Movement and Autoimmune Disease (Guest Post by Mary Lapp)

I’m taking a break from blogging this summer as I focus on my move, but in the meantime I have some great guest posts on various topics lined up from the autoimmune community. This post is by Mary Lapp, a sufferer of multiple food allergies. You can find her blog at Simple and Merry


Many people with autoimmune conditions (or other health issues) don’t do well with intense exercise.  If we go on that 5 mile run, we are totally exhausted and useless for the rest of the day. There can be many reasons for this, (see The Paleo Approach, p. 258-260 to learn more) and we have to be careful to not slow our healing progress by pushing our bodies too hard. At the same time, we know how important it is to exercise for our health, from a cellular level to an emotional one.

Then there are some of us are fine with exercise, but time flies by and the exercise just doesn’t happen! Actually, intentional exercise, fitness centers, and daily workout plans are a relatively new phenomenon. Back in the old days, we had to move to survive, and exercise was not an issue. Have you ever washed laundry by hand? I have, and it is a lot of work! (And I promise I’m not suggesting that you get rid of your washing machine…)

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This was my garden before I moved! Taking care of it was exercise, for sure! 

I am no fitness expert, but am a very practical person and tend to take a functional approach to exercise -> movement! Here are some ways to incorporate movement into your daily life – while accomplishing great things! I Love to get more than one thing done at a time! I know that some people have too much pain or exhaustion to accomplish some of these ideas, but use the ones that work for you, while appreciating your body for what it Can do. As you heal, hopefully you can accomplish more!

Please know that I am not a fitness expert! Use your discretion and talk to your doctor before trying anything new. Remember, safety first! 

Things you could do every day:

Try to sit as little as possible.

o   Have a standing or treadmill desk. (I just have my computer elevated on a box.)

o   This is probably the most important suggestion here.

o   This actually helps my productivity Tremendously!! (I’m not as likely to get “stuck” on facebook.)

Clean something every day! Full body cleaning is great exercise!

o   Any kind of an extra project that includes moving, stretching, thinking, etc…

o   Clean the grill, clean the bathroom, clean the garage, the car, the fridge – its efficient exercise!

  • But do be wise and not overdo!

o   At work all day? You will become very popular if you clean things at work!

o   Don’t think of it as cleaning drudgery, think of it as part of your workout routine that is making your life more orderly. I certainly feel that my healing improves in a clean and orderly environment.

Do something outside, preferably barefoot (weather appropriate) in the grass.

o   Garden/Weed/Water

o   Mow the yard (not barefoot!) Trim bushes.

o   Hang Laundry, Fold Laundry, Put Laundry Away!

Play with kids!

o   If you don’t have any – I’m sure you can find some to borrow!

Run errands on foot or bike

o   And if you need to drive, park as far from the door as possible so you can walk.

Go for a walk or hike, and multi-task

o   Listen to a podcast at the same time

o   Run an errand if you can.

o   Find a walking partner so you can have non-food social time with friends.

o   Use the time for emotional processing.

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This is me! Emotionally processing in utter beauty!

 As you heal, there is nothing wrong with some intentional exercise! Please don’t think that I am discouraging this.

Jump on a Trampoline – even just for a few minutes!

o   This is great for circulation, joints, and getting blood to your brain!

o   If you don’t have a trampoline, I highly recommend one! Mini tramplines (rebounders) are fairly reasonable.

Yoga – or any stretching, breathing, healing exercise

o   This can be wonderful even at early stages of healing.

o   Be sure to choose the appropriate level. It can range from stretching to very intense exercise.


o   This is wonderful full body exercise that easy on joints!

022 copy This is my sister Leah, who lost 25 pounds while on anti-psychotic medication (no small feat!!) – by merely eating AIP whole foods, moving, and jumping on the trampoline.


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Mary Lapp is a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner and ex Pastry Chef who lives in Lancaster, PA with her husband and her sister.  She follows the Paleo Approach Diet because of her multiple food allergies, and is passionate about the healing power of whole and simple food.  She blogs her (mostly AIP) recipes at  She has also started to include blog posts about brain health, with her sister joining her to share in the experience of healing the brain. Feel free to visit her on facebook at


About Mickey Trescott

Mickey Trescott is a co-founder here at Autoimmune Wellness and a co-teacher of AIP Certified Coach. After recovering from her own struggle with both Celiac and Hashimoto’s disease, adrenal fatigue, and multiple vitamin deficiencies, Mickey started to write about her experience to share with others and help them realize they are not alone in their struggles. She has a Master's degree in Human Nutrition and Functional Nutrition, and is the author of three best-selling books--The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook, The Autoimmune Wellness Handbook, and The Nutrient-Dense Kitchen. You can watch her AIP cooking demos by following her on Instagram.


  • heidi says

    These are some great ideas! Sometimes when I’m feeling yucky, it’s easy to just rest or sit around…but I’ve noticed that getting outside and taking short walks can be very invigorating! Exercise is healing in so many ways.
    Loved learning about your sister, too, and reading her own post on your blog!

  • Kathy says

    I do want to try to do more gardening when spring comes around as that type of movement outside in the sun appeals to me. What about those whose work involves serious computer work most of the day? I don’t think I could stand up the whole day. Maybe I could get up more often and take a walk outside. I spent hours in front of the computer yesterday and it didn’t do well for my back. Will definitely try to go outside more often.

  • Susan Vennerholm says

    Hi Mary, thanks for the guest post! I love your suggestions. I heard a perspective once about “Why French women don’t work out, yet stay so fit,” – and it was all about what you say here; making everyday living a physical experience. Since a “workout” can be so depleting for those of us healing from autoimmunity, spreading out the activity out seems like a wise idea. I have Hashi’s and totally get how especially during recovery, 20 minutes of yoga can result in a 2-hour nap!
    I love your blog, and wanted to tell you that your AIP plantain pizza crust changed my AIP world – it was the first bready thing I had after a year of strict AIP, and it’s still a regular in my kitchen.

  • […] For Me… I’m On The Autoimmune Protocol (by Mikaela Morgan of Slightly Lost Girl) ♥ Movement and Autoimmune Disease (by Mary Blount Lapp of Simple and Merry) ♥ Autoimmunity and Reproductive Health (by Alaena […]

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