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5 Exercise Benefits-for Autoimmune Disease

Updated: Mar 2, 2023


5 Exercise Benefits-for Autoimmune Disease


If you asked me if I enjoy exercising, I would honestly say, no. However, I realized as I got older that I needed to exercise. Diabetes runs in my family and I do not want diabetes on top of celiac disease. I already have foods that I can't and won't eat. As we all know having one, or more, autoimmune disease/s puts us at risk for others.

My bicycle
My Electric Blue Racer
A few years ago, I realized I had to reframe my thinking. Exercise was a chore. I hated it. As we all know anything we don't enjoy we are less likely to do. I needed to find something that I enjoyed. I thought back to when I was a child, what did I love doing?

I loved riding my bike. My love started with my Big Wheel. I can't say enough about how much I loved the sound of my Big Wheel on the pavement. It was so loud that it drowned out the sound of everything else, the faster you went the louder it was! When I couldn't ride my Big Wheel, anymore I graduated to my bike with the banana seat. Geez, I loved that bike! To me, my bike always has given me a sense of freedom. The wind blowing through my hair, no one to answer to, an escape from every day worries.

My other love as a child was swimming. My parents would drop me off at the local pool and I'd be there all day. I would practice my underwater handstand, which I believed was perfect. By the time my parents picked me up, when the pool closed, I would be hungry and exhausted. These were activities I could do and never think of the word "exercise." This was not exercise, it was fun!

Image of my pool and the mountains in the distance
A perfect day at the pool


For those of us with autoimmune disease exercise isn't just about losing weight it is about staying as healthy as possible. As much as I hate to admit it...when I exercise, I feel better, better about myself. I feel stronger. This isn't about being skinny. I'm not skinny, as a matter of fact, the only times in my life when I was skinny was before I was diagnosed with celiac and EVERYTHING made me sick. I don't ever want to feel like that again. I want to feel well. I want to be strong.


Celiac.com posted an article recently entitled "Celiac Disease Associated with Higher Risk for Cardiovascular Disease." This made me think..." are there any benefits to celiac disease?" I feel like we are bombarded by all the negatives. You are more likely to be depressed, more likely to feel socially isolated, more likely to get another autoimmune disease, the list goes on and on. Yes, these are all true but are there positives? Yes, I believe there are.


I take better care of myself because of celiac disease. I know what is in the food I eat. I'm more aware of others with food allergies or intolerances. I know what it's like to be really ill, to have something terribly wrong and not have answers for a long time. My journey brought me to a place where I finally found answers. I know what I can do to be healthy. Am I perfect? No. Sometimes I get off track and stop exercising but I always get back to it.


I know that having autoimmune diseases put me at risk for other diseases. But I can't focus on all the negatives I can do everything I can to be healthy. Today, I remind myself...to "put one foot in front of the other." Another bike ride, another swim, a few more steps. I am thankful to know that I have celiac. With knowledge comes power. I have the power to be healthy and so do you. So, ask your "inner child" what did you like to do when you were young? Whatever that was get out there and do it!

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