My previous blog post was about the Lupus Foundation of America’s recent medical Q & A session about cardiovascular health and lupus. Since today is a busy telecommuting work day, I only have a few minutes to blog during a lunch break. I’d like to share my question, and Dr. Amy Kao’s helpful response from that published session.
She gave recommendations for a typical heart-healthy exercise program for lupus patients that are worthy of a closer look. Dr. Kao’s guidelines for physical activity and exercise during times of lupus quiescence and lupus flares seem simple and easy-to-follow.
The desire to maintain an adequate heart-healthy exercise program can be hard to sustain as a lupus patient, and especially when my condition flares and moving feels counter-intuitive to joint pain. What types of exercise would you recommend as a typical heart-healthy exercise program for lupus patients with non-erosive lupus arthritis?
Low impact aerobic exercise, such as walking at moderate intensity (at the speed which your heart rate increases but you can still talk), is desirable for healthy heart. However, it may be hard when you have arthritis flare or chronic joint pain. Many times, I advise my patients to walk in the swimming pool back and forth as fast as they can without causing more joint pain. Buoyancy of the water reduces the weight stress to the joints of the legs. At the same time, walking against water creates resistance that also tones the muscles. However, on the days with painful joints, you may like to limit your physical activity to Pilates, which stretches and tones the core muscles.
Simple take-away idea!
This is a motivating and “do-able” suggestion, that encourages me to stick to my indoor bicycling and gentle yoga exercise program.
I had never before considered using my heart-rate increase and ability to carry on a conversation as a good signs that my exercise program was vigorous enough, but not too much. Now, I have an easy way to make sure I’m working hard enough but not going beyond my lupus-related physical limitations.
Now, back to my great and active day of telecommuting work and adventure… (eye-rolling is appropriate, but doesn’t count as exercise!)