Chronic Pain and Exercise: A Few Tips to Improve Your Quality of Life
If you suffer from chronic pain due to a health condition, it can be tempting to skip exercise altogether. However, while the idea of exercise may not entice you, it’s important to stay active in order to improve your health and quality of life. Physical activity can sometimes even help to reduce chronic pain. Here are our tips.
Do Plenty of Walking
Walking is a very simple but very effective form of aerobic exercise. It’s low-impact so it’s easy on the body – particularly the joints – but it has lots of great health benefits. Regular brisk walking helps build stamina, boost energy, and can reduce stiffness and pain. Those suffering from chronic pain may find it helpful to walk in short bursts rather than long stretches. Try starting with three 10-minute walks a day.
Try Water Exercises
Swimming is arguably the best physical activity for people in pain because the water supports most of your body weight. This means it puts very little strain on your body and joints, allowing you to get a full-body workout without increasing your pain. Even if you don’t know how to swim, a swimming pool can still aid your exercise routine. You can join a water aerobics class – the water’s buoyancy will help you do movements which would otherwise be painful.
Get Into Yoga
Some types of yoga are particularly well-suited to people with chronic pain. Hatha yoga, for example, involves relatively gentle movements and postures, as well as breathing and meditation techniques. The combination of stretches and breathing exercise can really help you manage your pain. Just make sure you don’t push your body to do motions that aren’t comfortably within its abilities. It’s a good idea to ask your physical therapist or doctor to recommend a yoga instructor who will understand your needs.
Doing a few stretches daily will really help to increase your flexibility and loosen tight, stiff muscles. It will be easier on your muscles to stretch after exercise than before – stretching cold muscles can sometimes be more painful. You’ll be surprised how much these simple movements can make everyday tasks – such as looking over your shoulder or reaching for a high shelf – a little easier.
Living with chronic pain can be difficult but it certainly doesn’t have to mean ruling out physical activity. In many cases, the less you move, the more pain and fatigue you’ll feel. Exercise helps to manage your condition and will boost your mood and energy levels, significantly improving your quality of life. The condition which is causing your pain may affect what type of exercise is safe for you to engage in, so speak to your doctor or physical therapist about what activities are best suited to you and will benefit you the most.
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