Exercise may be the last thing you want to do if you experience persistent pain, but it can be one of the best things you can do to help manage your symptoms. Remember, exercise is medicine! Inactivity causes muscles and joints to weaken over time, but exercise can help those with persistent pain regain strength and increase energy.
1. Regular Exercise keeps your joints moving. It is important to keep joints moving, especially damaged joints, as it helps maintain mobility and flexibility. Flexibility is important for completing everyday activities with ease. Getting out of bed, lifting groceries and vacuuming the floor require a certain level of flexibility, which, if not attended to regularly, will deteriorate with age.
2. Staying active is good for your mental health. Many patients with persistent pain struggle with depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues because it is difficult to live a life as you once did. Staying active can help boost self-esteem and help you take control of your physical health and pain levels. Exercising with friends is even better! Find a friend or family member to exercise with for added motivation.
3. Regular exercise helps keep muscles strong. Having strong muscles helps to support your spine. This extra support helps prevent stress and strain injuries. Not only does it keep muscles strong, exercise improves the strength of your tendons and ligaments. Stronger muscles and tendons help hold the body in proper alignment and protect the bones and joints when under impact. Having strong muscles around your spine helps cushion daily movements and to support your weight.
4. Regular physical activity helps maintain a healthy weight. Extra weight can add to back pain, joint pain and muscle strain. In addition to muscle strain, spinal structures such as discs can be negatively impacted by obesity. You may experience sciatica and low back pain from a herniated disc or a pinched nerve if the discs have been damaged from compensating for the extra weight. By making healthy nutrition choices and staying active you can help to maintain a healthy weight.
Low-impact exercises are great for those who experience joint or muscle pain as these workouts are typically easy on the body. Most trainers define low-impact exercises as motions where one foot stays on the ground at all times. Low-impact exercises are a great way to get in a heart-pumping workout while reducing the risk of injury.
Some great examples of low-impact exercises are stretching, walking, swimming, water aerobics, yoga, pilates, biking, and weight lifting.
Before starting any exercise routine, you should always consult your provider first.