When you have Lyme disease, it can be difficult to get motivated to do anything. And when your body feels like it’s under attack from the inside, it can be even harder to muster up the energy to get up and move around. But exercise is not just good for your mental health — it’s also great for your physical health. In fact, research shows that regular exercise can significantly reduce the symptoms of Lyme disease. In this article, we take a look at the potential links between exercise and Lyme disease, as well as some of the potential health benefits of exercise.
What Is Lyme Disease?
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection that causes an array of symptoms, including fever and fatigue. It is transmitted through the bite of a tick and can be difficult to diagnose because it may mimic other conditions.
The bacterium, called Borrelia burgdorferi, is carried in ticks and transmitted to humans when the tick attaches to the skin and feeds on blood. Lyme disease can be classified as either an acute infection or a chronic illness.
Does Exercise Make Lyme Disease Worse?
What most people don’t know is that Lyme disease can cause issues with the immune system, which can make exercise difficult. The good news is that you can still find an exercise routine that is safe for your body and improves your quality of life.
To help you get started, consider enrolling in a yoga class or pilates session. These types of exercises are low-impact and gentle on the body while still being effective at building muscle tone and improving balance. If you are feeling up to more vigorous activity, try swimming, stationary bicycling, or tai chi.
It’s important to remember to avoid high-impact activities like running and weightlifting while you are suffering from Lyme disease; this will help reduce the risk of further injury to your joints and muscles.
Should You Exercise With Lyme Disease?
If you have been diagnosed with Lyme disease, you may be wondering whether or not regular exercise is good for you. The good news is that the answer is yes! The key is to find an exercise program that is safe and effective for your specific situation.
Fortunately, there are many benefits of regular exercise regardless of your condition, including: improved mood, reduced pain, and improved energy levels. The only caveat is to avoid high-impact activities like running and weightlifting, which may cause further damage to your body.
If you are looking to get started with an exercise program, consider one of these options:
1. Talk to your doctor about what type of exercise would be best for you. Your doctor can help determine if it's safe for you to decide on a form of low-impact strength training (such as walking) or other types of less intense exercises.
2. Consider water therapy such as swimming or stand-up paddle boarding. This can be especially beneficial because it doesn't put any pressure on your joints while still giving your muscles a workout.
3. Find a group activity such as hiking or biking classes that will provide both the physical activity and socialization that most people need on a daily basis.
Best Exercise for Lyme Disease
If you are trying to decide what type of exercise is best for Lyme disease, there are a few things to be aware of. With Lyme disease, it's important that you avoid high-impact activities like running and weightlifting. This will cause further damage to your body. But there are many benefits of regular exercise regardless of your condition, including improved mood, reduced pain, and improved energy levels.
Some people with Lyme disease find walking helpful because it is low-impact and can improve mobility while also imparting all of the other benefits listed above. If walking is not an option due to pain or physical limitations, consider swimming or water aerobics. These activities allow your joints to move through their full range of motion without straining your muscles or bones.
If you're looking for a more intense workout program, pilates may be the right fit for you. Pilates' gentle movements can reduce tension in your muscles while increasing flexibility and strengthening muscles at the same time. Yoga could also be a good option if you're looking for a mind-body fitness routine that focuses on postures and breathing techniques instead of impactful workouts like running or weightlifting.
Swimming is an excellent form of exercise for people with Lyme disease. The water offers support and buoyancy, which makes your joints less vulnerable to injury. You can still build muscle and stay active while in the pool.
Yoga is an excellent way to start a personal exercise program. It offers many benefits, including stress relief and improved flexibility, but also can help people with Lyme disease. Yoga poses are typically gentle and low-impact, making it easy for your body to keep up. Yoga is also helpful because it combines stretching and strength training into one workout which helps you maintain muscle mass while also improving flexibility. Yoga exercises for shoulder and arm pain can help you relax muscles. If you feel like yoga isn't challenging enough, there are many variations that offer more intense workouts as well.
Hiking is one of the best exercises for Lyme sufferers. It’s a great low-impact activity that allows you to explore your surroundings, get some fresh air, and explore your body's limits. It can be a strenuous activity, but it will allow you to enjoy nature while still getting in an effective workout.
One great option for physical activity is cycling. Cycling is a low-impact exercise that can be done indoors or out. A stationary bike is also a good option for people with Lyme disease as it does not put any weight on your joints.
Walking is another low-impact way to stay in shape while managing symptoms of Lyme disease at the same time. It has been shown that walking can reduce joint pain by 50 percent! Walking also stimulates blood flow which promotes healing throughout the body, including in those with Lyme disease who are suffering from chronic inflammation.
Start With Simple Exercises and Keep It Fun
If you are not used to exercising, the first thing you should do is start with simple exercises. These should be things that do not require a lot of equipment or coordination. Try the following:
- Tai Chi
If you want to keep your workouts fun and interesting, try new classes at your gym or community center. The options are endless because there are so many different types of exercise out there!
Do Not Over Exercise
It is important to do what feels comfortable as you recover. If you over-exercise, it may only worsen your condition. One of the drawbacks of Lyme disease is that, in some cases, people experience increased pain after exercising. If you're one of those people, exercise may not be for you.
As mentioned before, high-impact exercises should be avoided because they may cause further damage to your body. Low-impact activities like walking or cycling could be a good form of exercise for you if it is safe for you to do so.
Keep Track of Your Activity
The best way to start an exercise program is to keep track of your activity. If you are unsure about which exercises will be safe for you, try tracking your activity with a fitness tracker app like FitBit. This app will use your phone's pedometer to count how many steps you take in a day and give you reminders to move if you've been stationary for too long.
You could also use a fitness tracker to help with different types of exercises. Strength training is typically considered safe if done properly, so this would be a good kind of exercise to track with your device. The fitness tracker includes programs that are tailored to different goals including fat burning and weight loss, which may be better suited for people with Lyme disease who want to lose weight or reduce their risk of heart disease.
If strength training is too much for you at the moment, try stretching or walking instead! It'll help build strength and range of motion in your muscles while also providing some relief from stress and anxiety.
When you exercise, you’re not just getting in some physical activity; you’re also gathering valuable information about your body. Exercise helps keep track of your activity levels and helps to identify any potential Lyme disease symptoms that may be present.
When you exercise, your heart rate increases and the blood moves through your body more quickly. When this happens, it becomes easier for your immune system to identify any signs of Lyme disease as they may appear in the bloodstream. And because exercise is essentially a stressor to the body, it will also make it so that any current infections are more likely to show up on an immune system scan.
Manage Stress Better and Reduce Symptoms of Depression
One of the most positive benefits of exercise is that it can actually help to manage your stress levels. Exercise has been shown to reduce symptoms of depression, which are commonly experienced in Lyme disease.
If you suffer from chronic Lyme disease, you’ve probably noticed how hard it can be to get out of bed and participate in life. Exercise is a natural way to reduce stress and improve moods. In fact, studies show that exercise has the power to significantly reduce symptoms of depression as well.
Exercise can also help people with chronic Lyme disease by managing their stress levels better. Research shows that regular exercise helps individuals with chronic Lyme diseases cope with the effects of anxiety and depression caused by their condition.
But how does regular exercise help to manage stress?
Exercise helps you feel less burdened by life’s stresses and can give you more energy to cope when you need it most. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins-the “feel good” hormones- which can make you feel better and happier overall. Exercise also boosts your self-confidence and self-esteem, which is important for anyone who may be dealing with chronic illness or depression.
Exercise doesn’t just have mental health benefits either. It can also help those with Lyme disease manage their pain better. When you exercise, your heart rate and blood pressure go up, which can help release endorphins that will make you feel better in many ways (physical, mental, etc.). In addition to relieving pain, research suggests that regular exercise could help those who suffer from chronic Lyme disease increase muscle strength and mobility as well as improve range of motion in joints like the wrists and ankles.
Check with Your Doctor Before Starting an Exercise Program
Before beginning an exercise program, be sure to check with your doctor. Your doctor can give you advice on what activities are safe for you. Your doctor can monitor your progress and ensure you are safe while exercising.
There is a wide range of exercises available, and it’s important to find the right one for your specific needs.
Nonetheless, research shows that regular exercise can significantly reduce the symptoms of Lyme disease. The benefits of getting the blood pumping and muscles working include:
- reduced fatigue
- improved mood
- increased muscle strength
- better sleep quality
- more energy
- weight loss (for those who need to lose weight)
Your doctor may be able to provide you with specific guidelines for how much and what type of exercise would be best for you. Even if your doctor has approved your participation in an exercise program, it is important to remember that there are some conditions where exercise can make the symptoms of Lyme disease worse.