AS and Exercise: If You Don’t Use It, You Lose It

You know the old adage that if you give someone an inch, they’ll take a mile?

While it is highly unlikely that whoever this “someone” is will take 63,360 times what is offered, it is common to not realize the effects that a small cause may have. If you will allow me to be cliche, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. This is particularly true of the benefits of exercise. As we get older, especially if we have a mobility limiting

This is particularly true of the benefits of exercise. As we get older, especially if we have a mobility limiting disease, such as ankylosing spondylitis (AS) or multiple sclerosis (MS) or Parkinson’s disease (PD), we need to maintain the mobility that we have with regular exercise.

Mobility disorders come in all shapes and sizes. AS is a muscular-skeletal issue, whereas MS and PD are neurological disorders.

All three can cause limited range of motion and involuntary pain and movement throughout the body. Unfortunately, none can be cured as yet. However, with treatment, the symptoms can be reduced and managed.

Gillian Eames, is a woman living with AS and also an advocate for the community. She posted an article discussing her exercise routine in the hopes that it might help someone else.

Something as simple as standing tall is enough to get the ball rolling if you are in the advanced stages of one of these diseases. After all, most of our mothers told us repeatedly to stand up straight. Do what your mother tells you. You should also check your posture at each mirror or window you encounter.

If your disease affects your chest cavity, it may progress to limiting your ability to take deep breaths. Fight back by taking deep breaths and holding each for five seconds. This can be quite refreshing. Repeat this motion as often as you like.

Walking is also great exercise. You may not be able to walk quickly or for long periods of time, but you can still walk. Modern technology has made it that much easier to keep track of your progress. Things, like pedometers and Fitbits, have taken all the guess work out of walking for exercise.

Another great exercise is water work. Whether it is swimming or water aerobics, the resistance of the water and low impact of the environment is a recipe for success.

It’s ok to push yourself, but it’s more important that you recognize your limitations. A good workout will make you sore, but revitalized. Pushing too hard will make you sore and worn down. Know your body.

Gillian is quick to point out that no matter how small the movement, it’s worth it. While each exercise itself might not seem like much, every little bit helps.


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