We all need to move more – especially when in long-term ill-health.
I am sure we have all experienced the flu or a virus where all you have wanted to do is to pull the duvet over your head and stay in bed being served fluids and a bite to eat by loved ones – that is when we can even muster up the energy to swallow something!
That might be a great thing to do in a short-term illness but with long-term ill-health it is an entirely different ball game. When in a chronic long-term illness, the pain and fatigue can have the same effect. As the pain and tiredness ramps up, the less we want to do.
However, the truth is – that is the worst thing we can do.
We obviously need to rest when unwell but if we remain inactive for too long, the lack of movement can compound and trigger a cascade of health problems as the body’s functions become negatively impacted. In my own experience with Chronic Lyme Disease, other co-infections and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome / ME, in not moving my health deteriorated further.
Here is why we all need to move:
We are a lot more sedentary in our lifestyles than years ago, so a conscious effort on moving and exercise is needed.
- When we move and exercise our breathing and heart rate increases which sends more blood and oxygen pumping around our body.
- The more we move the more efficient our heart becomes as it supplies oxygenated blood to the muscles. Over time that can create more blood vessels and lower blood pressure.
- More exercise means our muscles call for more oxygen, which strengthens our lungs and makes for more efficiency in breathing.
Brain and Mental Health
- Exercise and movement increases blood flow, which also benefits the brain by the growth of new brain cells. That boosts focus, concentration, memory and learning.
- Neurotransmitters increase such as endorphins, serotonin, dopamine, glutamate and GABA, all of which play a major part in mood control.
- Movement and exercise is therefore THE best thing for managing depression.
- The endocrine system, a network of glands that secrete essential hormones throughout the body, needs an efficient blood flow to move the hormones to their directed organs.
- Without an efficient blood flow (which we get via moving more) the endocrine system becomes inefficient causing numerous health issues as our organs are deprived of the essentials.
So if you are in long term ill-health and you want to get some benefits, you need to move!
Be careful and measured in what you do. I am not suggesting an hour in the gym by any stretch, but make a conscious effort to move more.
- Get up and walk around. Move every hour or so if you can.
- Find your platform for what you can do one day without making yourself feel worse the next day. You might only be able to achieve 200 steps in a day to start with, but whatever you can do will have a positive effect.
- When you have your ‘platform’, continue with that each day so it is comfortable for you to achieve it.
- Then gradually increase how much you can do. Generally try for a 5% increase and then establish a new and better ‘platform’. Then increase it again the following week.
If you have a long term health problem, the benefits of movement will help you on your journey to better health. If you need to, seek professional support.
I know how hard it can be, but trust me it is worth it!
I have had more days than I can count where I have had tears running down my face with the pain and exhaustion, but I know from experience if I didn’t get some level of movement in then the next day would be even worse.
Sometimes you have to break through the barrier and move. It might seem counter intuitive to what your brain and body might be telling you when you feel unwell and are in pain.
The best thing you can do for your future self is to get up and move.
You will thank yourself later.