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Pilates, swimming and omega 3

Hi all, hope this finds you all as well as can be!

I had an appointment with my gp yesterday to review the tablets I am taking. She was saying to me how it could still be a long road to a diagnosis and as I am struggling to find pain relief from the medication she has suggested things I can do to help myself while I am waiting for a diagnosis. She says a healthy balanced diet is a good place to start (which I have anyway as I am on slimming world) and she suggested swimming and pilates as excercises to help in the long term wih the joint and muscle pain. Just wondering if people have tried either of these? Did you find they helped? How much is good to start with (don't want to over do it!)?

Also I was watching 'food hospital' on channel 4 the other night and there was a lady on there who suffers with rhuematoid arthritis and the dietician gave her an anti-inflammatory diet to follow. This included a lot of omega 3. Has anyone found a diet rich is omega 3 helps with your pain? I was thinking possibly buy some omega 3 capsules to see if they help? What do people think of this?

Thanks in advance for any replies xxx

21 Replies

I was just about to go and buy some Omega 3 and some nuts, so will be interested to see the answers!!

Pilates is good but do a really slow, easy beginners class - I used to do a tough one and ended up in bed the day after, so I'm having to start again from scratch. A lot of people recommend swimming (not for me), but again I'd suggest you take it really gently. Walking is always good and free!

Hope you get some answers soon.



Thanks for your reply.

I have looked into classes in my area and a lot have said you need to do an introductory lesson before you can join any of the classes so as to prevent you from injuring yourself or not getting any benefit from it if you do not do it correctly. I am not so keen on the swimming idea as I have a fear of swimming so am not very good at it, this means I would to go for lessons to get any benefit from it. I do walk a lot, as I don't have a car at the moment. It is 10 minutes each way to take my son to school and pick him up and then I walk to the shops etc. My rhuemie said brisk walking would be better but I suffer from shin splints if I do that so just stick to a slightly faster than normal walk!

Let me know how you get on with the omega 3! Which nuts are you trying? Xxx


I take one Omega 3 capsule 1000mgs a day, with my GP's and rheumie's consent.. I take it in the hope that it will help with general cognitive functions and maybe other benefits. Nothing much has been proved for sure about its benefits and probably wild claims are made for it as some sort of miracle cure- all by people selling it.There's no reason why I shouldn;t take it such as interaction with other meds or contraindications of any sort. I probably don't have enough dietary intake since I might not eat enough of the main dietary sources. We do cook with canola/rapeseed oil which is a good source. Also the fatty fish may be contaminated. I like to know how much I am getting anyway and its far more convenient than wondering if I have had enough from natural sources.

However, I do stop taking it and my two antimalarials and 75mgs aspirin,.if I am going to have any sort of surgery including tooth extractions to reduce the risk of excessive bleeding because they all slightly thin the blood. This is a good thing for heart health and heart disease is an extremely serious concern for people with lupus. If you are planning any surgery always tell the doctors what supplements you are taking as well as what medicines. Many supplements increase bleeding and some interfere with anesthetics.

I also like to know that what I am taking is pure and I am glad you asked because looking at the bottle I see that what I have been taking is made in China and just packed by the well known grocery store I've been getting it from. I had forgotten about the heavy netal risks from some fatty fish. I am not at all confident of Chinese products so I'll be going down to Holland and Barrett's to see if their fish oil has any guarantee of purity. They do good deals of two for one, or two with the second half price or one penny.

You might prefer a vegetable source of omega 3 oil supplement, such as flax seed oil. I don't know if it is available in capsules from vegetable sources.

Be cautious about what health food assistants tell you - don't be persuaded that a product with omega 6 too would be even better. Always do your homework consulting reliable medical sites and always ask your doctor.

'Natural' doesn't mean safe.

I have heard good things about Pilates and also T'ai Chi or however it's spelt.

Good Luck with getting diagnosed.



Thank you for your reply. I have read that the body absorbs omega 3 better from food than from supplements, however, I am also like you and do not eat a lot of the food containing omega 3. I have bought some 1000mg capsules today and have checked they are not from China so I will start those. They can't do any harm so worth a shot!

Thanks again. Take care xxx



I have started swimmng twice a week and do as many lengths as I feel my body lets me. It keeps my muscles strong (as they are showing weakness) and is a good all over exercise. Plus being in the water makes it easier. I also do some exercises whilst in the water, eg: bouncing up and down, resistant exercises for my arms. I cannot do any jumping on the spot at all outside of the pool. Sometimes I don't feel like going but once I have finished I feel better and as though I have achieved something. I haven't done pilates as that would be totally new to me. have just been referred for physiotherapy from the GP so if I pick up some tips/ideas I am happy to post them on here.


Thanks for your reply. The problem with swimming for me is that I would have to take lessons as I lack confidence and just panic so would more than likely drown, lol. I am glad it works for you. I have had physio before for back pain and it is good but you have to keep up the excercises for life and I am not good at motivating myself to do them everyday! Good luck with it though! :-) xxx


I read about all of this exercise with my mouth gaping!! I struggle to get up and get dressed without needing to rest....... Where am I going wrong?! I was only diagnosed a few months ago and haven't been on medication long. I have to rest for up to 5 hours a day just to be able to cope. Xx


Aww big hugs! :-( think we all vary in how we feel on a day to day basis. My gp said that at first it might be hard and painful but over the long term it should help so I'm going to give it a shot! Xxx


Hi Purple-lou, I know what you mean re resting. I have been on placquenil for over a year now and It is only now that I am able to go swimming again. I have started off very slowly and my left leg drags and has no strength in it. I was recently diagnosed with proximal and distal weakness (arms and legs shoulder and girdle) so it's the fear of things getting worse that has prompted me. During a flare up I cannot exercise at all, and don't go out. Are you on any meds? The fatigue is one of the horrible things about this illness:( xx


I'm on placquenil. I've only been on it for a couple of months. It seems to have had a subtle affect but nothing significant. Hopefully, the fatigue will get better. Xx


Hi, I hope so too. I would say the worst of my fatigue started to ease after 6 months but I still have to pace myself massively. We were away this weekend and went to a sculpture park. Previously I would have walked around the whole park no bother. Today we walked around the lake, then had a coffee because I am finally learning to pace myself. Once I sat for a coffee I knew it was right because the fatigue can just hit you and be quite crashing. It seems I am now just learning to 'roll' with it. I hope it gets easier for you xx


Actually I teach Pilates and and although I agree it's a great form of exercise, I also know that us lupies vary SO MUCH from one day to the next!!!

So some days I teach and feel great but other data I need to rest afterwards because I am so drained!!! Therefore I agree Pilates and swimming are great forms of exercise but you need to listen to your body and some days you'll end do much less than others but except that and enjoy the days you can work harder!!!and yea I've found an anti inflammatory diet does help!!! Best of luck x


Thanks for your reply! I am looking for a pilates class in my area so hopefully will start it soon! But I will certainly be listening to my body as to how much I do/how often etc. Thanks again xxx


On good the good days I swim when I can. Entirely at my own pace, so I don't overdo it and go slowly. I find it helps tremendously and makes me feel better, no strain on the joints as supported by water. Worst thing is psyching yourself up to go, as often you don't feel like it, but once I am there I find it very enjoyable. It's probably the only non-impact sport I can really enjoy, as the others affect my joints. But it's horses for courses and what suits one does not suit another. I would say to definitely give it a go.


Thanks for your reply. Yeh my gp said about it being a good excercise as the water supports you. Glad it is working for you :-) thanks again xxx


Hi there

I swim, cycle and do pilates. It has taken me a long time to build up my strength and stamina in order to do any of these exercises for a length of time. And if I'm tired I take things more gently and for less time. But, it is my belief that if you exercise, your muscles are stronger, and so it helps to counter the fatigue, as it takes less effort to do day-to-day activities. But I would stress, it is a very gradual process, and you have to listen to your body.

If you fancy taking up swimming, why not look into adult swimming lessons, or look into whether or not there is an adult masters swim session in your area. Masters swim sessions sound intimidating, but they normally are coached swim sessions, where adults of all abilities go along and learn to swim or to improve their stroke. More accomplished swimmers might just swim up and down the pool, but normally the coaches will send time teaching people how to swim or how to improve their stroke. You could look into it if you fancy - it can work out cheaper too.

Good luck with reaching diagnosis. When you are with your rheumatologist, make sure you let them know about all the positive things you are trying to do to help yourself. Sometimes I think it helps them to understand a little bit about 'you' and how you cope with pain/fatigue, and what you have already done to try to help yourself.

Take care


Thanks so much for your reply. My gp did stress to me about taking a gradual approach so as not to cause myself a lot more pain (and most likely putting myself off doing it again!). I am certainly going to look into adult swimming classes as I do feel swimming would help and also that I would be leading a good example to my son by being able to swim! I will also mention it to rhuemie, as I feel he thinks I just mope about feeling sorry for myself which is not true! I am all for helping myself in anyway I can and would love to be able to reduce the amount of tablets I take if I can. Thanks again for your reply. Take care xxx


I used to do Pilates a lot more regularly and I must admit, I was better when I was doing a session three times a week! I must commit more time to it. You could get a DVD maybe and just do the warm up and then five minutes or so, then the cool down, then work up to doing more. I would recommend going to a class a couple of times as well though to get the feedback but doing the DVD means you can just do a little on bad days and not feel you have wasted the money on a class.

Swimming is lovely but a lot more of a time commitment after all the getting changed and showered and dried and shaving your legs!

Build up gently - don't leap into both swimming and pilates simultanously!

Best of luck,

Jennie K


Thank you for your reply! I have got a yogalates (spelling?) dvd but you kust don't know if your doing the technique right so I feel a class would be more beneficial this way. But it certainly seems wise to have a dvd for the bad days!

As for swimming, I totally agree!! It is such a faff on and the way the weather has turned I certainly wouldn't be overly motivated to go swimming at the moment! lol. But I am definately going to build up gradually in whatever I do as this seems a very sensible way of doing it!

Take care xxx


I have found deep water aquaerobics excellent as your body is totally supported by the water and you are wearing a float to keep you bouyant. Some weeks i do 3/4 classes a week but othertimes none - depending on the SLE.I find if a have a cold or anything small then I am unable to exercise and have to rest until it passes - oh well, a good time to catch up on reading! Luckily (or unluckily financially) I am not working but am caring for my elderly parents and looking after a very lively 12-year old. Sometimes I want to run away - but make it only as far as the swimming pool whiich has saved me on many levels. Alot of older and people with disabilities do the deep water aquaerobics and find it very beneficial and good for pain relief.

Good luck to everyone fighting this lupus xx


Thanks for your reply. That sounds interesting, so I wouldn't need to be a confident swimmer to do it? Take care xxx


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