Exercise, Nutrition and Sleep for Those with Chronic Illnesses


We all know how important, exercise, nutrition and sleep are to wellness. How many magazines, how many internet sites and television programs advocate certain foods, exercises and tips for a good night’s sleep that they claim are necessary to maintain wellness? But what about those of us whose health is already compromised; those who are dealing with chronic illness? For us diet, exercise and sleep are even more important!

For us, the cookie-cutter fitness routines, fad diets and sleep tips may not work. Each of us needs to carefully examine and explore what foods, activities and sleep routines work for our particular condition.

I vividly remember the personal trainer, physiotherapist, chiropractor and massage therapist who assured me they knew all about fibromyalgia. In fact, many of their clients had it and were experiencing wonderful progress, because of their treatments. It turned out these experts believed in the, ‘no pain no gain’ approach to dealing with fibromyalgia – and for me, that didn’t work. Instead, I spent the days following their ministrations in increased pain and agony.


For me, walking was ideal

When I first started walking for wellness, not just to get from my sauna to my hot tub to my bed, I had to remind myself to walk instead of shuffle. I had no idea that I had been dragging my feet, in order to avoid the painful contact with the ground that came with a real step. With every step I took, I reminded myself, heal ball toe, heal ball toe. I repeated my new mantra over and over as I walked, at first to the corner, then gradually over time, to the end of my block, then two blocks, then three blocks… I felt better; not just physically, but mentally and spiritually. I looked beyond myself and my pain. I observed the clouds, noticed the neighbor’s new fence, listened to the birds, smelled the flowers and greeted fellow walkers.

Hydrotherapy was a godsend

When I walked in the pool, the water supported my aching muscles and joints. The impact was minimal. Heal, ball, toe—I walked slowly from one side of the pool to the other. Then it was backwards and sideways. I swam; first short distances, then further as my strength increased. Finally, I enrolled in a water aerobics class, doing the exercises that worked for me.

Yoga, like other exercise, is not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ program

Research and check out the different types of yoga, as well as the styles of different instructors. For me, gentle and restorative yoga works best. My body appreciates the gentle stretching. If there is a pose that causes discomfort, I back off.

Tai Chi

Tai Chiis highly recommended; however, because of my fibro fog, I couldn’t remember the patterned movements and found it frustrating.


Pilates was more intense than I needed at the time.

Now it’s your turn. Listen to your intuition and body. Make your own lists of exercises, foods, sleep tips as well as doctors, therapists, alternative wellness practitioners and medications which work for you.

You are unique. There never has been and never will be another you. Even if you have the same diagnosis and symptoms as someone else, you are unique. Do what works for you!

Komanchuk2014Exercise, Nutrition and Sleep for Those with Chronic Illnesses

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