Before my Mixed Connective Tissue Disease diagnosis, I was pretty active. I was taking a course to climb Mt. Rainier. I jogged and rollerbladed frequently. After I got sick I wasn’t able to jog anymore, it was too hard on my knees and extremely painful.
I learned to walk instead of run. I enjoy walking even though is not the intense workout like running, I’ve learned to accept my limitations and have learned healthier ways of exercise. I have learned to swim, well, I could always swim, but I didn’t know how to swim for exercise. Some friends who participated in triathlons taught me some basics about swimming and with some practice I started to get the hang of it.
Swimming is excellent exercise, it gets my heart rate up and is easy on the joints.
A few years ago I tried cycling. I started with short bike rides, 5 miles then 10 miles. Eventually I was riding 30 miles. Last year I bought a new bike, and committed to train to complete a Century Ride which is a 100 mile bike ride. It was very hard but I did it in Sept. 2008 I really enjoy getting out on the road.
I believe that regualar exercise, 3 – 5 times a week along with a healthy diet has contributed greatly to my recovery. By recovery I mean that I rarely have flare ups and extreme joint pain anymore. I am definately not the same person I was 8 years ago. I am out living my life despite my physical challenges.
I know that my case of Mixed Connective Tissue Disease – Lupus | Rheumatoid Arthritis is fairly mild, but it used to be alot worse in the beginning. It presents me with physical challenges all the time so it never let’s me forget that it is still there waiting to pounce if I don’t take care of myself, get too stressed out or get too short on sleep.
I know many others have much more severe sysmptoms, and regardless of the severity of your condition you should consult your doctor before starting any exercise regimen.
Remember to start out slow and build up gradually. When I started swimming I could barely do one lap without stopping to rest. Now I can swim a mile non-stop. Amazing!