3 Tips for Exercising with Autoimmune Disease

Exercising with Autoimmune Diseaes - 3 Tips

Today was Monday, and I was actually looking forward to my first workout of the week. But it turns out that today was a rest day. I didn’t know it would be, but my body did, and I’m learning to listen to it.

You see, I’m finally on a decent health streak. I’ve been exercising almost every day since August. I haven’t felt this good in a long time. But the reality is, no matter how in shape I become, I still have autoimmune diseases. No matter how good I feel, my body will still betray me at times.

So I am learning to listen to my body and respect it with rest.

This morning I was tempted to fight through it, the nausea and brain fog, but instead of working out I asked Jeff to help with the kids so I could rest. Asking for help is hard, isn’t it? I wanted so badly to be tough and sweat it out, but that would have set me back who knows how long. Rest was what I needed today.

When you are dealing with autoimmune disease or chronic pain, it is essential to listen to your body. Don’t give into “fitspiration.”

When you are exercising with autoimmune disease, pushing through the pain does not apply to you.

You can absolutely work out with autoimmune issues, you just need to be smart about it. Here are three tips:

Exercising with Autoimmune Diseaes - 3 Tips


  1. Begin with low impact exercise – If it has been a while since you have exercised, or if you are only beginning, start with low-impact. You need to see how your body reacts to exercise before putting any extra stress on it. A few ideas might be swimming, walking, yoga, MuTu programs, or PiYo (a blend of Pilates and Yoga that I am hooked on right now).
  2. Eat anti-inflammatory foods – Fill up on veggies, fruit, fish and healthy fats. Too much sugar, junk, and alcohol will put stress on your system that will interfere with your workout program. Healthy foods will give you the energy you need and help combat muscle soreness.
  3. REST when your body needs it – There is a difference between not feeling like working out and truly needing to rest. When in doubt, give yourself 5 minutes to get started. Usually if you can get 5 minutes into your workout, you can keep going. If you’re still feeling awful, give it a rest.


Are you exercising with autoimmune disease? How well do you listen to your body?


  • Jill November 3, 2015 at 2:57 pm

    I needed this post. One of the things I noticed before I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease was that I couldn’t workout like I used to. It was taking me too long to recover and the soreness and fatigue that came after wasn’t the normal. I am a runner who hasn’t run in almost a year. I have been walking and doing PiYo when I can. My PiYo calendar looks more like 1 day on 2 days off. I finally decided, I was going to start running again. This morning was going to be the day, but CD made a different decision for me. I just really want to run like I used to.

  • Cierra June 9, 2016 at 1:56 pm

    Ah! I’m not alone! Thanks so much for this post! Since I was diagnosed I just feel bleh! I never even thought that it’s okay not to push through it if you’re feeling junky. Thanks!!!

  • omar April 25, 2017 at 1:34 pm

    thanks for the post it motivate me and help me a lot