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Illness, exercise and setting yourself up for success.

Staying active when you’re feeling down can be difficult, whether it’s a physical or mental, chronic illness, recovery from injury, and even a common cold. There’s always the fine line between doing too much or not enough.

Having a chronic illness and low immune system myself I have learnt ways to manage this over time. And it all starts with knowing your body and knowing when you’re making excuses. When you push past that, it is SO liberating!

I usually start by setting goals and making them unwavering, i.e. I have to move at least half an hour a day, workouts during the week of some description; cardio, weights, dance, yoga, anything, and active recovery on weekends; walks, rides or throwing a Frisbee in the park. It’s not that much time a day, a few months ago if I found myself scrolling on my phone for a few minutes, I was convinced that if I have time to do that, I have time for a workout, it is only 2% or your day!

The other reason for setting up your base for 30 minutes of exercise a day is that it will keep you moving and feeling good.

Often, it’s not that we don’t have time, it’s that we choose not to use our time for exercise. Think of it like taking medicine, that half an hour provides all sorts of health benefits; reducing heart disease, managing depression, weight loss and releasing endorphins to name a few to make you feel good. And if you are doing these things all the time, then when your body is put under stress mentally or physically, you can cope with the situation better because you are already in a healthier condition, to begin with.

Once you have this down pat, you are set up with a healthy base. Then when you have a flare or get run down or sick you have something to aim for again. Even if you are in pain and feel so unwell, try to set a small goal, get up, shower, get outside for ten minutes, walk around the block to get your body moving, sit on the floor and have a good slow stretch session while indulging in the latest Netflix release – there are so many low impact exercises you can do, there’s even chair and bed yoga on youtube! 

The reality is, even when you’re feeling crappy, a small amount of movement can do the world of good, then when you’re healthy enough to exercise properly again, ease into it, pick a workout that is kind to your body, put on your activewear (trust me, even getting dressed in your activewear feels good) and get moving.

Obviously, the above suggestions are to be discussed with your GP and conducted in a way that is safe for your body or illness.

Meg Schofield - @thelymphlife - My adventures with Lymphoedema for people who have the condition, their friends, family and others who would like to create awareness.

Insta @thelymphlife