We’ve all been there. After a long day, the idea of hitting the gym seems more unlikely than getting through an episode of This Is Us without crying a bucketful of tears. But for women with endometriosis, regular exercise, which can also be a healthy coping mechanism for stress, is more beneficial than not moving, according to Kery Knutson, a certified Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, licensed Wellcoach and registered yoga teacher based in Boynton Beach, Fla.
“With endometriosis, all roads in disease lead back to food first,” advises Knutson. “Of course, endometriosis has many levels of severity, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution, but eating an anti-inflammatory diet, getting regular exercise and considering acupuncture would certainly be important in coping with this health challenge.”
According to Delray Beach, Fla.-based chiropractor Dr. Brian Mitteldorf, D.C., who has treated several patients with endometriosis, any mobilization to the lower lumbar spine is key, especially for those with endometriosis. "Exercise and mobility are so important," Mitteldorf says. "If you don't use it, you lose it. Keeping hormone levels balanced is also really important. Exercise increases a patient's endorphin release and slows pain."
Boca Raton, Fla.-based certified personal trainer Eileen Averkiou has also found exercise to be highly beneficial to her clients' mental health.
“With endometriosis, you may not feel well enough every day to do a full workout, but the key is just to get yourself moving," Averkiou says. "Start by walking 15 minutes a day, a couple of times a week. You will notice a positive change in your overall well being. Walking boosts endorphins and reduces stress hormones. It also reduces inflammation in the body.”
For added motivation to get moving, Averkiou suggests putting together a playlist of favorite songs and putting consistency first. “There’s no point in pushing your body hard for three weeks straight and then not moving at all because you get burned out,” Averkiou adds. “You have to find a way to make your workouts enjoyable and come up with a schedule to consistently do it. You need a program you can sustain. If a gym setting isn’t your thing, get outside and get some fresh air while you get your body moving.”
Yoga can also be beneficial to women with endometriosis, according to Mitteldorf. "Yoga is the greatest form of low-impact stretching," Mitteldorf says. "Walking in the pool is another great way to increase mobility. And swimming relaxes all of the muscles."
So even when binge-watching Netflix and becoming one with your couch seems like the only options for the day, muster up your inner strength to get moving in some capacity. Your body will thank you for it later.