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  • Writer's pictureMotto Health

Have an autoimmune condition? Physical activity helps! - The Top 5 Reasons to Get Moving

When we ask our patients about physical activity, the vast majority say they want to do more of it. They explain that moving their bodies feels essential to living a vibrant life. They tell us that exercise reliably makes them feel happier and more relaxed. And they confirm what we know from many studies and from our professional experience: that regular exercise is one of the surest ways to keep joints flexible and reduce the symptoms of autoimmune conditions, like pain, stiffness, and fatigue.

So what gets in the way? Oh, plenty! Even when you don’t have an autoimmune (AI) condition, it’s hard to fit exercise into busy days. And when you are dealing with an AI condition, you also have pain, fatigue and stiffness to contend with. In other words, the very symptoms that improve through exercise are also very real blockers.

Helping you figure out how to overcome these barriers and live a vibrant, active life is precisely why Physical Activity is one of our 7 Pillars of Care.

The Benefits

What is it about exercise that makes it so important for improving AI conditions in particular? Maybe this will help:

But don’t I just need to rest?

Ok, so physical activity holds some magic medicine for AI conditions. But when you’re dealing with stiffness or fatigue, it can feel like the last thing in the world you want to do. Your brain may tell you: ”Don’t move, you just need rest!” And sometimes that voice in your head is absolutely correct. But sometimes… it’s not. The trick is to figure out which voice to listen to and when.

So, here are some steps we guide you through to help you figure out when, how and what kind of exercise works best for you:

Learn about your condition: Each inflammatory condition is unique and has different recommendations for physical activity. For example, people with ankylosing spondylitis usually feel immediately better with movement, whereas those with fibromyalgia can experience post-exercise fatigue. Whether you’re having an average day or are in a flare matters too. We provide tailored physical activity education so you can make smart choices.

Learn about YOU: Even condition-specific recommendations don’t apply to everyone equally. When you’re dealing with an AI condition, the key is to get to know you really well. Through conversations with your health coach, you will learn to tap into, and trust, your intuition about what kind of movement, how much, and when it’s right for you.

Develop a toolkit of options: A toolkit of physical activity practices should include a wide range of choices–from vigorous cardio to relaxing walks, stretching to strength training, outdoor and indoor. This gives you different options for different kinds of days. And each activity has different benefits.

Build good habits: Moving more helps you move more. Often that hardest part is getting started on a good routine. Our health coaches guide you through that step by step, with you in the lead.

Tap into support: Having the support of friends, family, peers, and your care team can make all the difference to keep up your motivation. It’s so helpful to have a health coach to help keep you accountable, family to pick up the slack at home so you can go to the gym, and a friend (or dog!) to walk with.

With the right guidance, information and support, you can absolutely find the physical activity routines that will help you feel flexible, energized and vibrant. So go on, get moving!

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