How to Exercise Safely With Health Conditions

How to Exercise Safely With Health Conditions

Regular exercise provides plenty of health benefits but can be challenging for people with health conditions. Conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis can make training more difficult or risky. However, with careful planning, supervision, and the right exercise program, it is possible to exercise safely and reap the many benefits of physical activity.

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Exercise and Avoiding Chronic Disease: Get The Facts

Exercise is one of the best things you can do for your health, and it can be especially beneficial for people with chronic conditions. Here are some of the BEST ways that exercise can help people with health conditions:

Heart disease

Exercise can help lower blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels, all risk factors for heart disease. Physical activity can also help improve heart function and reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke.

Type 2 diabetes

Exercise can help lower blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity. This can help people with type 2 diabetes manage their condition and reduce their risk of complications.


Exercise can help you lose or maintain a healthy weight, which is important for preventing or managing many chronic diseases, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some types of cancer.

High blood pressure

Exercise can help with hypertension, a major risk factor for heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease.

High cholesterol

Exercise can help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and raise HDL (good) cholesterol. This can help reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.


Exercise can help reduce the risk of stroke by lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels. It can also help improve cognitive function and reduce the risk of dementia.


Physical activity can help mental health by improving mood, reducing stress, and boosting self-esteem. This can be especially beneficial for people with depression.


Exercise can help reduce anxiety by increasing endorphins, which have mood-boosting effects.


Exercise can help improve joint pain and stiffness, and it can also help maintain range of motion.


Physical activity can help build bone mass and reduce the risk of fractures.


Exercise can help reduce the risk of cancer, including colon, breast, and lung cancer. It can also help improve survival rates for people with cancer.

Staying Physically Active: Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias

Staying physically active is an integral part of a healthy lifestyle for everyone, but it is essential for people with Alzheimer's disease and related dementia (ADRD).

There is a growing body of evidence that physical activity can help reduce the risk of developing ADRD and slow disease progression. In particular, aerobic exercise, which gets your heart rate up, is beneficial.

How Can Exercise Improve a Chronic Condition?

Exercise can improve a chronic condition in many ways. It can:

  • Reduce your risk of developing chronic diseases. Physical activity helps you maintain a healthy weight, a major risk factor for many chronic diseases, such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and some types of cancer.
  • Help you manage your chronic condition. If you already have a chronic illness, exercise can help you manage your symptoms and improve your quality of life. For example, exercise can help people with cardiac disease lower their systolic pressure and cholesterol levels, and people with type 2 diabetes control their blood sugar levels.
  • Reduce your risk of complications. Physical activity can help reduce your risk of complications from chronic diseases like cardiac arrest, stroke, and amputation.
  • Improve your mood and mental health. Exercise can help reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, which are common problems in people with chronic diseases.
  • Increase your energy levels. Physical activity can help you feel more energetic and improve your stamina. This can make it easier to do activities of daily living and participate in social activities.
  • Strengthen your bones and muscles. Physical activity can help strengthen your bones and muscles, which can help prevent injuries and falls.
  • Improve your balance and coordination. Exercise can help improve your balance and coordination, which can help prevent falls.
  • Help you sleep better. Exercise can help you sleep better at night.

Physical Activity and COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)

Exercise helps to improve lung function by increasing the strength and endurance of the respiratory muscles, improving the ability of the lungs to take in oxygen and release carbon dioxide, reducing inflammation in the airways, and improving the circulation of blood and oxygen throughout the body.

Exercising With Type 2 Diabetes

Exercise is an integral part of managing type 2 diabetes. It can help to lower blood sugar levels, improve insulin sensitivity, and reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, and other complications.

The American Diabetes Association recommends that people with type 2 diabetes get at least two and a half hours of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise or one hour and fifteen minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise each week. Aerobic exercise is any activity that increases your heart rate and makes you breathe harder. Examples include brisk walking, swimming, biking, and dancing.

In addition to aerobic exercise, people with type 2 diabetes should also do strength training exercises two to three times a week. Strength training exercises help to build muscle mass, which can help to improve insulin sensitivity. Examples of strength training exercises include lifting weights, doing push-ups and sit-ups, and using resistance bands.

Address any Anxiety

Exercise is a great way to improve physical and mental health and can significantly benefit people with anxiety.

  • It releases endorphins. Endorphins are hormones that have mood-boosting and pain-relieving effects. They are often referred to as "natural painkillers" because they can help to reduce the symptoms of anxiety and depression.
  • It reduces stress. Exercise can help to reduce stress by promoting relaxation and improving sleep. When stressed, our bodies release hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. These hormones can make us feel anxious and on edge. Exercise helps to reduce these hormones and promote feelings of calmness.
  • It improves self-esteem. When we exercise regularly, we can see improvements in our physical appearance and fitness levels. This can lead to increased self-esteem and confidence, which can help to reduce anxiety.
  • It teaches coping skills. Exercise can help us to learn how to cope with stress and anxiety healthily. When we exercise, we know how to control our breathing and focus our attention. These are skills that can help manage anxiety.

It is important to find an exercise routine that you enjoy that is challenging but not too overwhelming. Some people find that aerobic exercises like running, swimming, or biking help reduce anxiety. Others prefer strength training or yoga.

Exercising with Chronic Pain

Many individuals in chronic pain can exercise safely and help with pain management. Inactivity can also cause an inefficient and ill-functioning cycle. Ask a healthcare professional on Onelife Fitness if exercise will work for me. Every movement has its health risks and advantages, which are ideal combinations. Exercise helps maintain a healthy weight and relieve knee and hip pain. The added weight may slow the healing process or even cause pain. Keep a close eye on your body during your exercise. Observe the best workout days of the day.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you exercise with health problems?

Exercising with health problems can be challenging, but it is essential to stay active. Here are some tips on how to exercise safely with health problems:

  • Talk to your doctor before starting any new exercise program. They can help you create a safe and effective plan based on your needs.
  • Start slowly and gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts over time.
  • Listen to your body and stop if you feel pain.
  • Choose activities that are appropriate for your fitness level and health condition.
  • Some examples of safe and effective exercises for people with health problems include walking, swimming, yoga, Tai chi, and strength training.
  • Some adaptive exercises can be modified to accommodate specific health conditions.
  • Find an exercise buddy or join a fitness class to help you stay motivated.

What are the conditions to avoid when exercising?

Some conditions that you should avoid when exercising are:

  • Fever: Exercising with a fever can put you at risk of dehydration, muscle cramps, and heat exhaustion.
  • Infection: If you have an infection, such as a cold or the flu, your body is already fighting a battle. Exercising can make the condition worse and delay your recovery.
  • Heart conditions: If you have a heart condition, such as coronary artery disease or heart failure, you must talk to your doctor before starting an exercise routine. Exercise can benefit people with heart conditions, but it is essential to do it safely.
  • High blood pressure: Exercising can help reduce hypertension, but starting slowly and gradually increasing your workouts' intensity is essential.
  • Diabetes: If you have diabetes, it is essential to monitor your blood sugar levels before, during, and after exercise. Exercise can help to control blood sugar levels, but it is vital to be aware of the risks of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).
  • Joint pain: If you have pain such as arthritis, it is important to choose low-impact exercises. High-impact exercises like running can stress your joints more and worsen the pain.
  • Pregnancy: If you are pregnant, you must talk to your doctor before starting an exercise program. Exercise can benefit pregnant women, but it is essential to do it safely.
  • Avoid exercising in extreme weather conditions, such as extreme heat or cold, is also essential. Exercising in hot weather can lead to heat exhaustion or heat stroke, and exercising in cold weather can lead to hypothermia.

Can I exercise during illness?

Generally, it is not recommended to exercise if you are experiencing moderate to severe symptoms of illness. This includes fever, fatigue, body aches, chest congestion, and a productive cough. These symptoms show that your body is fighting an infection and needs rest. Exercise can further stress your body and make it more difficult to recover.

However, light to moderate exercise may benefit some people with mild illness. This includes activities such as walking, yoga, or tai chi. These activities can help to boost your immune system, improve circulation, and reduce stress.

What are the exercise program guidelines for individuals with chronic diseases?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that adults with chronic health conditions or disabilities get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise or 75 minutes (1 hour and 15 minutes) of vigorous physical activity each week. This can be done in 30-minute sessions on most days of the week.

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