The 5 Tricks You Need to Know to Exercise with AS

When you have a rare disease like ankylosing spondylitis (AS), one of the most annoying things your doctor can say to you is: “Well, you need to exercise more.”

HULU exercise the mindy project mindy kaling mindy lahiri Ankylosing Spondylitis
Can’t. Make. Body. Do. Things. Source:

Why is that so annoying? Well, because when you’re in pain and fatigued and just generally miserable, exercising is one of the LAST things you want to do. And while you know the rheumatologist is right, it still doesn’t make you happy that they are. And it certainly doesn’t make you want to work out.

One of the things we have to come to terms with when we have a chronic illness is that you won’t always be able to do the things you used to. If you used to go running, maybe walking is as fast as you’ll go.

Some people are able to get back to their old activities, and hat’s off to you!

hat, Ankylosing Spondylitis
Talk about impressive! Source:

But for a lot of us, that’s simply not the case.

Physical activities tend to become things we “used to do.” It can be frustrating to accept that fact. And for those of us who want to still be active, it’s hard to find that balance between doing too much and not doing enough.

Thankfully, this article has some really helpful tips for exercising when you have AS.

  1.  Warm-Up
    • No matter the exercise, a proper warm-up is important. To go from no movement to intense movement is a sure recipe for injury. So take it slow, get in touch with how your body feels, and make sure you don’t overdo it.
  2. Posture
    • Because AS affects the spine, trying to consistently maintain correct posture is critical. The article details specific things to look for to help with the following postures since they affect your back in different ways:
      • Standing
      • Lying down
      • Walking
      • Sitting
      • Sleeping
  3. Yoga
    • I love yoga, and that mind-body connection does wonders for chronic body aches and pains. It’s a great way to stretch out sore muscles and strengthen the joints. It also promotes mindful, deep breathing, which is especially helpful when living with AS to keep the rib cage from getting too stiff. The best part? Yoga reinforces the importance of listening to your body and doing what feels good for you!
  4. Swimming
    • I also love the water! The ocean, a lake, a pool, or a shower, I swear I’m happiest in the water. Swimming is a wonderful way to exercise because it takes pressure off your joints. Plus, it’s a way to work out the entire body.
  5. Listen To Your Body!
    • This is the cardinal rule of rare disease living. If anything is causing you pain, STOP. A good stretch feels different than flat-out pain. Not sure? Ask the instructor. Better yet, let your instructor know before class even starts about your condition and how it affects you. They can preemptively offer solutions or suggestions to help you get the most out of your exercise without hurting your body.

These are the tips you need to slowly start working into an exercise routine that works for you. Then, you can wipe the smirk off your rheumatologist’s face when you tell them that you have, in fact, been exercising.

We’ve got your back! Source:

Farrah Fontaine

Farrah Fontaine

As a child, Farrah Fontaine always knew she wasn't normal. Part of her family descends from the ancient Silk Road, which made her stand out in the Great White North. That's why she wants to give voice to the voiceless so they know they're not alone.

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