This short guide has been designed for people living with Cushing’s syndrome. It contains a number of simple and effective exercises that can be done at home without the need for any equipment. The exercises are designed to help with rehabilitation, symptom relief and general health and wellness and have been developed in collaboration with a physiotherapist, The Cushing’s Collaborative Community and HRA Pharma Rare Diseases.*
*HRA Pharma Rare Diseases are not liable for any injury suffered due to practicing the exercises in this guide. Consult your treating physician, your physiotherapist or a personal trainer familiar with Cushing’s syndrome if you are unsure about how to complete the exercises safely.
The importance of exercise for people living with Cushing’s syndrome
Exercise is important for people living with Cushing’s syndrome.1,2 It’s important to be able to exercise frequently and consistently (little and often), which is where this guide comes in. It helps enable you to complete a top-to-toe workout in your own home 2-3 times per week, or however many times you are able.
The workout is simple to follow and easy to remember. But challenging enough to have a real benefit when completed every day – just start at the top and finish at the toes!
The first time you try this exercise programme, you may not be able to finish all of the exercises. This is absolutely fine; however, it is very important to complete the warm up (marching) and cool down (child’s pose).
How do I know I’ve worked hard enough?
During your exercise session, you should be working hard enough to know that you’re exercising, but still be able to maintain a conversation throughout.
After each session, you should rate your effort level on a scale of 0 (being at rest) to 10 (being the most out of breath you can be). Try to keep your session to about level 6.
If you feel fatigued for more than an hour after your exercise, or really sore the next day, you have probably worked too hard, and should reduce your effort next time by lowering the number of reps (repetitions of each movement) or the number of sets (the number of rounds of each exercise) you do. Conversely, if you feel like the exercises were not challenging enough, aim to increase your reps by 5 in each exercise, rather than increasing the number of sets.
Most importantly though is to enjoy yourself, smile, and be proud that your body can do things you didn’t know it could do!
If you have other conditions as well as Cushing’s syndrome which may affect your ability to exercise (such as COPD or a cardiac condition), seek further advice from your doctor about how much exertion you should feel during exercise.
Expertise and guidance courtesy of a practising physiotherapist.
1. Arnaldi et al. J. Endocrinol. Invest. 35: 434-448, 2012
2. Mayo Clinic, Cushing's syndrome, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/cushing-syndrome/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20351314 (accessed April 2022).