You get the diagnosis and then you get “the list”.  The list of options of what works, what doesn’t, and what might help you live pain-free or at least with a little relief. You hear the word exercise. I know my first thought with that was ya right! Try and exercise when you can barely stand for longer than a minute without feeling pain. After much thought on this “advice”, I figured I might as well give it a try. I was at the point where I would try anything at least once to try and relieve some pain.

Gym Time

I walk into my local gym for a little cardio and some arm and leg sculpting.  Every intention is to conquer the world today.  I jump onto the treadmill and decide I will push myself a little.  I was feeling good that day,  I could do it. To my, somewhat, surprise I did great.  I got off the treadmill and felt a little better. Knowing it may be short lived I headed over to the weights. I was a workout machine!

Superman Wasn’t Even This Brave

I finished my workout, went home and planned my classes for the next week. I was doing Yoga, pilates and core classes the rest of the week, while still fitting in straight cardio and some weights. Great plan! I was ready, I had energy I forgot existed! The next day came and I had a great Yoga class that was slow moving and meant for people with sore joints. It was extremely helpful with all the gentle stretches. The next few days and workouts came quickly and I was on fire. Then it was time for the pilates class. I know many of us have the SI joint pain and I am no exception. Little did I realize that the day I chose to go we were focusing on the hips, butt and lower back area. OUCH! I pushed through the class and well, let’s just say, I am quickly learning how often and how hard I can workout weekly!  I did indeed push myself, just maybe a little too hard.

The Aftermath of Ambitious Plans

Although I was a little sore that evening, I still had this amazing energy that I truly missed and was again ready to take on another class the following day. I was a workout rookie but I felt like I was turning a new leaf when it came to my AS. I found the miracle that was giving me pain relief. I closed my eyes and then my alarm sounded bright and early the following morning. I could barely lift my body out of bed. I was hurting BAD! I wasn’t sure if it was from just one class or from the combination of a straight 5 day workout. Which by the way I was told to take breaks in between days but I never listened before so why would I start? I was going to feel better fast!

My Workout Conclusion

Despite my first AS improving exercise experience ending in a bit of disappointment, I truly do believe it helped and hopefully will continue. I keep up on cardio and Yoga but have found that weights are a little harder for me than I had hoped. My hands can barely handle gripping the 3 pound weights for too long at a time.  I have learned that on my harder days that it is okay to skip the gym and just try to get in a few minutes of gentle stretching at home.  I also attempt pilates class still but have found if I need to step out early that it is okay to listen to my body when it cannot handle any more pressure. I’m no Olivia Newton John but I do try to make exercise a part of my daily routine. It seems to give me a little extra boost and as all AS patients know, every little bit of extra energy we can get is cherished.

Share With Me

AS patients:  Do you exercise regularly? If so, what works best for you? How are the after-effects of a weekly workout for you?

Support System: Are you an AS workout buddy? Do you notice a difference in your loved one when they got a workout in? Positive or Negative?

16 Comments

  • Vic says:

    Hello, I came to your site from Ankylosing.org.

    I to believe that an exercise routine helps those of us with AS. I mainly walk to keep fit and limber. Along with the daily stretching exercises of course. I have read with interest some of your other posts, and have put this site on my favorites list

  • Anjeanette says:

    It’s so important to protect the SI joint. It’s great that you talk about it. My boss, Leeann Carey, is a world-renowned yoga teacher & she says that you can gain SI joint stability through yoga. She has a free yoga video on this subject that you should check out: http://www.planetyoga.com/yoga-blogs/free-yoga-video-si-joint-stability/

  • Elin says:

    Hi Amanda,

    Thank you for sharing this on SAA’s fb page! It’s a great blog post and I hope it motivates others to follow your lead and start exercising regularly.
    Keep up the great work!! ( :

    Wishing you all the best,

    Elin
    SAA

    • admin says:

      Thanks Elin! SAA is amazing and thank you so much for all the work you put into it. It has helped me so much personally on my AS journey.

  • bonnie mccray says:

    When i exercise it makes me worse i cant walk and the pain is very bad my right foot will get numb and the pain will go up my spine .

    • admin says:

      Hi Bonnie – I am sorry to hear that you have pain from exercising. It has caught my eye though about your foot getting numb and then going up your spine. I have noticed that happens to me sometimes when I am at the gym. Wishing you a pain-free day!

  • Mary says:

    I LOVE to walk in the pool. I feel terrific afterwards (and during). Unfortunately the pool isn’t heated and now it is too cold to walk. I like my exercise ball. I have an old Richard Simmons tape and I sit on my exercise ball and move the best that I can to Dancing with the Oldies. I prefer walking, but I can’t walk far at all anymore.

  • Yoga worked the best for me, especially, bikram yoga.

    • Gabrielle Fry says:

      Bikram Yoga changed my life from chronic pain to a place even better than before I got arthritis / ankylosing spondylitis. Yay! I always saw myself in the future as being a fit person really into yoga…funnily enough my arthritis has forced my future plans into the now. Am excited about the future now…not scared as I was when I found out and was in soooo much pain. Hang in there everyone…it can be a good thing that happens to you if you let it / want it. Don’t look for a tablet or a physio to be your solution…you are your solution. I am off all tablets, painkillers, disease modification agents etc. It took me a while to accept my position and come out fighting though. Have a good day and only think about your next class…not the big mountain you have to climb. 🙂

  • My wife has chronic migraines and I have chronic back pain from injuries sustained when i was in my 20’s and in the army, I also suffer from rheumatoid arthritis and cant work anymore. I don’t like to take my pills because there terrible for my body and its a bad infuense on my grandson.
    My son told me to try these patches that he uses for his patients that don’t like there pills either, since he runs a pain management clinic I trust him on the subject. I started using the Pain Relief patches with the Sleep Aid patches at night and the Energy patches during the day. I just have to stick them on and forget about them, Its easier than taking my pills ever was.
    Anyway, I am Very Happy with the results and I wanted to share them with you all too because I thought you may like to try them out, they work for me everyday. There made by CieAura you should go bookmark the page so you don’t forget about them.
    http://www.MysticalTruth.CieAura.com

  • manjusha says:

    When my AS flairs up , I decide to go slow ..take anti-inflammatory tablets,hotbag and rest for 2-3 days .when I feel better I start very slowly ..just little bit of walk,core strenthening exercises and few stratches. If I exert my self my pain increases!when flair settles down after a month or so i get back to gym and yoga!every time I have to start from zero ! Last time I managed to stay pain free and off medicine for almost 6 months !went for dancing classes too! Even if it hurts ..exercise is d only way to feel better ..so give it a try and bounce back ..!all d best! Manjusha

  • becky says:

    thank you so much for all you do!!!!!!!

  • arthur hawkins says:

    I thought i’d share my excersize experiences. I have had AS since i was 15 and am now 24, was only diagnosed when i was 18 though and started anti-TNF injections then.
    I have slowly been working myself up with excersize, i started with excersize bike and some push ups when i was feeling an improvement at the age of about 20 – concentrating a lot on stretching and warming cooling down for twice the recommended time.
    Now I am able to jog for around 40 mins at a time and although my doctor tells me not to jog (because it is higher impact on the spine ) i feel much better after a jog and find excersize bikes boring.
    I am also doing medium reps weight training, but not any which puts pressure on my lower back.
    For me excersizing reduces the pain in the long term you just know yourself and don’t overdo it and i can’t stress how much the warm up and especially cool down affects the quality of the improvement in pain resistance you will get.
    This is all just from my personal experiences and i would not have even thought about excersizing before i started my anti-TNF treatment.
    I figure as i’m young now i wanna be in the best shape possible in case my condition worsens as sudenly as it came about.
    My reason is because when i was 15 and first showed symptoms and couldn’t excersize due to the pain my muscles were underdeveloped because of my age – this made my rehabilitation into being mildly fit very slow. Hope this helps anyone my age with AS – if anyone has any advice (warnings) please let me know.

  • Pankaj says:

    Hi,
    I am facing AS from past 1 year. First 3 months it was painful but when i started medication its relief. But i am putting on weight as i cannot exercise how i use to before. I am controlling my eating habits but its not helping at all. Can you please suggest some exercise which will reduce my weight without increasing pain. It was great reading your article. Looking forward to see a reply from you.

    Thanks.

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