JRA.... Journal of a Radical Arthritis Chick

Here I give advice, speak of my experiences and give information to those who want to better understand Rheumatoid Arthritis. I am NOT a medical professional, and you should always seek advice from a doctor.

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Location: MA, United States

Hello everyone! I am 28 years old and was diagnosed with JRA (Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis) when I was just 3 years old. I've had my battles with this disease over the years, and have decided to create a blog. I want to share my stories and adivce with other RA chicks, or anyone interested, to raise awareness and get insight from others. Feel free to comment/question me about anything. Thanks, and I hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Exercise: Is it good or bad to still do when you're sick?

Well I've contracted a virus, and it upsets me in more ways than one!  My rheumatologist had told me I needed to start exercising more, especially to strengthen the muscles in my thighs.  I started a routine and have been doing so great sticking to it, I could start to feel the difference. I woke up today feeling sick, however.  Today would be a day for me to exercise, yesterday was a day off.  I wondered whether or not I could still exercise.  Before just jumping into it and possibly making things worse, I figured I'd do some research into the matter and see for myself. 

According to WebMD, it states that it depends on what you have, and how sick you are.  For example, if you have a cold it may be okay for you to continue with your workout routine, but if you have a fever, exercise is a definite no-no.   According to Lewis G. Maharam, MD, a New York City-based sports medicine expert, "The danger is, exercising and raising your body temperature internally if you already have a fever, because that can make you even sicker."

It's honestly going to depend on how you feel, obviously if you can't even lift your head off the pillow due to the flu, you aren't feeling up for a run around the block.  A rule of thumb that was founded is the neck rule.  If your symptoms are below the neck, say high fever, chest congestion, muscle and joint pains, as experienced in flu, you should not exercise until you recover. Why? Training in this condition will not give you any any real training effect, so you are wasting time and energy. In fact, it may worsen your illness. A bad infection could turn into pneumonia (a serious illness in which one or both lungs become red and swollen and filled with liquid). Exercising with a fever can cause your body temperature to rise even higher. When your body temperature is high, body fluids are diminished, thus increasing the risk of dehydration. If your symptoms are all above the neck, more like having cold, you can still train as long as your body can take it. However, be prepared that you might feel lousy during and after your workout. A light workout may help you feel better. However, please be aware that exercising will not help you get better faster. No, you can’t “sweat out” a cold.

If you want to exercise when your sick, listen to your body! If you have asthma and a cold, make sure you talk with your doctor before you exercise. If your asthma symptoms are worse with a cold, you'll need to use caution. Exercising with a cold and asthma may cause increased respiratory symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. These symptoms may require you to use more asthma medications to open your airways. Overuse of asthma drugs can also cause your heart rate to increase.

One good exercise to do while being sick is Yoga! I personally love it, these relaxing poses will help to circulate the blood in your body and increase your energy level.  There is also some cardiovascular activity involved with yoga, and this type of exercise helps to remove toxins through sweat.  Yoga cold remedies have proven to be very effective throughout history, since this is an ancient exercise that has improved and maintained the health of individuals of Indian and Chinese for years. Yoga trend is much more popular in the United States, and people are starting to realize that many conditions, including backaches and anxiety, can be cured as a result of practicing yoga on a regular basis. There are 7 poses that are actually aimed to help you feel better! I got the following poses from Yoga Journal

1. Head wrap: Before you begin, wrap your forehead to relieve tension in the head. Take a wide ace bandage (about 4 inches) and wrap it snugly around the head, tucking the free end in. You can also wrap it over the eyes, taking care not to wrap the eyes too tightly. The bandage will comfort your congested sinuses while you do the poses that follow. (see photo below for example)

2. Standing Forward Bend: Brings energy to the head and respiratory area; helps clear the sinuses. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and rest your forearms on a chair seat. You can also place a blanket on the chair seat for extra padding. Hold two to five minutes.

3. Supported Bridge Pose: Opens up the chest and increases circulation to the upper torso.  Align two bolsters or two to four blankets on the floor running the entire length of your body (the height of the support can vary from 6 to 12 inches). Sit on the middle of the support and lie back. Slide towards your head until your shoulders lightly touch the floor. Open your arms out to the sides, palms turned up. Rest with your legs stretched out on the bolster or with your knees bent and your feet on the floor. Relax for a minimum of five minutes.

4. Legs Up the Wall Pose: Brings energy to the groin and opens the chest area to facilitate breathing. With the back of the pelvis on a bolster placed 4 to 6 inches from the wall, swing the legs up the wall. Drop your sitting bones into the space between the blanket and the wall and open your arms out to the sides. If your hamstrings feel tight, try turning the legs slightly in, or move the bolster further away from the wall. Hold for a minimum of five minutes.

5. Supported Bound Angle Pose: Opens the chest, abdomen, and groins; relaxes the nervous system. Sit on the floor, knees bent towards the chest. Bring the soles of your feet together and let your knees open towards the floor. Support the outer thighs with folded blankets at a comfortable height. You can also place sandbags on each inner thigh to deepen relaxation. Release the arms out to the sides and let go of any tension. Relax in the pose for a minimum of five minutes.

6. Reclining Twist: Releases physical and stress-based tension.
Lie on your back and with an exhalation bend your knees and draw your thighs to your torso. Shift your pelvis slightly to the left and, with another exhalation, swing your legs to the right and down to the floor (if they don't rest comfortably on the floor, support them on a bolster or folded blanket). Turn your upper torso to the left. Rest your right hand on the outer left knee and stretch your left arm to the side, in line with your shoulders. Look straight up or close your eyes. Relax for three minutes. Repeat on the other side.

7. Widespread Forward Bend: Quiets the internal organs; relaxes the mind.
Sit on the floor with your sitting bones on the edge of a folded blanket. Straighten your legs out in front of you and then separate them as far as you comfortably can. Rest your upper torso on a bolster or (if you're more stiff) a chair seat. If you are using a chair, you can fold your forearms on the seat for more height and padding. Hold the pose for three to five minutes.

Again, if you are feeling under the weather, listen to your body and do what you feel is best.  Also, contact your doctor if you are unsure about what to do.  You will feel better in no time to go back to your routine, taking a week off will not disturb your body. 


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February 15, 2016 at 7:18 AM  

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