While Ryan suffers with hypoparathyroidism, the exercise tips listed below are good for anyone! Whether you’re working on a New Year’s resolution or just trying to be more conscious of moving more, let us know what you think about Ryan’s tips, and if you’d like to see more of these in the future.
Exercising when you struggle with hypoparathyroidism can be very challenging; I should know. I have hypopara myself. I have good days and bad days but I do my best to keep physically active because I know it helps me manage symptoms and ultimately feel better in the long run. The following is a list of tips that I incorporate into my own life in an effort to keep (or sometimes even start) moving.
- Don’t do too much too soon: A surefire way to throw your body into stress (and thus lower your calcium) is to do too much too soon. Start with gentle stretching and walking and slowly and very gradually add more vigorous activities. Many of us who suffer from hypopara struggle with movement. You may find that walking for too long lowers your calcium; start slow and gradually increase movement over many weeks.
- Listen to your body: Start to become more aware of your body and know what is going on with it. If your calcium is particularly low on a given day, take it easy. On days where you’re feeling well, you can push it just a little.
- Keep an exercise and symptom journal: Start to write down exactly what you did for exercise and whether or not you experienced any symptoms. By keeping a journal you can become more aware of your individual resistance to exercise. In addition, you can help your medical provider make changes, if necessary, to help you to better handle an exercise load. By journaling (and working with my physician) I learned that I need to take calcium before, during, and immediately after running. I would not have known that without writing it down.
- Recruit a reliable exercise buddy: For many people, starting out with exercise is half the battle. Finding a buddy at a similar level of fitness can help a lot. In fact, I would never have started running without the help of a friend of mine. Recruit the buddy and agree to meeting up to walk, swim, do water aerobics, or whatever other physical thing you have in mind. Even having a virtual buddy can help you with accountability.
- Add a little music: Music can help motivate and inspire. Make a play list of your favorite upbeat songs and play it only when you are exercising. Start with 1 to 2 songs and vow to get through your playlist. As you build your endurance and body’s capabilities, begin adding songs to your playlist. Before you know it, you’ll be moving to 12 to 15 songs!
- Don’t give up: You will have good days and bad days. Trust that you can exercise. Trust that movement is not only fun, but it is extremely important for your overall wellbeing. Trust that your body will adapt and trust that you’ll be able to listen and learn what your capabilities are. Most importantly, know that you can and will be successful.
Movement is important for not only your physical wellness but your entire wellbeing. Although having hypoparathyroidism makes it harder, you can and should still incorporate movement into your life. Start slow, listen to your body, and adjust your calcium as needed (with the help of your physician). Over time you will find that your body’s tolerance to exercise will increase, you’ll feel happy and healthier, and you’ll be able to better enjoy your life.
Disclosure: Cal-EZ is supporting me financially through an athletic sponsorship; however, I was taking Cal-EZ prior to receiving the sponsorship because it works!
To read other voices struggling with chronic illness and calcium deficiency, please visit our new series, New Year, New Voices.