can anyone recomend any exercise that is ok with scleroderma?

i have raynauds and scleroderma and am also diabetic. exercise helps the latter greatly. lost over 5 stone thought i would join gym and keep moving, what a disaster!! after i have exercised i cant move for 3 days and after my last visit did something to my hip and couldnt walk, was in so much pain. it still doesnt feel right a week later! am i just really unfit or is it scleroderma making its presence felt?

5 Replies

  • Hi, I would wholeheartedly recommend yoga. I have Scleroderma/MCTD and Erythromelalgia and have been doing yoga since I became ill. It keeps me flexible and keeps me sane. All the best Ax

  • Hi,

    This is an interesting question!

    Most people who go to the gym for the first time ache a lot for the next few days and maybe longer. In everyone, this is the body's natural reaction to being challenged to work its muscles, and everything else, in ways it is not yet accustomed to. If people who regularly go the gym suddenly do much longer or harder workout than the one their body is used to doing, and they challenge their body to do more than it is used it, they will ache for days afterwards. So don't be put off by this! You can reduce or eliminate the amount of aching you feel by following a progressive programme of exercise that starts off gradually to let your body get stronger before increasing a bit more, letting your body get stronger at that, and progressing a bit more again. I think most gyms tend to offer a free service where they will help you plan a suitable programme for your current level. So for starters I would do that.

    I don't know in what ways scleroderma affects you and I'm not a doctor, just someone with connective tissue disease who likes exercise. I think that the extent to which scleroderma affects your ability to exercise, or not, depends on the degree it affects you at the moment and in what ways. I don't think that having scleroderma necessarily means you can't exercise at the gym. It might very well mean your range of exercise might be limited, if you have for example tight skin in certain places, or stiffness in certain joints, or other things. And if you have heart/lung problems, you would need professional advice on suitable exercise. And it might mean you take longer to recover than the average person, especially if you are prone to fatigue. Although regular exercise in moderation should help with fatigue in the long term, I personally believe.

    I do know people with scleroderma who go the gym regularly but I also know other people who are too restricted by their condition and would never be able to.

    I do pilates, not the same as yoga but there is some overlap, and I enjoy it and find it very relaxing and it has helped make me stronger and more flexible and has helped with back pain - you need to persevere with it and do it regularly. I have been going once a week for almost a year and recommend it but you need to find a beginner class to start with.

    I think that in some areas, it's possible to get some exercise guidance from an NHS health trainer - maybe you could ask at your surgery how to access that - I think they offer personalised advice.

    There is also some good general advice on fitness for everyone on the NHS website here:

    and here:

    I've got a problem with my ankle, a problem in the Achille's tendon, an injury I got from running. I go to see a physiotherapist who has helped me build a programme gradually to slowly re-build the strength in that area. Anyway, it is getting better but a bit slowly, partly because that tendon has a poor blood supply in everybody, but to be fair, it is probably a bit worse in me. Also because it's all connective tissue, and I have connective tissue disease, that's probably not helping it heal any quicker! But anyway my point is that it is getting better, I just have to progress it more slowly and bear with it - and what I mean to say is you might be able to find a range of exercises to do at the gym suited to you and your body that helps you build fitness and control your diabetes, that isn't limited too much by any problems you might have from scleroderma. So I reckon it's worth trying to get some professional advice to help you work out a programmed tailored to you and your condition.

    And also to give yoga or pilates a try as well if you can find a beginner class to suit you. I think with yoga and pilates, it's worth asking around for a recommendation to a good group/teacher to join because I think they vary a bit, like everything in life.

    I hope that helps!

  • thankyou for your reply. i was expecting to ache after going to the gym and i do have problems with fatigue, but i wasnt expecting the problem with my joints. pilates sounds like good idea i may try that thanks again J x

  • Hi! I hope pilates helps! Sorry, I didn't mean to state the obvious about aching after the gym - I kind of got carried away as exercise and stuff is one of my favourite topics ;) There still might be something they can do to help you plan some exercises that don't hurt your joints. Hope you find something what works for you and that you can enjoy as well ;-)

  • I exceice all the time swimming walking phyiso climbing about housework

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