Learn more about our FREE COVID-19 Patient Support Program for chronic illness patients and their loved ones.

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted exercise routines for many people. Some have added virtual options or neighborhood walks to their routine, while others have lost access to their regular gym or the natural exercise of their daily commute due to remote work. A recent study presented at the 2021 American College of Rheumatology (ACR) Convergence revealed that more than half of people with rheumatic and musculoskeletal conditions did not meet their exercise goals during the pandemic.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends 150 minutes of physical activity per week for adults. We understand that exercise can be challenging for those with an unpredictable chronic illness, and that exercise is different for every body. It’s important to find what works for you.

In our latest poll, the Global Healthy Living Foundation’s COVID-19 Patient Support Program aimed to gather insight on our community’s exercise habits.

Most people with chronic illness exercise daily or weekly

Of the 3,303 respondents, when asked about how often they exercise:

  • 47% said always (multiple times a week to every day)
  • 21% said often (weekly)
  • 14% said sometimes (2-3 times a month)
  • 11% said rarely (once a month or less often)
  • 6% said never

Chronic pain and fatigue are two of the main barriers when it comes to exercise routine

It’s no surprise that our poll revealed chronic pain (57%) and fatigue (48%) as common barriers to exercise. These symptoms can make it feel nearly impossible to stay active. To help get motivated to move, here are 19 things you can tell yourself to help you get started.

Participants were able to select all that apply, and other barriers included:

  • Fear injury (21%)
  • Don’t want to (19%)
  • Not enough time (19%)
  • Don’t know safe exercises for their condition (13%)
  • None of the above (10%)
  • Cost (8%)
  • No access to gym or recreational facilities (7%)
  • No access to exercise equipment (5%)
  • Judgement from others (5%)
  • Don’t know how to exercise (2%)

The bottom line: Incorporating movement into your routine is essential for a healthy lifestyle, but it’s not always easy. Talk to your health care provider about how you can safely add movement into your daily life.

The Global Healthy Living Foundation is committed to providing ongoing education about COVID-19 vaccines for the chronic illness and immunocompromised community.

To stay informed about the latest COVID-19 vaccine news for people who are immunocompromised, take immunosuppressant medications, or have autoimmune conditions, follow all of our COVID-19 vaccine coverage here.

About the Patient Support Program Quick Poll

Members of our program have underlying health issues – such as inflammatory arthritis and other autoimmune conditions, heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, and more — that may increase their risk for COVID-19 complications. They are interested in understanding the best ways to stay safe during the pandemic and to be part of a community of people with similar concerns, questions, and fears.  

We regularly poll members, who live in the U.S. as well as around the globe, about a variety of topics, including how the pandemic is affecting their lifestyle, mental health, chronic disease management, medication adherence, and more.  

We use this information to inform the educational resources we provide and to inform other stakeholders — such as public health experts, policymakers, advocacy groups, health care professionals, and pharmaceutical companies — about chronic illness patients’ needs and concerns. You can participate in ongoing poll by joining the support program here. 

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