How does it effect your symptoms to move your body?

Exercise and Inflammation.

Exercise has both pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory effects on the immune system.

During exercise: An initial adrenaline rise triggers the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines.

In the recovery phase: A feedback loop kicks in which triggers the release of anti-inflammatory cytokines.

This means that for most people, exercise early in the day has anti-inflammatory effects that kick in when the exercise is finished.

However, overdoing it with exercise can lead to a worsening of symptoms, especially for those with sensitive immune systems.

This might sound like something you want to avoid, but it is a mistake to avoid moving the body completely out of fear of causing a flare up.

Both over and under exertion can maintain an inflamed bodily environment.

Because movement is essential for recovery, gentle movement, like walking, dancing, yoga, or swimming, done within your body’s limits, is the middle way. Finding a type of movement that you enjoy and can do regularly is important for feeling better, no matter the cause of your symptoms.

Therapist Tip Sticker

Physiotherapist’s tips:

Maintaining flexibility is important, even when your symptoms are at their worst. This is because tissue that has lost its flexibility after lack of activity takes a long time to regain it again.

Stretching also helps proper breathing and flushes the lymphatic system to reduce inflammation. Luckily stretching is almost always manageable in some way, even when lying in bed.

When you are ready, building strength and stamina has benefits for symptoms such as pain, fatigue, anxiety, low mood and symptoms of dysautonomia, as well as for the immune system and the rhythmic body.

If you have been unwell for some time, it is necessary to build up your physical fitness gradually. Good general advice is to start to work with stretching or easy unstrained movement to loosen up the musculoskeletal system.

After loosening up for a few weeks, then work on building in activities that can build strength and stamina as a normal part of the day e.g. walk the dog, walk up the stairs, carry groceries or babies.

It is always better to build in a manageable small amount of training on a daily basis than a large amount a few times a week/month. Intense episodic training has a boom-bust effect on the body which can maintain or worsen symptoms.

Start with what is manageable and slowly extend these daily activities (e.g. walk longer/faster), or integrate training activities that you find motivating (e.g. cycle for transport or attending a yoga class).

Keep an awareness of how the exercise you are doing affects your symptoms and overall energy.