There are millions of people in the UK who live with some form of chronic health condition. The impact on quality of life varies from person to person, with some having to make significant changes to their lifestyle, and many struggling to manage an illness that affects their life in fundamental ways.
What everyone with a chronic illness has in common is that they will benefit from exercising. However severely anyone is affected by their health problems, there are ways they can exercise their muscles or receive therapeutic treatments to maintain muscle tone and flexibility and improve circulation.
If you have a chronic health issue, or know someone who does, you’ll understand how hard it can be to find the motivation to exercise when you feel low and in pain, but the benefits of making an effort are proven to make a valuable contribution to improving quality of life.
Why exercise matters for people with chronic health problems
Without regular movement, your muscles, ligaments, and tendons weaken, your bones lose density, and you’ll be prone to circulatory problems that could cause ulcers and blood clots. Even people who are in a coma receive regular physiotherapy to help delay the physical consequences of immobility. The more exercise you can do within the safe limits for your condition the healthier and stronger your body will be, which will, in turn, ease your symptoms and make you feel better.
Chronic health conditions can make it hard for people to exercise because they are often fatigued and in pain, so finding the right kind of help is key to ensuring they receive the right exercise advice and truly benefit from their efforts. If you’re looking for help with your own fitness or someone close to you, there are several kinds of professionals who can offer expert help:
- Physiotherapists can help you move correctly and show you the best kinds of exercises to help you stay fit.
- Personal trainers who have taken a Level 3 course in exercise referral have undergone specialist training in helping people with chronic health problems to exercise safely and effectively.
- Rehabilitation specialists in yoga understand the best way to adapt poses to accommodate chronic pain and disability, and can design programmes for your specific requirements.
- Occupational therapists don’t help with exercising as such, but they do play a valuable role in showing you how to manage every day tasks to make them easier, giving you more energy and ability to undertake your exercises.
It’s worth checking with your local doctor’s surgery and at the hospital or clinic for information on services geared towards helping people with chronic health problems stay fit and well. If you’re looking online for someone to help you, make sure you check their credentials and that they can back up any claims they make. Anyone who’s helping you with your physical health should be appropriately qualified, so you know you’ll be getting sound and genuinely helpful advice.
Don’t underestimate the improvements that exercise and physical fitness can make to someone with chronic health problems; it really could make all the difference.