Stretching and tracking physical activities has many benefits as described by a health blogger and author living with Lupus.
With an illness like lupus, engaging in daily activities can have an element of uncertainty. On some days, doing 25 jumping jacks can be a snap. On others, simply swinging your legs out of bed exhausts you like you’ve just run a marathon. I recall, in particular, a period of time where every joint in my body ached, and swollen nodes on the bottom of my feet caused horrific pain with any pressure. All I could bear wearing on my feet were slippers – the only shoes that didn’t constrain or cause pain. Was I going lace up the sneaks to try and fit in some exercise? No way!
Fast forward a few years, and I am healthy and stable, and stronger than ever. My workouts (about 4-5 days per week) include cardio, leg work, weights and abs – a far cry from what I was limited to when my disease was active. But I recently incorporated a new activity into my present workout routine – stretching – which would have been a perfect solution when my lupus was flaring years ago.
Stretching for 10 minutes in the morning has been so refreshing. It literally gets my blood flowing, and while I know it sounds cheesy, I feel so alive afterward. I do legs and back, arms and neck, and I am amazed at how much tightness I have as I begin. The first day I stretched, I got up off the floor afterward to walk to the bathroom, and realized how smooth and loose I was. I wasn’t hobbling as I often did, though I never even considered it hobbling. I thought it was just old-lady-early morning-tightness syndrome, certainly not due to lupus or a lack of stretching!
I find my stretching regimen to be relaxing, invigorating and a wonderful way to check in with my body each morning. So much of disease management is about self and body awareness. Stretching would have been a wonderful way to take stock of my lupus symptom-ridden body every day. I could have made notes in my KnowYourMeds tracking app, noting how I felt day-to-day. I could have reported back to my doctor with more precision and accuracy on how my body was feeling. Most days, I couldn’t keep straight when my pain came or went, or how bad it was from one day to the next!
I hope you give stretching a go. If you do, or have your own helpful daily activity routine, be sure to let me know. Happy stretching!