Friday, October 8, 2010

Starting an Exercise Program


Starting an Exercise Program

It is always important to discuss exercise plans with your doctor, all of your doctors.  If you can, you should start with supervision from a physical therapist or qualified athletic trainer.  They can help show you what equipment will work with your limitations.

Other things  you need to do:
  • Apply heat to sore joints (optional).
  • Stretch and warm up with ROM exercises.
  • Start strengthening exercises slowly and gradually progress to small weights, theraband, weight machines, etc.
  • Use cold packs after exercising (optional).
  • Add aerobic exercise.
  • Consider appropriate recreational exercise (after doing ROM, strengthening, and aerobic exercise).
  • Ease off if joints become painful, inflamed, or red.
  • Choose the exercise program you enjoy most and make it a habit.

What To Do During a Flare 

Exercises that seem easy one day may be too much on days when your joints are more painful and swollen. When this happens, cut back on the number of exercises and gradually add more when your tolerance increases. If you notice a significant decline in your performance, talk to your doctor or therapist immediately.

Do not do aerobic/endurance or strengthening exercises when your joints are swollen and painful. If just one or two joints are swollen or painful, you can adapt your exercises to put less stress on those joints. For example, if your knee flares up, switch to exercises in the water instead of walking. Also, next time you exercise, decrease the number of times you do each exercise, or do them more gently.

Stop exercising immediately if you have chest tightness or pain, or severe shortness or breath or if you feel dizzy, faint, or sick to your stomach.

How Much Exercise is Too Much? 

If exercise causes joint or muscle pain that lasts for more than 2 hours after exercising, it is too much. However, it is important to realize that when beginning a new exercise program you may feel that your heart beats faster, you breath faster, and your muscles feel tense. You may also feel more tired at night but awake feeling refreshed in the morning. These are all normal reactions to exercise that indicate your body is adapting and getting into shape.

People with lupus should adjust their exercise program when they notice any of the following signs of too much exercise: 
  • Unusual or persistent fatigue
  • Increased weakness
  • Decreased ROM
  • Increased joint swelling
  • Continuing pain (greater than 2 hours after exercising)

If you have not been exercising on a regular basis or have pain, stiffness, or weakness that interrupts your daily activities, start your exercise program with flexibility and strengthening exercises only. 

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Thanks for reading!!

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