Sharing the Journey: Staying Active
This series – Sharing the Journey – is by you and for you. In your own words, we highlight the perspectives and personal experiences of people who struggle with lupus each day. Mostly, we celebrate what makes the lupus community strong by sharing our journey, together.
What are some ways you incorporate movement into your day to stay active when you can?
I sit a lot at work so I have to force myself to get up and move around. I try to get in at least 30 minutes of cardio three times a week. For me, that’s usually on an elliptical. As much as I dread doing it, it works wonders for my aches/pains and sleep. Yoga has also been great for me! – Kayla
For me personally, staying active is key to feeling better. Not only is fitness good for my body, but it’s especially good for my mind. When I’m active, I feel happier and less stressed. I maintain a pretty active exercise routine, which includes cycling, light weights, yoga and occasional running or hiking. With that being said, I have learned to be forgiving to myself when I’m not able to exercise due to illness or achy joints. If I’m feeling overly tired during physical fitness, I listen to my body and do less. – Roxi
We all have different levels of mobility. However, activity is still pertinent to everyone. I have found that if I start my day with movement, I’m able to be more active throughout the day. When I wake up, I lay in the bed and wiggle my toes and fingers. I also rotate my ankles and wrists. I then sit on the side of the bed and stretch my arms and legs while rolling my head around in a circle to stretch my neck and relieve tension in my shoulders. I always take my time – and the time it takes is determined by how I am feeling. These exercises can be motivational, and they truly unstiffen my joints. I also incorporate walking into my daily activity as tolerated. Some days, I can walk down the street and back, while other days I am limited to walking around the house. No matter your level of mobility, I encourage you to find movement that works for you. You will definitely start to see the positive affect it has on your quality of life. – Angel
I incorporate movement in my day as soon as I get up in the morning. I stretch and I take walks during the day. – LaTrease
One of the ways I incorporate exercise into my day is that I do a meditation walk with my step monitor. When I meditate out loud, I lose track of the time and before I realize it, I’ve walked 10,000 steps. I also have stretch belts attached to my door that I received when going to physical therapy. I turn on the music and I stretch away. This helps build up strength in my upper body. When it's time for me to go to bed, I sometimes do the “Head, Shoulder, Knees, and Toes” song to unstiffen my muscles. It works for me because it takes creativity to create a fun exercise regimen that isn’t boring. I find these activities enjoyable because I’ve implemented something I like while making sure I get my exercise in. – Sylvia
I’m so busy throughout my day, so I try to incorporate any type of active movement in it that I can. I try to go walking especially during work to make sure I’m constantly up on my feet moving and moving around. I also started doing yoga at night, and it actually really helps with stress and it makes me calm before I go to bed. I think yoga is so useful because I’m always sore and my joints hurt, so stretching them out really helps. – Kyra
Staying active and incorporating physical activity like low-impact movements into your routine has so many benefits, including strengthening parts of your body that are affected by lupus, reducing inflammation and fatigue, and boosting your mental health.
Getting into a healthy, active routine may be a challenge at first. Fatigue, joint pain, and other lupus symptoms can slow you down, but the key is finding activities that allow you to pace yourself and give you something to look forward to. Walking, swimming, bicycling, low-impact exercises,yoga, Pilates, stretching, water exercise, or using an elliptical exercise machine are all great ways to regularly work out different muscle groups.
Before you get started, here are five things you should know about creating an exercise routine. If you need a bit of motivation, we’ve listed five benefits to leading a more active lifestyle while living with lupus.
Ready to take the first step? Consider signing up for a Fall Walk to End Lupus Now® event or virtual walk!