Connective tissue proteins such as collagen give the body its intrinsic toughness. When they are differently formed the results are mainly felt in the “moving parts” – joints, muscles, tendons and ligaments which are laxer and more fragile than is the case for most people. The result of this is joint laxity with hypermobility and with that comes vulnerability to the effects of injury.
You may have heard someone described as “double jointed” – they can do all sorts of weird things with their bodies – this is hypermobility. But it’s not just an anatomical party trick, it causes real problems for sufferers who often find that their condition is ignored or mis-diagnosed as some form of arthritis.
Exercise is the last thing on the mind of the patient, who is most definitely in pain, and for whom the wrong type of exercise will exacerbate their condition. Just as commonly, sufferers are told to rest and take it easy – a sure way to make the situation worse.
I have been diagnosed with Hypermobility – Should I Exercise?
YES! It is extremely important to keep fit and prevent injury (remember you are more vulnerable). Regular exercise can reduce the symptoms because strong muscles help to stabilise joints.
What sort of exercise should I do?
Low impact exercise such as Pilates or Tai Chi as well as some Resistance work
- Always ensure you are using your joints within ideal ranges of motion avoiding hyperextension and hyperflexion
- Seek the advice of a fully qualified sports Physiotherapist, Pilates or Fitness Instructor who is familiar with hypermobility and can prescribe an appropriate program of exercise
Many of my participants are hypermobile and have gained great benefit from their practice of the Pilates Method with Pilates4life.
If you would like to find out more about Hypermobility Syndrome:
Read the Wikipedia entry on Hypermobility
Visit the HyperMobility Syndrome Association’s website
Read Isobel Knight’s excellent book on Hypermobility