Exercising with a Chronic Illness

Exercising has always been the greatest mental health medication for me. It made me feel more centered and focused. The benefits of this are widely known so I won’t bore you with the obvious.

What I did want to bring up is how frustrating it can be when you have a chronic illness and you want to work out and be healthy but your body keeps nagging at you.

I have been feeling very off track lately. My eating is a mess. My sleeping sucks. My migraines are awful. My stomach is distended 24/7 which not only causes pain and nausea but it makes my ostomy bag leak more often.

It is just… hard.

And one of the things I would like to be able to gravitate towards is getting myself in a semi decent exercise routine. I get very inspired when I see people on social media posting about how great they feel after just working out and how exercising and eating well really improves their life. It is motivating to me. And, upsetting at the same time.

It is upsetting because I know I am not like most people. I can’t eat the traditional healthy foods and I also cannot push myself the way I want to (and always did prior to getting sick.)

I have been following the company Beachbody on Instagram and am so inspired by their whole mentality. It is about healthy living, pushing yourself to the max, fueling your body, not dieting, not competing with anyone else but yourself, etc. Just all goodness in my opinion.

I have wanted to be part of the beachbody team for a while now. I love the support that is involved and the networking. I really enjoy meeting new people and having different circles of friends. Growing up, my mom always told me how good it was that I had my school friends and my swimming friends. And I do think that is the case now. I would love to be surrounded by people who share a passion for health and trying to find the balance in life.

The only problem is that I know pushing my body is not the same as other people pushing theirs. It is detrimental to me when I force myself to work through pain. If I even think about doing a sit up or crunches, I have a hernia. I am not allowed to do any weight lifting because of how many surgeries I have had. I know there are low impact workouts and I have been navigating my way through them over the years but I just wish that I had the ability to really give this 110% without worrying that I am hurting myself or if I will have a setback of some kind.

I just want more than anything to feel good about myself. I want to be eating healthy and in the best shape I can be. I want to be confident in how I look. I want to look in the mirror and be happy at the person looking back at me.

I think because I live with an ostomy, have a ton of scars and stretch marks, I feel an enormous need to overcompensate. I know that is in my head but I honestly can’t help it. My mentality has definitely improved over the last year or so but I still have a ways to go.

And always remember, you are not alone if you aren’t even able to get out of bed, let alone think about this subject! Read this post here if you are one of those people.


Does anyone else feel this way? Can you relate at all to the feelings I have been having for a long time about this topic?

  • http://www.chronicallyinspired.com Mallory Sykes Carter

    I can relate to you on this. Though our physical obstacles are different, I find that it’s hard to know when I’m pushing too hard. I am either pushing too hard and making myself sick or making too many excuses to not exercise… I haven’t found a middle ground yet, but it’s something I’m working on.