The Spoonie Exercise Guide*

Hi lovelies!

This is a collaborative post (not written by me).

If you are someone living with chronic illness, whether that be fibromyalgia or chronic depression, looking after yourself can be one of the last things on your mind. On days where you are really struggling, it can be hard to just get on with the essentials of the day, let alone doing anything to look after yourself. But for things like exercise, as hard as they may be to get up and get going, can actually really benefit those of us living with chronic illness.

Reasons to Exercise

The reasons to exercise can seem pretty self-explanatory. We all know about the standard things like calorie burning and helping you to sleep better; exercise is good for your body as well as your mind. This is something that we all know. However, the reasons to exercise are the same for people with chronic illness or something like fibromyalgia as well. In fact, if you are someone with Fibro, The NFCPA (or National Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain Association), have explained how not moving your muscles can cause them to decrease in size, or cause them to atrophy. And when this happens, it can cause even more pain, and so the cycle goes on and on. Not to mention the benefits for your mental health, as exercise can give you a distraction, a release of happy hormones to lift your mood, and help to eliminate stress as well.


Benefits of Exercise

Again, like the reasons to exercise, the benefits of exercise are not something new and that we don’t already know. But because they are so obvious and we all know what they mean, there are still many of us that don’t exercise, even if we know it is going to help alleviate some pain or suffering of chronic illness. The benefits of exercise really are great for Fibromyalgia patients. Some of which are:

  • Getting better sleep, which is a must if you are lacking energy
  • Better range of motion can come as a result of exercise, making everyday activities much easier
  • An improved mood is also a great benefit, which can be much needed for spoonies and mental health sufferers
  • You do burn calories when you exercise and that can help you to maintain or control your weight
  • Having an increased energy can be a result of exercising which can be needed when everyday life can be painful or a struggle

Relieving pain is one of the number one reasons why those with long-term pain should exercise

It is important to note that these things are not cures to your chronic illness, but can go a long way to helping you feel better, if only for a while. There won’t be many of us that are perfect in our exercise routine, it is an area that we need to work on. But finding something that you enjoy really is the number one thing that will help you to stick at it and hopefully, make you actually want to exercise. Here are a few of the things that you could try, that will all help with those benefits listed above:

Pilates or Yoga

For those of us with chronic illness that haven’t been taking care of ourselves, a high-impact aerobics or spin class isn’t something that springs to mind immediately. Instead, yoga or pilates can be a great option as it can be gentle and really helps you to use your body weight to strengthen yourself, rather than using weights. You never know, you might find yourself wondering why become a pilates instructor, because you enjoy it so much. But it can be a great way to feel better, and help others to feel better too.


If you are someone that is overweight as a result of chronic illness, then you might find that something like running is really difficult. Instead, swimming is a great alternative as there is much less pressure on your body and on your joints, but you still get in a great workout. There are so many things you can do in a pool from swimming lengths to talking part in an aqua-aerobics class.


Simply moving more by walking more is a simple way to lift your mood and hopefully, help to alleviate your pain a little. You can do it around where you live, where you work, or anything in between. It is great as it is practical too; need to go to the shops? Then you can walk there instead of driving, to get two things done at the same time.

Thanks for reading.
Leah xoxo

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