Thursday, December 5, 2013

Personalized Exercise

Experts agree that exercise is key to maintaining good health. And in most situations it's an important key for recovering good health. 

I've mentioned before that there are times when exercise is not the best thing for your body. If you're dealing with severe adrenal or thyroid issues for example, then exercising can actually do more harm than good. It's helpful to have a trusted health provider who can advise you if/when you should not exercise for a period of time. 

If exercise is not the best thing for you right now, then be sure you're keeping up with lymphatic massage (since without exercise the lymphatic system won't keep moving properly). Also do deep breathing and stretches as regularly as possible. 

But in general, exercise is a great tool for healing. Dr. Mercola has an excellent article about the valuable and life-saving benefits of exercise. The important thing is to personalize exercise to what works best for your body. 

There is no one exercise program that works for everyone. And what your body needs will change, especially if you're recovering from years of illness. If you don't have a trusted health provider to give you guidance, then start small with whatever method seems best for you. 

Here are some basic exercise options:

1) Walking - Make sure you have good shoes to support your feet and legs. Try not to walk on busy streets or anywhere you'd be breathing toxic fumes. 

2) Exercise bike - This is a good indoor option. A bike is especially helpful if you lack strength to stand for long. Set the tension at the lowest setting to start.

3) Aerobic exercise - Again, make sure you have good shoes. Always start slowly, allowing the body to warm up, then cool down afterward with slow movements and then stretches. There are many good aerobic videos that you can follow.

4) Core strengthening exercises - These include things like planks, bridges, leg lifts, etc. A strong core is important for overall health and the strain of daily tasks. Here's a good article about these exercises and instructions for some of them. Just remember to keep your current condition in mind and don't start with aanything too hard. (My physical therapist said I could start with wall push-ups - leaning against the wall to do push-ups. Then I'll work up to incline push-ups, and later to regular floor push-ups.) 

There are a lot of exercise programs out there to follow. Just remember to always start slow and listen to your body. If you can only handle 2 minutes at first, that's fine - start there. Gradually increase as you're able. Pay attention to your body and learn when to push it ever so slightly, and when to back down if necessary.  It's vital to stay within your "training zone," as it's sometimes called. Remember my motto - "Start somewhere and do what you can." =) 

I started exercising a few years ago with about three minutes on an exercise bike. Then I had to stop for a while as my thyroid went through a healing process. Later I began again with about four minutes of (very low-impact) aerobics. I've gradually increased, and now I'm able to do 9-10 minutes of aerobics 4 days a week. I'm also adding in some core strengthening exercises. I spent most of the last 9 years lying in bed, so now that I'm actually upright most of the day I really need to build up my core muscles. 

I'm very thankful that it actually feels good to exercise now! I hope you find a personalized exercise program that works for you. Let me know how it goes. =) 

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