A chronic disease diagnosis does not have to stop your entire life. In fact, sometimes it might be better to keep moving! An active lifestyle has been tied to increased mood, decreased chronic pain, and better mental health. Below are some tips to stay active with spondylitis.
The thought of movement while living with chronic pain is not the first pleasant thought that comes to mind, but it can actually help. It’s just important to start slow and from wherever you are.
Instead of going straight to a Zumba class, try just taking walks around a park or neighborhood a few times a week. It does not matter the pace or distance, it only matters that you keep moving. Instead of having a numeric goal in mind, focus more on how you are feeling.
Does the movement make you feel more present in your body? How does being active affect your state of mind? If you notice that your mood has improved, then you have achieved your goal. If it doesn’t, keep at it or try another type of movement.
Find What Works For You & Adjust As Needed
Being active comes in many forms. Walking is one of the most simple forms of exercise, but not the only low-impact workout. Try taking a bike ride by yourself or with friends. Start with a small distance like a mile or two.
Cycling is easy on the joints, especially ones in the lower body. Other low-impact options include swimming, ellipticals, stationary bikes, dancing, and yoga. Yoga is an especially good option to move and stretch out the body.
Additionally, yoga promotes mindfulness and connection with the body. While chronic diseases may bring feelings of animosity for your physical body, yoga can bring a greater appreciation of what your body can do.
Although gentle, yoga is a great way to challenge yourself through the various poses and increase your strength without lifting heavy weights. The most important thing to keep in mind is to be open-minded. Not every workout will work for you, it’s a matter of trial and error.