Lupus Site - a guide for lupus patients and their families



Exercise and lupus


**You must always consult your physician before embarking on any exercise program**


Exercise plays its part in the treatment of lupus. It is very important to keep muscles & joints active for a variety of reasons. Muscles need to be toned in order to function adequately. The size of the muscle & its blood circulation depend on its function (where the muscle is & what it does). The main reason for isometric aerobic exercise (oxygen-consuming exercise) is to increase the tone & bulk of muscles. Therefore physical therapy is very beneficial to the patient who is trying to maintain muscle integrity & tone. Joints depend on tendons & the calcification of bones. These in turn depend on continued movement. Significant bone loss through osteoporosis occurs when bones are not used regularly.

Most patients with lupus are capable of some sort of exercise to increase aerobic capacity of cells & improve immune function.

There is no body system that does not benefit from good exercise. Exercise can build & maintain muscle tone, support & stabilise joints, reduce fatigue, & maintain or increase mobility.

Many factors are involved in determining how often you should exercise & what exercises you should do. The best advice is to consult your physician.

There are times, however, when you shouldn't exercise. Whenever you are having a flare, exercise becomes dangerous & unwise. Achy muscles & fatigue will usually indicate that you are incapable of exercising at this time.

Aerobic conditioning exercise is the best exercise for lupus patients.

Isometric exercises are to be used with caution. These exercises involve tensing of the muscles, which causes the release of large amounts of autoantigen. Directly exercising the muscles releases nucleic acids & a variety of other proteins into the blood. If you have lupus, it is believed that exposing your immune system to such proteins causes it to react even more strongly to re-exposure.




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