The Ministry of Lisa Copen

Lisa Copen, Founder of Rest Ministries which serves the chronically ill, shares about mothering, illness, ministry and more.

A Missed Opportunity to Serve the Chronically Ill with Exercise Options

stretchWe just got home from my son’s karate graduation and there was a table display and representative from the new womens local health club.  It opened maybe 6 months ago and they completely rebuilt the building (meaning, they have invested a lot of money, especially for these times.) Last week they put up a banner that said “Reduced rates: $49 a month.” I’m sure they owners are hurting financially.

I had actually looked up their web site about 3 months ago to see if they had any kind of classes like Tai Chi. I keep hearing about how this can be a good strength building form of exercise and it’s something anyone can do –even people in who are confined to a wheelchair. My rheumatologist has recommended it and I am desperate for some form of exercise. It’s this or the pool and let’s just say I am not buying a swimming suit right now.

I haven’t done my research on it yet–spiritually–so if anyone has some experience I’d love your comments below.

But anyway, I asked her this morning if they had anything like this that someone with very limited mobility could participate in.

No… they have a form of Tai Chi mixed with yoga, mixed with Pilates and if I couldn’t get down on the floor (which I cannot) then I wouldn’t be able to participate in 90% of the class.

“What a missed opportunity for them!” I told my husband later at breakfast. “If they had a stretching type of class for women with chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, etc. they could advertise that as a specialty. Women would come from 15 or 20 miles away. If they had an instructor with credentials, they could send out flyers to all the rheumatologists, the Arthritis Foundation,  and likely get a lot of referrals.”

I think I will drop by their office later with some Invisible Illness Week brochures and give them my two-cents. I know it may be worth about two-cents, but it financial times like this it’s important to think beyond the box of how we do business, and for those of us with illness, we should remind them just how many people out here really do have chronic conditions.

The woman I spoke with tried to grasp what I was saying and she kindly gave me a 2-week freebie pass and said, “Well, when you are feeling better than come try us out.” I smiled and said, “I haven’t been able to sit down on the floor for over ten years, so I probably won’t be able to participate any time soon.”

But we can do more than just say, “No, thanks,” and turn our back and grumble about how people don’t get it right? We can show them our challenges, our numbers (how many of us there are!) and how by recognizing this fact they may even be able to corner the market on our business before anyone else!

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  Debbie wrote @

I followed your link on Twitter and must say I think you’re absolutely right.

I am 19, live with chronic illness that runs in my family. I have younger sisters who also live with the same medical condition I do. No matter where we stand with chronic illness, it’s so important to educate others. Not for us but for those who will follow in our footsteps. There’s my 2cents worth right there. 🙂


  Lori Loveday wrote @

It just so happens that I’ve had a beginner’s Tai Chi for Health VHS in my cabinet for several years. I bought it at a garage sale. When my Behcet’s/Cushing’s/Fibro/……started getting bad again, I forgot about it. I started a week ago, in my living room, just doing what I can. I pause, rewind, practice, play, pause, rewind, practice as much as I am able. If I can’t lift or move like the instructor, that’s ok. I’m not gonna beat my self up. I’m doing better than sitting on the couch, right? I’ve become addicted to it in 1 week. It’s soothing to my body and mind, yet invigorating to both too. I get to focus on my body and mind. Just get a DVD/VHS(Garage Sale) 🙂 and try what you can. Even my 9 yr. old daughter does it with me. We have fun. She says the music is nice.

  Lori Loveday wrote @

UPDATE: I missed 2 days of Tai Chi. Lazziness, really. I don’t want to do that again. The 3rd night I woke up at 4 am with terrible right hip pain. I truly recommend that if you can’t find a gym or business, do it at home. It is extremely beneficial.

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