Coping strategies can vary among each of us. I write as a way of coping, others learn new hobbies that fit their abilities. What matters most, is that we find positive ways to cope with our pain and avoid the pitfalls of negativity. Here is a sample of some things you can do. Be sure to click on the link to direct you to the page that gives you more information.
Qi Gong also known as Chi Kung is another Chinese restorative-meditative form of specific exercises used to relieve stress and promote health by improving cardiovascular, respiratory, circulatory... Read on >>
This ancient form of non-aerobic movement is beneficial for improving flexibility, strength, posture, and balance. Embracing universal spirituality is a great benefit Yoga.
The ancient Chinese dancelike practice of T’ai Chi is a meditative movement form that helps relieve stress while improving the body’s well-being. Science tells us this gently exercise helps ... Read on >>
Finding Your THR
Aerobic Exercise is any exercise that increases our heart rate. The heart is a muscle and it gets exercise by beating faster. When we exercise it, just like skeletal muscle, we improve its strength. This improves its job of delivering oxygen rich blood to the body affecting all other organ systems. You don’t have to prepare for a marathon, just use the target heart rate formula at the bottom of this page for a guideline.
Always consult with your physician before starting an exercise program. If you have chest pain with aerobic activity, stop and seek immediate health care.
Weight bearing exercise is any exercise that contracts muscles using weight. The weight can be our own body, such as pushups, or it can be bar bells, or other gym equipment. Weight bearing exercise does not have to be intense; it can be gentle like certain Yoga positions. Weight bearing exercise improves bone density, which decreases the risk of broken bones, particularly as we age.
Muscles and Movement
Moving or exercise, whatever you want to call it, improves many things. When we breathe, our lungs take in oxygen (which is food for our cells) and when we exhale, the lungs expel carbon dioxide. Properly functioning lungs balance the right amount of these gases. Oxygen rich blood is then returned to the heart where the left side pumps it out to our body where it is picked up and used by our cells for energy. Deep breathing and aerobic exercise is important to our heart and lungs and keeps our body functioning properly.
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The effect of aerobic exercise is measured by target heart rate (THR). Following precautions the rule of thumb is if you are unable to speak a complete sentence, it is too much.
Caluculate your THR >>
Movement should be based on tolerance. Know your body and use your previous experiences with exercise to create a movement plan that works for you and consider other health issues. (See Managing Co-existing Conditions). Having joint disease, spinal disease, certain connective tissue disorders or other painful immune diseases can limit the type of exercise we can do safely and effectively. When you need to, backup, regroup, and discuss any significant symptoms with your physician. The goal is to improve function, not create problems. Exercising a muscle that is riddled with myofascial trigger points without treating them first can cause more dysfunction. Myofascial pain syndrome is alive and well in many chronic pain conditions. You can read more about it HERE.
Using our muscles is important to prevent wasting (atrophy) of muscle. So if you are bedbound, remember there are exercises than can be done in bed or with the assistance of a caregiver. And remember, you are not in a marathon; doing more on Monday to make up for a Sunday can be catastrophic.
Certain times of the day are better for exercise. For those of us living with chronic pain and illness, we know what hours tend to be our best. This is when we should get up and move.
There are also times of the day to avoid any strenuous exercise. For instance, it is important not to exercise within two hours of bedtime. When we exercise, we release the feel good chemicals, endorphins, and while these hormones cause a euphoric effect, they do interfere with sleep. It is also important not to exercise just after eating, because the blood in our body is shunted to our stomach and bowel to aid in digestion, thereby, decreasing the blood supply to other parts of our body such as brain, heart, and muscles.
A Cautionary Tale
When to Exercise
Isometric exercise is a sustained contraction of muscle using an equal opposing force, such as putting your palms together and pushing, contracting the pectoral (chest) muscles. This exercise also builds muscle, but it’s important to vary the type of exercise, because weight bearing and isometric exercise causes the release of muscle byproduct that can be toxic, especially if we aren’t MOVING!
Weight Bearing Exercise
Types of Exercise
Movement and the Forgotten Lymph System
Unlike blood vessels, circulation of lymph fluid depends entirely on muscle movement or manual manipulation. Lymph nodes, found along the lymph system in strategic places, act like drain filters catching unwanted bacteria, toxins, and other cellular waste. So if we don’t MOVE, the clear yellow lymph fluid becomes stagnant and sticky. We become a toxic blob sustaining chronic illness and pain. If you can’t exercise fully, just MOVE. Sit in a rocker and rock, do exercises in bed, put frequently used items where you have to MOVE to get them.
It’s important that our muscles get oxygen, and it’s important that we MOVE them. Movement has the same effect as W-D40 on a rusty hinge. When our muscles become stiff, our joints do not function properly. Skeletal muscles are supposed to work in tandem and they will if they are allowed to practice. Otherwise, strength will be weak, and they cannot perform the job they are meant to do, provide locomotion. Weak muscles also contribute to pain and are at risk for developing a chronic myofascial pain disorder. Read On >>