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Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional and exercises for autoimmune diseases should not be taken as medical advice. Never make any diet or exercise changes without talking to your doctor first.
Autoimmune diseases can make just the act of getting out of bed exhausting and painful. Your body aches, there’s a throbbing ache in your joints, and bone-deep exhaustion. But chances are you’re still hungry. Eating without having the opportunity to burn off the extra calories leads to weight gain. Weight gain puts strain on the body and can even increase the likelihood of suffering from another flare-up.
It’s a vicious cycle.
Even when you’re feeling good, however, you can’t exercise like ‘normal’ people if you have an autoimmune disease. Stress is one of the number one most likely triggers of the immune response that causes our flare-ups. Exercise puts stress and strain on our bodies.
Low Impact Exercises for Autoimmune Diseases
So how do people with autoimmune diseases tackle this catch-22? If we exercise, we cause a flare-up; if we gain weight, we generate a flare-up and increase the strain on our already hurting body, and then in a flare-up, we hurt too much to move.
The best exercises for people with autoimmune diseases are known as low-impact exercises. Done right, these can provide aerobic and strength training, both of which our bodies need, while giving some tremendous extra benefits like dopamine, which helps us feel good and can lower pain.
There are a couple of crucial things to do to make sure that you don’t push yourself too hard or too far when you are exercising. The first is to keep a journal and write down everything you do each day at the gym or home for exercise. Keep track of how long, how many repetitions, and then the next morning honestly evaluate your energy and pain levels. Make a note of that as well. You can use this information to tweak your workout routine so that you’re getting the best benefits of your exercise without wearing yourself out.
Low impact exercises, such as yoga, water weight training, swimming, and Pilates, are ideal for people with auto-immune diseases. These are the best exercises if you struggle with autoimmune diseases because they provide the most significant benefits while putting the least strain on your body. These activities help release endorphins, improve circulation, and support healthy brain function without triggering the same stress responses as jogging or spinning class as long as they are done in moderation.
You must take care to watch for the signs of stress and instead are competing with others. If you don’t then it won’t matter what exercises you’re doing – you’re heading right for a flare-up. Remember, the goal when doing the best exercises for autoimmune diseases is to get the benefits of it, to receive that flood of anti-inflammatory chemicals our body produces, without making it, so you’re too tired or sore to come back the next day. Consistency is the best tool in getting exercise without causing a flare-up. With this, you’ll have the most success in keeping weight down while avoiding trouble.