Careful exercise can be useful for strengthening the organs affected by connective tissue disorders such as EDS, allowing one to compensate to some extent.
- 'High-impact' exercise can be difficult on the weak joints, skin, tendons, muscles, and bones (due to collagens role in the structural integrity of connective tissue)
- 'Low-impact' exercises put less stress on the connective tissue and thus are less likely to cause injury.
cycling offers low-impact cardiovascular exercise as well as a way to travel while remaining active without the impact strains associated with traveling on foot.
cycling can also be done indoors using an exercise bike or a trainer stand (a device used to convert an outdoor bike into an indoor exercise machine). Which can be helpful for staying active despite changes in the weather that would normally prevent biking.
Tai chi is a martial art built upon the philosophy that meeting an oncoming force with another force will always lead to both side being injured to some degree, instead by focusing on meeting a force softly and safely exhausting it or redirecting it - the user can be more likely to avoid injury themselves.
Outside of it's use as simply a general exercise or self-defense tool Tai chi is in particular well suited for people with connective tissue disorders. This is because it is focused on learning how to turn otherwise high-impact forces into low-impact ones. This effect can enable people with disorders like EDS to become better at avoiding injury and enable them to more safely participate in activities that would otherwise be dangerous.
Swimming is potentially the safest form of exercise for avoiding the types of damage people with connective tissue disorders are in particular at risk for.
This is because it relieves much of the pressure put on the connective tissues by gravity due to the increase in buoyancy that a fluid denser than air offers. In addition to this it has an added bonus of somewhat preventing some motions that would otherwise cause a high impact stains.
Yoga can be beneficial as a low-impact way to practice stability and core strength through the practice of holding poses, and also as a way to gradually learn how to safely achieve more flexible poses that are often a danger for people with connective tissue disorders.
Practitioners should be careful to not attempt the more flexible poses without the same extensive buildup that others would also need. Even though people with hypermobility would likely be capable of many of the more advanced positions in yoga with little practice they run the risk of injuring themselves.
Kegels are a useful exercise for those wanting to overcome incontinence issues, which can be a symptom of EDS. Since the pelvic floor muscles can be used to hold in urine making sure they are strong can allow people with incontinence due to hypermobile urethra or muscle weakness.
They can also be helpful as a preventative measure against pelvic floor prolapse which can also become an issue for those in the EDS spectrum.