Lyme Strong | Strength Training Helps Lyme Disease
If you're like most people with Lyme disease, you're probably looking for ways to manage your symptoms and improve your quality of life. One way to do this is by strength training. Strength training can help improve your energy levels, mood, and overall well-being. It's also recommended as a way to bring Lyme out of hiding so the immune system can attack and kill it.
This post will outline how strength training benefits Lyme sufferers and give you some ideas on how to get started.
What is Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection caused by the bacterium "Borrelia burgdorferi," which is transmitted to humans through tick bites. Left untreated, Lyme disease can cause serious complications involving the heart and nervous system. It permeates every organism of the body making it difficult to diagnose and when chronic, difficult to treat.
How is Lyme Disease Treated?
If Lyme disease is detected early enough, it can be treated with antibiotics. Certain individuals respond to herbal treatments. Strength training, along with continued therapy, has been found to aid the body in fighting off infection if Lyme disease has already manifested.
Strong Muscles Strong Immune System
Dr. Joseph Burrascano a leading Lyme Disease expert states, "Despite antibiotic treatments, patients will NOT return to normal unless they exercise, so therefore an aggressive rehab program is absolutely necessary." Further, he recommends beginning with one day of exercise followed by three to five days of rest. As your stamina improves, fewer rest days will be needed between workouts.
Exercise helps the body fight Lyme disease by strengthening the immune system. When the muscles get strong the immune system ramps up as well. "Regular exercise-related movements can help mobilize lymph and enhance circulation. In addition, there is now evidence that a carefully structured exercise program may benefit T-cell function: this function will depress for 12 to 24+ hours after exercise"
Strength Training Program for Lyme Disease
When strength training to beat Lyme disease, you should aim for a "moderate-intensity workout," which is when muscles move at 50% of maximum strength. This type of strength training helps the body fight off infections and build muscle strength, which in turn strengthens the immune system.
The goal is to have plenty of rest with exercise days separated by less intense workouts. The trick comes in timing these intervals so that you take advantage when your body needs it most.
When beginning a new workout routine, it is best to start with an exercise day and then 3-5 rest days. As your stamina improves you will be able to work out less often without losing results from previous workouts but because T cell functions do fall for one day after aggressive exercises, but then rebound giving a greater immune beneift. However, a few rest days are needed after an intense workout.
How to Get Started with Strength Training
Resistance training (strength training) is beneficial for those with Lyme disease. Begin by focusing on modest bodyweight activities to improve joint, spinal stability, and core and hip strength, allowing activities like walking and climbing steps to be less exhausting while also enhancing balance. Gradually progress to using exercise tubing, cables, and free weights in more dynamic movements such as presses, rows, deadlifts, and steps ups. The intensity should be kept to an individualized light to moderate level so that each activity was enough to stimulate health gains, but not produce too much fatigue.
Beginner Body-Weight Exercises
Wall Sits | Lean back against the wall with your torso, with your feet shoulder-width apart. Press back and slide down the wall until your thighs are parallel with the ground. Your knees should be above your ankles and bent at right-angles. Keep your head, shoulders, and upper back against the wall and hold the position.
Push-Ups | Get down on all fours, placing your hands slightly wider than your shoulders. Straighten your arms and legs. Lower your body until your chest nearly touches the floor. Pause, then push yourself back up. Modifications Wall Push Ups, Modified PushUp on knees and Modified Push Up from a chair.
Planks | Get into a push-up position, with your elbows under your shoulders and your feet hip-width apart. Bend your elbows and rest your weight on your forearms and on your toes, keeping your body in a straight line. Hold for as long as possible.
Glute Bridges | Lie face up on the floor, with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Keep your arms at your side with your palms down. Lift your hips off the ground until your knees, hips, and shoulders form a straight line. Hold your bridged position for a couple of seconds before easing back down. Modifications include Marching Glute Bridge and Single Leg Glute Bridge.
Lyme Healing Lifestyle
Combining strength training with an appropriate diet can help both people who already have Lyme disease and those trying to prevent it from developing in the future.
In summary, a healthy immune system is one of the most important factors in how quickly and successfully someone with Lyme Disease feels better.
It has been shown that those who work out three times a week have an increase in their energy levels as well as a higher immune response to viruses and bacteria. On the whole, strength training has been shown to reduce fatigue for people who are fighting Lyme Disease and also improve their immune function in general. If you have Lyme disease, adding strength training to your healing plan is an important step in feeling better.
Authors Note: Ater years of workiing with a doctors, clearing up my diet and taking lots of medications from antibiotics to herbals, I was stlll chronically fatigued. Two months into strength training I realized I went from needing 10-12 hours of sleep to only needing 8 hours of sleep, plus I had so much energy. Since then I started researching the benefits of strength training for our bodies and they extend far beyond muscle tone!
Are you ready to start feeling better? Schedule a FREE CALL with me to assess whether strength training with me is a good fit for you! No obligation, plus I will share my 4 simple health tips to help you start reclaiming your health today!
Supervised Resistance Training for Patients with Lyme Disease
Ten Essential Facts About Lyme Disease
Advanced Topics in Lyme Disease