Andrea Wool, CEO (Chief Exercise Officer), of Autoimmune Strong, stopped by “The Rhode Show” on Wednesday morning to share tips for getting – and staying – in shape in the new year!
Exercise Key Points:
There is no need to push yourself to the max in order to get fit. In fact, the “No Pain No Gain” sentiment can be detrimental to your health, especially if you are someone living with an Autoimmune disorder, fibromyalgia, lyme, or any other chronic pain or inflammatory disease. If you are living with any of these disorders, pushing too hard can actually exacerbate your symptoms, causing what’s called a “flare-up”- where your immune system gets overworked and you experience symptoms like exhaustion, fatigue, brain fog, and bodily aches and pain…
Instead, focus on daily movement. Consistency is the key here- doing your exercises every day, even if it’s just for a few minutes a day. Getting your body used to daily movement is so important in order to gain the health benefits of exercise like improved mood, increased energy, better sleep quality, and increased brain function.
Along with daily movement, it is important to do the RIGHT kind of movement. Most people like to focus on cardio- and while that does have some health benefits, I believe that strengthening and stretching exercises are more productive. And the combination of STRETCH and STRENGTH is extremely important- your tight muscles need to be loosened and your weak muscles need to be strengthen simultaneously, so they can work better as a unit.
An example of a good strengthening exercise is abdominal bracing. Lie on the floor with your knees up, tuck your pelvic bone, pull your belly button to your spine, and squeeze your pelvic floor (like you have to do to the bathroom). Hold all three in tight for 30 seconds.
Another good strengthening move that you can easily do at home is to simply stand on one leg. This activates your body’s stabilization muscles (the core!) along with glute activation. Most of us live with weak glutes from sitting all day- so this one is really very easy and super useful.
Finally, a good stretch is a pec stretch. Our chest muscles get tight from sitting at the computer or on the couch, and we need to stretch them out. Clasp your hands behind your head (or use a towel if your hands can’t reach) and stay there for 30 seconds, or fold over your legs to get a deeper stretch.
Autoimmune Strong provides short instructional videos that you can easily do at home, with little to no equipment- so you can practice these moves and many many more. Go to www.getautoimmunestrong.com for more info.