Persistent illness can seem like a serious obstacle to enjoying life. Some illnesses can restrict movement, brain function, or even memory. However, there’s still a way to live a happy, active lifestyle, even if you’re suffering from a persistent illness. Obviously, everyone’s illnesses affect them differently, and this guide won’t apply to everyone, but it will help some of you with persistent illnesses become more active.
Let’s go over what it means to live an active life with an illness. We’ll cover everything from your limitations to embracing change as it comes to maintaining a safe activity level for your illness.
First and foremost, you need to know the limitations that your illness presents. If you’re unable to safely lift weights, job, or do other strenuous activities, you’ll have to find safer alternatives. You don’t want to make your condition worse by over-stressing the body, or cause other complications that could potentially put your health at risk. If you can’t do it safely, don’t do it. There’s no shame in understanding your limitations.
Even people without persistent illnesses have limitations when it comes to being active. Not everyone can bench-press 300 pounds or run several miles without stopping, and that’s still ok. You can still be active without reaching the maximum potential you see in the gym or other people achieving.
While you shouldn’t focus on how you’re “different” because of your illness, you do need to understand the limitations you have that others may not.
Persistent illness can bring about some pretty stressful changes. You might have to change how you work, how you visit with friends and family, how you work out, or even your daily routine. These things can be stressful and even depressing when they’re new. After all, you’ve lived a certain way for so long, and now an illness is changing all of that. What’s a person to do?
The answer is simple: you embrace the changes and make them your new norm. Embracing change is one of the most liberating and rewarding decisions you can make. Embracing change helps reduce the stress associated with it, helps you see the change in a different light, and convinces your brain that it’s time to adapt—not fight the changes coming your way.
Yes, things will be different. Yes, they will be difficult at first. But know that your brain and your body can adapt to any situation as long as you put your mind to it. Even a persistent illness isn’t enough to hold some back from achieving great things. Look at people like Stephen Hawking, who has something called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, but is still one of the world’s most brilliant scientists. A chronic illness can be an obstacle, but it doesn’t have to prevent you from doing great things.
Once you understand your physical limits, you’ll need to look at what you need to stay active. Will you need special accommodations to move? To get to the gym? To lift weights or do cardio? Will you need a better post-workout recovery routine that includes CBD gummies for pain or better foods?
Recognize what your body and mind will need to pursue an active lifestyle. Maybe you’ll need an accountability partner to help you get over the mental hurdles that chronic illness can present. This can be achieved by turning to family and friends or taking part in the worldwide fitness community via web forums and mobile apps.
Recognize that you might need more help than others. You might need special transportation, medications, and more in order to function on a daily basis. This will become your new norm, but remember; embracing change is better than fighting it. Change is inevitable. Our responses to change are also inevitable, but more malleable. You can make change work for you rather than against you.
Perhaps the most important component of an active lifestyle with a persistent illness is gathering support. You’ll need the support of friends, families, and maybe even strangers you’ve never met who share similar conditions. Don’t underestimate the power of a support group, as it can drive you to do things you never thought possible and pull you from the darkest depths of despair, even as you’re ready to give up.
The people who love you believe in you and want to see you succeed. There is much love and support in the world, despite what the news and general attitudes of those around us would have us believe. People do care. Don’t be afraid to ask for support in your times of crisis. If you need help staying active, perhaps a family member or friend will accompany you to the gym or on a walk/run.