Browsing our social media accounts, you’ll see members of the Chronically Badass Club who are getting and staying active with all sorts of autoimmune conditions, including IBD, RA, MS, Type 1 Diabetes, Lupus (SLE), Hashimoto’s, and Sjogren’s. Badasses with autoimmune conditions appreciate the anti-inflammatory and mood-boosting effects of exercise.
The Rheumatoid Arthritis Support Network publishes a list of recommended exercises and stretches. Similarly, the Lupus Foundation of America recommends starting out with low-impact activities, including walking, using an elliptical, swimming, biking, low-impact yoga, Pilates, stretching, and low-impact aerobics. For most Badasses, these activities are a preferred way to strengthen the body’s soft and hard tissues before embarking on higher-impact exercise, if they so choose and health allows.
At Chronically Badass, we often describe exercising with a chronic illness as a rollercoaster ride or a tightrope act, and that is absolutely true where autoimmune conditions are concerned. It’s all too easy for beneficial exercise to cross the line and cause an autoimmune flare.
When considering whether your exercise program fits your body, Autoimmune Wellness suggests a four-prong approach to analysis. Examine the intensity, duration, frequency, and type of exercise that you’re doing and dial your work up or down appropriately, given your current health status.
During their interviews for our social media features, many Badasses emphasize the importance of flexibility and self-compassion–and of avoiding the social media comparison trap. Perhaps exercise can only entail gentle strength training and stretching/mobility work. This movement is still valuable. By starting out with consistent, short-duration, low-intensity exercise and increasing your workload very gradually, you may be able to stay balanced on the chronic illness tightrope.
Several Badasses with autoimmune conditions are involved in the coaching world. If you have questions about your training or might be interested in working with a coach, consider connecting with them.
- Beverly Smith, a Badass with colitis, offers virtual coaching services. You can learn more about working with her here.
- Chulwon Park, a Badass with RA, offers run coaching. You can find him on Instagram as @streakinginsandals.
- Coach L’Mekka, a Badass with lupus, is a personal trainer. She is on Instagram as @coachmekkalupuswarrior.
Many of us have heard of Autoimmune Strong, a fitness program for people with chronic illnesses; however, we’ve not yet tried it out. A 7-day free trial is available here. Let us know if you try it!
If you are an autoimmune Badass, we’d love to learn what works for you! Please feel free to email email@example.com with your fitness tips and chronic illness hacks.
The content on this website is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.