Exercise safely despite health problems

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Chronic diseases such as diabetes, asthma, arthritis and other minor health problems can be more than just an excuse when it comes to exercising and staying fit.

Certain health problems, whether major or minor, can affect your physical activity and limit one’s level of intensity and effort while working out. Since there are many health benefits gained from exercising, it is important to find a work out plan that is best for your body.

“One of the most important things to do when you have health problems is to make sure you understand your limits,” said Jillian Helvey, graduate assistant and certified athletic trainer at California Baptist University. “Work with a trainer or doctor to come up with a physical activity plan that matches your abilities.”

It is important to understand the level of intensity the body can handle. For those who have not exercised in a while, start slowly and build up gradually.  According to the Mayo Clinic, a nonprofit medical research organization, this can be made easier by setting exercise goals with a doctor in order to progress smoothly.

Certain types of exercise can help manage symptoms and improve your health depending on the health problem. Mayo Clinic’s website states that regular endurance, aerobic and strength exercises are important for people diagnosed with diabetes in order to lower blood sugar levels.

Morgan Barrows, kinesiology graduate student and women’s water polo team member, grew up with asthma and chose swimming and water polo as her main source of exercising.

“Working out in the pool has always been a better option for me since running can be harder on my breathing,” Barrows said. “Now, my asthma doesn’t really affect me because it is something I have lived with and I am able to control. I know my limits and when I need to take a break and use an inhaler.”

Certain health problems may get in the way of exercising, but it is important to stay active. According to the Mayo Clinic website, even 60 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, such as riding a bike or walking around the block, helps promote a healthy body.

About Meghan Rowland

Asst. Health Editor

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