you are living with health problems, regular exercise and activity are
important. They keep you healthier, give you energy, make you stronger, and
help your mood.
Exercise and activity can help many health
problems. An active body is less likely to give in to
diabetes, heart disease, lung disease,
depression, or weight gain. And being active can help
protect you from new health problems.
What does "exercise" or
"being active" mean? It all depends on what you can do.
It can be
hard to be active when you have many health problems. Exercising enough to
control diabetes can be a challenge when arthritis makes walking painful or
when heart failure slows you down. But there are choices, like doing exercises
in the water or as part of a cardiac rehab program.
doctor’s help, you can decide what works for you. Figure out what is safe, what
to avoid, and what kinds of choices you have. Don't be too active or get too
much exercise at first. Do a little at first, and then gradually do more.
You want to live life to its
fullest, but you don't want to hurt yourself.
1. Know your strengths and your barriers. When you have more than one
chronic disease, there may be some physical limits on what you can do.
If you push your limits, you could hurt yourself. It’s
also normal to have feelings that can get in the way, like fear or depression.
These emotions and physical limits are called barriers.
2. Get expert advice. Talk to your doctor about all of your
symptoms, medicines, and barriers to being active. Talk about your strengths
and what you enjoy doing. If you've been feeling depressed, be sure to talk
about that too. Depression can make even the simplest things seem hard.
planning form(What is a PDF document?) to gather your thoughts. What do you most like to do? What kinds
of things get in your way? What questions do you have for your doctor?
Go over your planning form with your doctor. Write down what you can do
for exercise and what you need to be careful about. Set a long-term goal you
can reach, and start with small steps toward it. When you reach your goal, find
a way to celebrate it. Then set another goal.
Your doctor may work
with you on an exercise prescription. This clearly sets out what is safe for
you, such as your
target heart rate range and any need for medical
supervision while you exercise. If you need medical staff with you when you
exercise, your doctor will suggest that you sign up for an exercise rehab
3. Know when to stop and when to call your doctor. When you exercise, it's normal to have some minor muscle and joint soreness. But other signs may point to something more serious. Stop exercising if:
Your doctor may add other symptoms to look out for, based
on your health.
Call your doctor if your symptoms don't go away
quickly or if they come back again.
Be as active as you can as often as you can, but honor
your body’s limits.
Health experts suggest that older adults and people with
long-term health problems try to:
These are guidelines. A slow walk might feel hard, easy, or
somewhere in between for you, depending on your health and fitness levels. You
and your doctor can decide what’s best for you.
August 3, 2011
Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
& Brian D. O'Brien, MD - Internal Medicine
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.
To learn more visit Healthwise.org
© 1995-2013 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
We are happy to take your appointment request over the phone, or, you may fill out an online request form.
Disclaimer: The information on this website is for general informational purposes only and SHOULD NOT be relied upon as a substitute for sound professional medical advice, evaluation or care from your physician or other qualified health care provider.