Managing POTS Through Exercise
One of the biggest recommended treatments for postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (or POTS) is one that people dislike the most: exercise. Studies have shown that exercise makes a difference in managing symptoms of POTS. The more sedentary you are, the worse your flares can be.
The new year is here, and for most normal people that often means they begin thinking of a workout routine to fit into their schedule. It could be a commitment to losing weight or maybe to being a little healthier overall. For patients with POTS, this may not be something on your mind at all. After all, how do you exercise with POTS syndrome? You may also be wondering if exercise can make POTS worse. When you’re low on spoons, exercise can be seemingly impossible, but it doesn’t have to be. You can workout with POTS!
If you are able to find the strength to commit to an exercise routine, you may find that the symptoms of POTS will lessen overall. Floor exercises for POTS or seated exercises for POTS are best! Here’s our go to exercises for POTS patients that are quick and easy on your body while still getting you moving.
Best Exercises for POTS Patients
Lying Leg Raise.
Lay down on your back. Place your hands straight out with palms to the ground. Raise your legs perpendicular to your hips then slowly lower back to the ground. Repeat this exercise.
Side Leg Raises.
Lay on the ground on your side. Lift your top leg and hold the position for a count of 5. Alternative legs doing reps of 10.
Elbow to Knee Raise.
This can be done laying down or in a seated position. Raise your bent right knee to your bent left elbow. Then do the opposite and raise your bent left knee to your bent right elbow. Repeat this exercise.
Hip Scissor Kicks.
Lie on the floor and kick your legs into the air alternating raising legs. Do not rest the legs. Do this for one full minute.
Sit on a chair. Alternate lifting your legs and bending your spine opposite the lifted leg. Do this for a count of 30.
Something like the Stamina 55-1602 Inmotion Elliptical machine can be used while sitting down. It’s perfect for someone who is just starting out but wants equipment that can help. There are a lot of great options online. Do a search of "seated exercise equipment" or "desk exercise equipment"
POTS Exercise Program
We found a youtube channel called “Rehab My Patient” that is meant to be used by physical therapists to create exercise routines for patients. It is a treasure trove of exercise videos that can help people with POTS find something that will work for them. If you’re considering starting a low impact exercise program it is a great place to surf through instructional videos for something that will work for you.
Eventually you may find that you’re able to add in ankle weights or move on to forms of exercise that do not require sitting. Your strength will get better as you commit to a daily routine. You’ll find that it doesn’t take as much of your energy as it once did and that’s the ultimate goal for someone with POTS. Start small and build your way up. You’re a potsie warrior and you can do great things!
As with any exercise routine, making sure you are staying hydrated is very important. All movements can cause dehydration and people with POTS know all too well how important it is to stay extra hydrated with a medical grade electrolyte drink. Gotta stay salty, right? Something like NormaLyte is a perfect solution.