All you need to know about hypermobility and cardio

Hypermobility and cardio have a unique relationship. Various patients have come into my practice concerned about doing cardio and are afraid of falls and injuries.

I can understand them; some issues inherent to being hypermobile may cause fear in people. However, today I’ll explain how beneficial cardio can be for hypermobility and how you can safely integrate it into your routine.

Cardio is the exercise that gets your heart and lungs pumping and transfers oxygen to the muscles. It can help reduce fatigue and makes your energy capacity increase.

This exercise can help you lose weight, reduce the risk of several diseases, and improve your lung capacity, sleep, and overall mental health.

To better understand how you can do cardio safely, keep reading; I’ll give you the best tips to get you going as soon as possible. 

We’ll discuss: 

  • How to start with a cardio routine when you have hypermobility. 
  • How to find your pace. 
  • How to handle cardio-related pain. 
  • Best types of cardio for hypermobility. 
  • How to track your progress. 
  • Cardio and getting dizzy. 
  • When to start cardio when you have hypermobility. 
cardio and hypermobility

How to start

If you are starting with cardio, I recommend you take it slow. Usually, 5 minutes is enough to begin conditioning your body for a time and pace increase. If you feel like you can do more, for example, 15 minutes, then start with 10 minutes.

It’s best to start slow than to stop altogether due to a flare-up.

Finding the perfect pace for hypermobility and cardio

The same goes for the pace you should have. A good rule of thumb is being able to talk while you do your cardio routine. You need to slow down if you struggle with breathing and cannot hold a conversation.

You can also use your max heart rate to measure your pace. To calculate it, subtract your age number from 220. Then, stay only at 60% of your max rate, and you should be going at a safe pace.

warming up before cardio

How to handle cardio-related pain

It is normal to feel pain after doing a cardio routine. However, you must identify what is good and what is bad pain.

It should clear out after one day if it’s good pain. You should change your routine if you are still hurting after two days. Maybe you are doing the wrong exercise or going too fast and hard.

Best cardio for hypermobility

The type of cardio you do is possibly the quintessence of being able to do cardio safely as a Hypermobile. It would be best if you were mindful of those exercises that can be hard on your joints or make you fall and injure yourself.

If you want to do sports like rugby, soccer, basketball, barre class & running, I recommend you do them only socially as a one-time thing. For your regular exercise routine, stick to exercises such as cycling, walking, & elliptical.

Running & swimming

If you are a runner and have good form, you are more than welcome to run as your cardio routine. However, if you don’t have good form or core strength, you should make sure to achieve those two goals before sticking to a running program.

The same goes for swimming. If you are a swimmer, then, by all means, feel free to swim as much as you want. However, if you are starting, I recommend getting classes first.

When you are in the water, there is little to no resistance to the movement of your body. In the water, you can get in overextended positions and flare up, hence why good form and core strength are so important.

woman doing cardio

How to track your progress

There are some simple ways to track your progress – you can use a smartphone or a smartwatch that will tell you everything you need to know.

This step is essential because there are days when you will feel stuck and demotivated to do anything. In those days, having a track record of how far you’ve come is good.

If you prefer something simpler, feel free to keep a journal to track how much exercise you did, your time, and your pace.

Cardio and getting dizzy

If you get nauseous and dizzy while doing cardio, you should start by checking your heart rate and blood pressure to report to your doctor with such measurements. 

Some types of Hypermobility are associated with heart rate and blood pressure problems, so ensure everything is running correctly.

You probably need to slow down or do less if that’s under control. Try cutting it down by 50% and see how you feel.

woman running

When to start doing cardio

The answer to that question is simple: TODAY.

There will never be a perfect time to start with cardio. Make sure you find a spot for it in your life. Make sure you put it in a slot of time that is easy for you to maintain.

Final recommendations for hypermobility and cardio

  • Stick to low-impact activities.
  • Track your progress and pain level.
  • Be consistent.
  • Emphasize both core and extremity muscle tone.
  • Perform balance exercises.
  • Avoid distance running.
  • Avoid end ranges (at least initially).
  • Incorporate isometric exercises.

If you are looking for Hypermobility resources, feel free to check out my blog.

Are you looking to manage your Hypermobility symptoms?

Check out the Hypermobility Solution, the Hypermobile Neck Solution, and Hypermobility 101.

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About Kate

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Kate Skinner is a Doctor in Physical Therapy, co-founder of Great Divide Physical Therapy, and creator of Hypermobility Solution.

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1 thought on “All you need to know about hypermobility and cardio”

  1. Thanks, Kate! It is sad how every medical professional seems to have a different idea of what type of exercise is best for us, this makes it so hard to keep moving forward sometimes. I am grateful to hear from someone who sees things from both sides.

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