September 14, 2022 |  written by IVX Health

5 Best Activities for Chronic Illness Patients and their Families

News of a chronic illness diagnosis can be discouraging to patients and their families as routines and family dynamics adapt to accommodate the new normal. However, accessing the right resources can help alleviate this challenge for families, caregivers, and patients. Most importantly, finding the right activities to indulge in will boost the family’s morale and help patients cope with flare-ups.

Little girl and her teacher practicing yoga
Little girl and her teacher practicing yoga

Let’s discuss the five best activities recommended for chronic illness patients, and the benefits to the patients and their families.

What Are Chronic Illnesses and How Do They Affect Families?

Chronic illness refers to a wide range of health issues lasting more than six months and requiring continuous medical attention. While these illnesses are ongoing and currently incurable, there are many biologic therapies that can help to keep symptoms at bay.

Although chronic diseases such as Crohn’s disease and multiple sclerosis can cause change to families traditional day-to-day activities, a fun distraction through planned therapy and joint activities can give the patient and their families some welcome entertainment.

1. Gardening

Gardening can be a fun way for families to participate in a fruitful joint venture right in their own backyard.  It can simply be planting flowers for landscaping or creating an edible garden to add to your weekly meals. This activity also exposes families to fresh air and sunlight for Vitamin D.

According to Preventive Medicine Reports, gardening can deliver physical and mental health benefits, including reducing stress, anxiety, and depression. Moreover, the American Horticultural Association states that gardening as a form of therapy helps improve cognitive function and strengthen muscles.

2. Bicycling

A chronic or terminal illness can be life-changing for most people and their families, but some have found a way to utilize cycling to transform their lives. This activity has psychological and physiological benefits for anyone coping with a chronic disease.

Cycling engenders mental health benefits by providing an escape from the symptoms of chronic illnesses. Being able to participate in a sport such as cycling is a great way to avoid inactivity, which is the number one enemy of a healthy lifestyle for people with chronic conditions such as multiple sclerosis.

Setting and conquering daily cycling challenges can give patients a surge of confidence. Riding bikes can change your life for the better, especially with regard to the social and fitness upsides.

Bicycling can be done as a daily exercise routine for families or as a leisure activity. It is a low-impact and flexible activity that benefits the person living with chronic conditions and their families.

3. Swimming

Swimming can be a beneficial recreational activity, especially if you have a chronic condition like atherosclerotic cardiovascular diseaseasthmalupus, or rheumatoid arthritis. An afternoon swimming session can be refreshing, but along with the relaxation, you’ll enjoy a host of benefits, including :

  • Muscular toning and strengthening of the entire body
  • Flexing and loosening of the joints and ligaments
  • Strengthening heart muscles
  • Calorie burning
  • Improved mental health by releasing endorphins — the feel-good hormones

The best part is that anyone can enjoy swimming, whether young or old. Besides, if swimming doesn’t bode well with everyone, other water-based activities can still have the intended positive impact. You can try; walking in water, treading water, or using a kick-board to do leg lifts.

4. Yoga

Yoga offers a range of benefits to chronic disease patients (particularly those living with MS), including physical and mental endurance. This exercise dates back 5,000 years and traces its origin to India as one of the oldest mind-body health systems in history. It helps you to control breathing, practice simple meditation, and maintain good posture. It is generally accepted as a health and relaxation practice.

Even better, yoga promotes joint health, low anxiety, increased lung capacity, improved blood circulation, and increased bone density. Yoga can be practiced by entire families both indoors and outdoors. You can pack a few yoga mats and head to the park for an evening yoga session as a family. After all, families that meditate together bond well and live a healthy lifestyle.

5. Walking

Families are encouraged to participate in gentle activities such as walking to help their loved ones maintain a certain level of activeness. Walking is one of the highly rated low-energy activities with maximum benefits. Besides, it does not require special skills and is free — you don’t need a gym membership to participate. It helps to reduce anxiety, mental fatigue, and weight gain. Simply put, walking is a great way to promote disease prevention and management.

Families can enjoy an evening stroll, a walk in the park or even make a habit of walking at the nearest mall.

Stay Active as You Embrace Your New Normal

When a loved one is diagnosed with a chronic condition, things can be impacted – but quality time with your loved ones isn’t one of those. Health professionals encourage patients with chronic illnesses to embrace gentle activities. Fortunately, activities such as gardening, cycling, swimming, yoga, and walking can help chronic disease patients alleviate a wide range of symptoms of chronic conditions.

Treatment at IVX Health

If biologics like Remicade, Actemra or Orencia  are a part of your chronic illness treatment plan, then consider choosing IVX Health for your ongoing care needs. IVX Health makes it possible to receive your therapy in a comfortable, convenient, and private environment.

With a private suite for every patient, you can watch your favorite Netflix show or movie on the big screen TV in each room, use a laptop or other mobile device to surf the web, or simply hang out with family and friends. We always have chairs for guests, and each center has a family room that is spacious and private if you need to bring your kids to your treatment. We also offer flexible appointment scheduling – including evenings and Saturdays – at any of our convenient locations.

At IVX Health, we truly are invested in helping you live your best life. If you’re ready to experience a new kind of infusion clinic, click here to learn how to move your infusion or injection therapy to IVX Health.