When illness or injury is involved too much exercise can damage the muscle while too little can also have your muscle wilting away. At times it can be a fine balancing act between exercise and abuse. It is a line that you or your doctor will have to define.
Where your muscles and muscle loss are concerned there is one simple statement that applies: Use it or lose it. You need to keep active or your muscles will begin to deteriorate.
This wasting away of muscle tissue is referred to as muscle atrophy and it generally occurs during lengthy periods of reduced physical activity or loss of movement due to illness or injury.
It Hurts When Exercise Damages the Muscle Rather Than Repair It
For many individuals it can be difficult to focus themselves into including a regular fitness program into their daily living but for people who suffer from chronic illness it can be especially difficult. Their body is busy sending out mixed messages. It is telling the person to just rest till they get well because their body needs time to recuperate and exercise could be harmful.
Those subtle warning messages are accurate and over-exercising while the body is under physical or emotional stress can and will do damage to the body. Vigorous exercise should never be participated in during periods of illness.
However, exercise is necessary as a person cannot go long periods of time without developing some degree of muscle atrophy if movement to the body is restricted.
If an illness is chronic or lasting for more than a few days than it becomes vital to participate in a range of motion, mobility, or exercise program. Even a short walk throughout the home can help to cleanse the lungs and increase muscle stamina.
Keeping the body toned when it is a weakened state can be a fine balancing act. Muscle toning, cardiovascular exercise and range of motion exercises must be based on a person's individual needs and adjusted on a day to day basis as the illness improves or worsens. You never want to do more damage than good.
Chronic Illness and Inactivity can Cause Muscle Atrophy
Muscle atrophy from illness or injury can often be reduced or even prevented if muscles are kept active. This is especially important for people who suffer from chronic illness. Their disease is not going to go away so they may have to spend a lifetime with their symptoms of pain and fatigue.
This means that these persons have to find a means of keeping muscle loss to a minimum throughout the course of their disease. Most illnesses come with a reduction in the amount of energy that we exert.
This is apparent to anyone who has ever suffered from a really bad case of the flu. You want nothing more than to crawl into bed and pull the blankets up over your head till you are well again. The body is busy using all of its reserves to try to heal itself which doesn't leave much energy left over for trying to maintain muscle strength. Well some people live with these symptoms on a daily basis. A chronic illness does not go away.
Relax Sore Muscles with Massage Therapy or a Warm Spa Bath
Smile. It is an Important Element in Staying Healthy
Life doesn't always deal a fair hand and some days won't have you up running a marathon but your day can still be greeted with a smile. Laughter really is the best medicine so find a smile in everything you do throughout the day.
When you smile, laugh, or participate in other pleasurable activities your brain releases a little feel good chemical messenger known as an endorphin.
They flow down your spine and spread throughout your body relieving emotional and physical pain as they go.
What you Apply to Your Skin Absorbs Into Your Body
Try switching away from chemical formulas and try a natural personal care product today.
Magnesium rich Epsom salts can help relieve muscle pain and cramping brought on from lactic acid buildup during exercise. Add a cup of these salts to the warm water in a foot bath or full size tub and soak away your aches.
Shea butter is a natural anti-inflammatory and may help to soothe muscle aches as it helps to heal dry skin.
I suffer from chronic inflammation and began using Shea butter lotion a few years ago. I would never switch back to other lotions. The natural healing powers of Shea butter proved its worth to me.
Adequate Protein can Help to Prevent Muscle Loss
Adequate protein consumption is vital to preserving muscle strength and providing us with energy when we most need it. Our body requires an ingestion of protein daily and uses this to feed a number of vital body functions.
It is important to note though that not all protein is equal. Protein is built on a chain of amino acids. There are 20 of these that we require and 8 of which are referred to as essential amino acids because they are not produced by the body. What we refer to as a complete or good quality source of protein is one that contains all eight of the essential amino acids.
Complete proteins are found generally in animal based proteins such as fish, meat, and eggs. Often when a person is ill their appetite decreases and fatigue increases. This can make getting adequate amounts of nutrition difficult.
Vitamin and protein supplements during illness can help to keep strength and body mass adequate until the person grows stronger. Whey powder is an easily digestible protein which can be stirred into a milk or juice smoothie for easy consumption.
Some Exercises are Definitely More Effective Than Others
Yoga Exercise can Focus on the Areas That Need the Most Aid
Yoga exercises are designed to focus on every area of the body to bring total well being when performed on a regular basis. They are also wonderfully versatile and easily adaptable to most levels of fitness.
Focus on the key postures of yoga that will do your body the most benefit.
Choose specific muscle groups to focus your early exercise routine on. Design a program that will most benefit your specific health needs. Adapt as needed.
Get an Adequate Amount of Sleep
Muscle heals while you sleep. Many people know the value of exercise for muscle strength and endurance but don't realize how vital an adequate amount of sleep is to this process.
How much sleep your body requires will depend on your personal needs but the general guideline of eight hours per night is usually a pretty good rule to follow. Allow your body the rest it needs to repair itself.
When we are younger, older, or ill we tend to require additional rest so don't be too surprised if your body asks for eight to ten hours of sleep per night.
A half hour period of total rest at some point during the day can also help to re-energize and strengthen your body.
Well Tolerated Exercise can Help Repair Damaged Muscle
WALKING is an activity that can be done by most individuals regardless of their illness levels. Walking is important for promoting cardiovascular health as well as bone and muscle strength. Again it is important for a person to pace their walking program to their fitness levels.
When walking outdoors it is important not to walk further than you are able to. Remember that you have to have the energy to get back home again so account for the return trip when planning out your route.
A treadmill at home insures that you can walk for short periods throughout the day without overdoing it by misjudging what you are capable of.
Turn on Your Favorite Tunes and Dance Throughout the House
DANCE is a form of therapy that is generally not given the respect that it deserves. Dancing like yoga and walking programs can be adjusted to individualized fitness levels. It can be anything from a simple shuffle around the living room to a full fledged Aerobics Workout. Most people feel uncomfortable dancing alone, but don't, this activity can be a lifesaver.
With dance it seems that you don't even have to concentrate on how much or how little you should do, your body automatically seems to know, and each day it will let you know what it is capable of.
A lot of people seem surprised when they realize that two weeks into a dance program they are dancing more vigorously and for longer periods of time without any seeing any extra exertion on their part. Fitness adjustment just seems to come natural in dance.
Find a Physio-Therapy Program Appropriate to Your Needs
RANGE OF MOTION EXERCISES can be learned through local physical therapy programs or an Arthritis center. These exercises focus on maintaining as much movement as possible within the joints and muscles. From simple circles done first to the right and then to the left in the ankle and neck areas, to stretching the each finger to touch the inner palm, range of motion is a gentle form of exercise that can generally be used even in the most severe cases of illness.
AQUA-THERAPY is generally conducted in warm water at a public pool or in a medical spa facility. Exercise can range anywhere from simply gently moving the arms and legs, to water dance or aqua-fit classes, to the swimming of laps depending on a persons fitness or illness level. Aqua therapy is very beneficial for muscle strengthening for those with joint issues as it removes stress that would otherwise be placed on the joints during exercise.
YOGA is a very important form of therapy for overall body health. By gently stretching the muscles of the body it promotes muscle strength and flexibility, at the same time Yoga relaxes the nervous system, and stimulates the many internal organs within the body to provide cardiovascular health benefits. Yoga can be modified and simplified during periods of extreme illness and it is also a therapy that can be easily individualized through a choice of exercises pinpointed to key areas of the body.
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