this throughout your body, the feeling of relaxation this produces is wonderful and it helps with keeping muscles free too.

It’s not about punishment!

Exercise is not about punishment, it’s about making sure you stay active and fit. If you find one activity you enjoy, stick to it. It’s worth keeping an exercise diary so that you can track when, where and what you’ve done over time.

If going outside to exercise is too much, think about simple workouts you can do from home – for instance, a treadmill set up in front of your television, or an indoor bike.

Make your plan manageable – then you know you can stick to it. Your exercise goals should always be achievable, and something you feel you can perhaps increase over time, rather than aiming too high to begin with and failing because you’ve put too much stress on your body. The emphasis, when exercising with lupus is to improve mobility and help reduce pain without putting extra stress on the body.

By, Jess Walter, Freelance Writer