Prednisone is a steroid that is used to improve your immune system’s response to various diseases and to reduce symptoms including swelling and allergic-type reactions. Prednisone is most commonly used to treat conditions such as arthritis, blood disorders, cancers, breathing problems, eye problems, immune system diseases, and diseases of the skin.
Prednisone Side Effects
One of the most common side effects from taking prednisone is weight gain. Prednisone will increase the appetite, which usually results in weight gain. Most patients experience a different type of weight gain from prednisone than from other causes, because prednisone redistributes body fat to undesirable places on your body including your face, the back of your neck, and your abdomen. Exercise and dietary changes can help minimize weight gain from prednisone. If your doctor prescribes prednisone for you, be sure to ask him or her about dietary and exercise recommendations.
While most people do not have serious side effects from prednisone, other potential side effects from prednisone are:
- up upset stomach
You should also seek medical advice for any of these side effects.
More serious side effects that should be treated immediately include black stools, bone fracture, vomiting, easy bruising, bleeding, heartburn, increased thirst and urination, irregular heartbeat, menstrual period changes, mood changes, muscle weakness, seizures, infection, slow-healing wounds, skin rash, swelling of the feet or ankles, breathing difficulties, unusual hair growth, unusual skin growths, and vision changes.
Prednisone and Exercise Precautions
Make sure to talk with your health care provider about exercise recommendations before exercising while you are taking prednisone, or if you have taken it within the previous twelve months.
Exercise can help to minimize the common weight gain that is a side effect of prednisone for most people. Because Prednisone can cause dizziness, use extra caution not to lose your balance while you are exercising. Prednisone can also cause muscle weakness and atrophy. Strengthening exercises such as Pilates can help increase muscle strength.
Most health care providers will recommend a low impact daily exercise program for Prednisone patients to help burn extra calories, increase your energy levels, decrease symptoms of stress, improve your sense of well-being, improve your breathing, and help prevent muscle and bone loss.
Your regular, low impact exercise program should include both aerobic exercises, which burn calories and improve cardiovascular fitness, and moderate strength training exercises to strengthen your muscles and decrease bone loss.
It is best to start with simple exercises done in moderation. Begin every workout session with stretching and breathing exercises. Then try low impact aerobic exercises such as walking, swimming, dancing, riding a stationary bike, rowing machine, or elliptical trainer. Start slowly and carefully, and increase the intensity of your workouts depending how you feel. If at any time during your workout you start to feel dizzy, take a break until you feel better.
After your aerobic exercises, try some strengthening exercises such as Pilates or simple push ups and leg lifts. Start with just a few repetitions, and try to increase them every few days as your strength increases. End your session with more stretching, breathing, and relaxation exercises.
Even the simplest exercise routines, when done regularly, will help you maintain a healthy body weight, and feel refreshed and energized.