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7 Ways Exercise Can Naturally Heal Autoimmune Disease

Exercise to heal

Most people think of exercise as just a way to lose weight, keep off weight or bulk up. Exercise isn’t just for those trying to balance out those pounds. If you are trying to lose weight, exercise should not be the only thing on your list of things to change. In fact, diet and the way you think about food should be the first thing on your list. 

I’m a survivor of lupus, hashimotos, a massive goiter, adenoiditis, high cholesterol, two head trauma accidents, Addison’s disease, Bulemia Nervosa, cholelithiasis(gall stones), and cholecystectomy(Gall Bladder removal surgery). Your system goes haywire. 

There are several things that I did that worked and many that didn’t in my recovery. It’s not just as simple as taking a drug as a doctor recommended. The surgeries and medications only resolved symptoms, and greater long-term side effects and damaging consequences came through those actions. They truly did not stop the underlying causes of those symptoms. 

One of the greatest things I did for myself through the years was being consistent with exercise. It is proven that 150 minutes of exercise or more each week increases life expectancy by about 7 years (that’s about 20 min/day). 

I grew up on a farm where hard work and walking a mile to the school bus stop was a daily activity. Things are much more different in most families today where we spend more time texting and watching tv than healthier activities. 

Many practitioners will even tell you to stop exercising if you don’t need to loose weight. They don’t take into account that Eatting Disorders, Thyroid disease such as Graves or Hashimotos or other autoimmune diseases may be contributing to the underweight status. 

After the Pandemic of Covid 19, more people are working from home. This inactivity is harmful not only to your health but can encourage degeneration in the spine, which is where the main frame of your nervous system lives. 

There are more prominent benefits of exercise than weight management. Weight issues are a secondary symptom of a much more serious and underlying cause. There are benefits that far outweigh weight management but WILL impact your weight as a by product.

Symptoms are red flags that your body sends out to let you know something deeper is wrong. Medications only shut off the receptors and alter the function of your vital systems needed for the whole body to work together for proper balance. You cannot heal from any disease without addressing the underlying cause. 

Doctors are trained in medical school not to heal, but rather to diagnose local illness in the systems of the body and treat using symptom management medications in which they receive the bulk of their income from, think of it as a type of MLM(multi-level marketing). They are trained from the get go that chronic illness cannot be addressed naturally nor can it be permanently corrected or healed. 

5 Ways Inactivity can harm your health

  • reduced cognitive activity in the brain
  • increased mental/emotional disorders – depression and anxiety
  • muscular and neurological function – strength and mobility
  • reduced immune function – inability to fight viruses and diseases
  • cardiovascular impairment – worsened heart health

First, let’s address the definition of chronic illness: “a human health condition or disease that is persistent or otherwise long-lasting in its effects or a disease that comes with time”

This includes autoimmune diseases such as but not exclusive to: diabetes, congestive conditions, MD, MS, lupus, thyroid disease, crones, colitis, nerve disorders, brain disorders, asthma, organ disease and failure, EBV, cancer and many more. 

Even behavioral disorders can be helped with exercise. The human body was made to move. 

Let’s be clear, over exercising can be detrimental and bad in many cases. For example, exercising 6-7 days a week for an hour can actually cause great harm to the muscle tissues and many organs. All in moderation, as my Father used to say. 

As a 2017 report published by the American Physiology Society explains:

7 Ways Exercise can Benefit Chronic illness and Autoimmune Disease. 

1. Digestion

Your digestive tract health is the key to healing autoimmune disease. You absorb all you eat through your stomach lining, your large and small intestines. If your intestinal wall is compromised, your food may slip through tiny holes or tears in your lining. This is called permeability or leaky gut syndrome. The lining of your intestine’s job is to absorb broken down food from your stomach. With lifestyle and diet choices, stress, exposure to chemicals and toxins like mold and heavy metals from food and water sources, your intestines may become compromised. This leak into your bloodstream of raw food material will cause your body to stave an all-out attack on tissues and organs as well as trigger food allergies thinking those particles are the enemy. 

When this happens, colitis – IBD or IBS with chronic diarrhea or constipation may occur. Exercise helps the circulation of the blood, and supply vital nutrients and hormones to your digestive system. It can help soothe IBS and move material gently through your intestines with less pain or bleeding. Blood flow helps mucus, repair and allows proper movement in your bowls.  Inflammation will reduce and healing can resume for those with inflammatory bowel diseases. 

Herbs can assist in healing digestive diseases such as IBD: Ginko Biloba for oxygen and circulation, dandelion root, and fennel for healing, repair, and spasms. Marshmallow for stomach cramps and ulcers, Slippery Elm Inner Bark Powder for runny loose stools and coagulation, and Aloe to soothe and heal torn tissues. 

I myself almost lost my liver, had my gallbladder removed, and found a whole slew of secondary thyroid and digestive issues as a result of that surgery. I know what it is to suffer intestinally with pain that makes you go into a cold sweat. 

If you have symptoms, work with me to resolve the root causes and heal permanently, don’t just take medication for symptoms that may cause even more permanent damage later. 


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2. Energy and Circulation

In order for your body to create energy, it needs ATP (adenosine triphosphate) to be broken down into ADP (adenosine diphosphate) and remade by the use of blood glucose and oxygen. To make more oxygen you need more ADP for muscle contraction. To make more ATP you need more glucose, which requires more blood to circulate. Think of it as an alternator for your body, cycling the process.  To circulate the blood, you need to exercise, which requires more energy to move so you can make more energy.

This is the primary reason why it’s hard to motivate yourself to get started, especially when you are struggling with fatigue. But after that hard first day, it gets easier because your body already has a good supply of glucose, oxygen, and ATP from the day before. As your body stores up ATP, your workouts become less of an effort. 

3. Brain Health

The brain has power over chronic conditions. Improving brain health has a chain reaction on the entire body and systems therein.  

According to writers at Harvard Medical School, the brain triggers signals of inflammation, and inflammation is at the root of most diseases.

Exercising also can protect against memory loss and dementia by stimulating the growth of brain cells. It can increase with frequency and consistency that you exercise. 

Research also shows that consistency increases the integrity of white matter in the brain, which is linked to higher neural conduction and cognitive performance between the regions of the brain. Neurodegenerative diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis are positively impacted by exercise. 

4. Emotional and Mental Wellness

Exercise improves your mood and attention. As blood circulates to your brain, it stimulates your brain cells, which in turn makes your feel more alert and focused. One awesome side effect is the reduction and of headaches and protection from inflammation in the brain. 

By the end of your workout, you’re feeling pretty peppy. Thanks to your brain, it creates neurotransmitters like endorphins and serotonin, giving you that post-workout high.

5. Sleep

Exercise helps us fall asleep and sleep more soundly. Ever been told you need more melatonin to fall asleep? Here is how it works.

Melatonin shuts down our penal gland in the center of our brains. Our penal gland is light sensitive and is stimulated by blue light (devices and light from the sunshine). Stored magnesium is used to transform those neurotransmitters we mentioned a minute ago into melatonin, which shuts down our penal gland and helps us fall into stage 1 of sleep called REM. A chemical is released to signal our brain to shut down our other systems so that our bodies can slip into stage 2 sleep or deep sleep.

6. Skin Health

When exercise is a consistent routine in your daily life, chronic symptoms involving skin conditions such as acne, rashes, lupus skin discolorations, loss of pigment and bruising fade, and the elasticity and texture of your skin improve through collagen production. 

7. Hormone Balance

Once our brain signals our body systems to shut down, a hormone is released via our vegas nerve to relax the body muscles. This allows for glands to rest, repair, and regenerate to restore the natural balance of hormones. 

Women who exercise daily have fewer wrinkles, less acne, and brighter softer skin. Eating collagen-rich foods help but won’t be enough to reverse those signs of aging. Many who suffer from thyroid conditions such as hashimotos, hypothyroidism, and hyperthyroidism like Grave’s Disease, find they can successfully put their symptoms to rest and enter remission using exercise and weight training as a means to balance hormones.

Exercise will help stabilize blood sugar and encourage healthy insulin production. Muscles need glucose to work effectively. Working out regularly prevents the root cause of diabetes and can help manage symptoms. Too much exercise can be bad, however, as it can deplete stored glucose and cause a low. Always work with a health professional to monitor your glucose at rest and during exercise. 

Because cortisol is burned off during exercise, stress can be elevated adequately and help reduce hormone spikes for women in menopause as well as Hashimotos, Graves, and Hypothyroidism. Exercise can also prevent cortisol crashes in Addison’s disease sufferers and balance precursor hormones to thyroid disease sufferers. 

Since autoimmune over-response is often triggered by stress(cortisol) many suffers can find relief and even remission with an adequate and/or moderate exercise and diet program set up through their holistic health coach, fitness coach, or health care professional. 

About Me
Hi! I’m Susan

I am a Holistic Health and Wellness Coach with over 15 years of experience, research and have lived and resolved my own health issues. I have a passion to give people hope and healing through Holistic Medicine.

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