For the past two years I have spent many hours working with clients with different autoimmune conditions – multiple sclerosis, lupus, chronic fatigue, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic Lyme disease, fibromyalgia, psoriasis, Hashimoto’s, and so on.
I’ve learned many things from working with these amazing and wonderful people and I think it’s important that we continue to help anyone reach his or her fitness goals, regardless of added barriers like autoimmune diseases. When I first meet someone who is looking for training, but is concerned about causing flare ups I explain the way that we will modify our workouts for them. Think of an autoimmune disease the same way that you would if you had a history of ankle sprains. If you have someone who regularly sprains his or her ankle, as a trainer, you don’t avoid everything with the ankle, you strengthen in. You strengthen the body and the system and you just keep the ankle in mind when introducing exercises. It is the same with an autoimmune disease. You don’t avoid fitness and activity, you just want to introduce it in a way that will not exacerbate or lead to flare ups.
Now, I have created a general formula for introducing exercise and activity back in to a person’s life post flare up. Although I do not strictly follow this 6 month program, I use it as a template and modify it as necessary. So, if you have someone with an autoimmune disease that you are working with and you’re looking to find a way to introduce exercise without exacerbating his or her condition please feel free to use these programs as a template. If you are someone who has an autoimmune disease and you are looking for a way to integrate activity back in to your life please feel free to try this out as well, understanding that it is not required to complete everything every day, just use this as a tool to help gage and track your progress over time. If you have any questions about this please comment below or reach out to me on social media.
The biggest recommendation I can make would be to listen to your body. Rest as needed and take your time getting adjusted. The programs are designed for four weeks at a time, but go based off of how you feel.