Recommendations for Exercising with Chronic Pain

Chronic Pain

Chronic pain can seem to take over your life. The pain can affect your mood, your sleep, every day activities, and relationships with friends or loved ones. You become mentally and physically exhausted.

We all know that exercising is a healthy activity for everyone, but experiencing chronic pain makes the movement seem unreachable. Whether you feel your body already hurts too much to start or you cannot find the strength to get up and move your body, exercising with chronic pain is an important action that can ease your aches. These are 3 exercise activities that we recommend to get you back on your feet and feeling some added relief.

  1. If you are able to walk, we suggest starting slowly by taking yourself on a walk. When you walk, you are increasing your blood flow and oxygenating the blood. You do not need to run to get your muscles moving – a key area of chronic pain. Walking is not only a tame and laid back exercise, but heart and muscle healthy. You may find taking daily walks even easier if you have a pet. If you want human support, ask someone to join you. Having an extra person by your side will keep you moving, engaged, and most likely walking for a longer period of time than if you were by yourself. If you prefer to walk alone, listening to music simultaneously is helpful to keep you moving. You can choose whether you want something upbeat or calm and relaxing – Whichever will keep you moving around the block.
  2. Lifting Weights as strength training. Individuals that experience chronic pain around their joints will especially benefit from this exercise. Strengthening the muscles will better support your joints, causing decreased discomfort. Some of the easiest and gentlest strength training can also be done with your own body. Examples of this include push-ups, squats, walking lunges, and jumping jacks. Of course, if you would like to lift actual weights, you are welcome to explore that option. Additional strength training that uses resistance can also prove to be quite strengthening and will aid in easing pain.
  3. When you become more active by walking and strength training, practicing healthy breathing techniques and stretching is crucial to successful and painless exercising. Yoga is the most relaxing and gentle option to incorporate into your daily work out routines. Be aware that there are many different forms and poses in yoga. It would behoove you to search for your options and choose a regime that works best for you. Some poses in even the mellowest regimes may hurt your joints, your neck and shoulders, or even your spine. Be mindful of which poses and stretches provide the most relief and create your own routine.
  4. Lastly, swimming is a great tool to use that addresses all three of the previous exercises. Stretching and floating in the water, long and slow swim strokes, and even walking in water will strengthen your core and surrounding muscles to get your blood flowing. The buoyancy and resistance of water address every part of your body, making even the smallest and gentlest movements a rewarding and comforting work out.

Be sure to consult your physician before engaging in any exercise activities. Ideally we hope you can exercise every day, but please be mindful of the advice from your local physician or neurologist.

Author: Jordyn Whitman

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