If you are doing your best to get exercise whilst recovering from surgery, when dealing with a long-term or chronic illness nor even just suffering from the winter bugs which have been going around, it can be difficult to stay motivated, especially during setbacks in your recovery, when you have a flare-up of symptoms or you just don’t recover as quickly as hoped. It can almost seem like you should give up and get back on the treadmill – literally – when you feel better, but little and often will not only leave you in a better position when you’re back to your best, it will help you recover faster too.
|Photo Credit: Lolography|
With chronic illness, especially auto-immune conditions that carry symptoms like muscle pain or arthritis, keeping moving is key, and tailoring your workout to what you can do at any given time. Some days, gentle stretches will be all you can manage, but that’s still keeping your body flexible, and your muscles moving – talk to a fitness instructor or to your hospital specialist for ideas on what you can do to fit in a little movement even on a bad day.
You might find it useful to have a plan in place – timetables and goals might not be useful to you if you have an illness where your pain and energy levels may fluctuate from day to day, but your plan might have suggested activities and duration for days when you are at your best, right through to stretches and breathing exercises for when you are unable to exercise. It’s also worth scheduling moderate or low activity days after those where you have managed to do more, especially where physical or mental over-exertion can bring on a flare of symptoms. If you are familiar with ‘spoon theory’ you will already know that overdoing it costs!
|Photo Credit: Lolography|
With long-term illness comes depression; it’s not a given, but it is harder to keep a positive outlook if you know that recovery is some way away, and it’s going to be a while before you are back to your best. Exercise has shown itself to be very helpful as an additional therapy for mild to moderate depression, as it releases endorphins which help to lift mood; a positive mindset is in itself helpful in aiding recovery.
Although wearable fitness technology might seem to be more the preserve of the more serious exerciser, it can be very useful for monitoring your heartrate, logging your exercise, and even keeping track of how well you are sleeping – if you’re noticing an improvement in all these things over a period of a few weeks, it can not only encourage you to keep going when you’re able, but also help you monitor your recovery. Talking to your specialist at a private hospital in Essex will give you more ideas about what is suitable for you to in terms of a fitness and exercise plan which will help to get you back to your best as quickly as possible.
How do you keep motivated during bouts of illness?!