Ginger Vieira was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was 13, celiac disease a year later, and fibromyalgia in 2014. Ginger provides great insights into life with multiple chronic illnesses, including how to make the most of your life despite your health setbacks.
If your aching joints and bones keep you from traditional forms of exercise like jogging or strength-training, don't despair because there are other great ways for you to get off the couch and get your heart rate up. Moving your muscles and bones is crucial diabetes control, especially as we age, to help us stay limber, burn extra calories, and keep our energy levels up.
Here are 3 types of exercise that are considered "low-impact," which means they're gentle on the joints and bones, but they'll still offer the benefits of good ol' fashioned exercise.
This is a newer type of dance class making its way around the country these days. The best thing about it, compared to other exercise dance classes, is that it doesn't actually require a great deal of coordination or the ability to follow a choreographed routine. Instead, in Nia dancing you actually take cues from the teacher but you are given incredible freedom and flexibility to make the movements your own, which means you can move in ways that support your body's needs the best. The class starts with a gentle warm-up tempo and increases gradually while still maintaining an overall supportive intensity for anyone's level of fitness. It's also fun and it's a great way to build confidence in your own body.
Swimming has a sneaky way of providing a great workout without all the obvious sweating of other exercises. Whether you join a class or prefer to swim on your own, you can mix up your swim workout with laps, treading water, and even pressing and pulling movements through the water with foam dumbbells. Simply treading water for 15 minutes will use almost every muscle in your body, especially your core, and get your heart rate up. You can walk your laps instead of swimming and use the water's resistance working against you for extra effort without the impact on your knees of walking on a real road. And don't understand the benefits of gentle swimming laps, to and fro, which uses your chest and your back muscles immensely.
Tai Chi is not only great for your muscles and your joints, it's also a wonderful method of de-stressing and relaxing your mind. Tai Chi is ideal for anyone with tight muscles, stiff joints and arthritis because the movements are very slow, and focused, while also requiring a great deal of purposeful muscular movement. Even as a beginner, you can walk in to your first Tai Chi class and feel right at home because while you'll build better form and technique over time, there's no pressure to be perfect.
In the end, it's all about trying new things until you find the right fit for you. If you've been avoiding exercise because of aches and pains, it's time to get back in gear with something you've never tried before that also works well with your physical limitations and needs!