Living with chronic pain is a challenging disorder and something that can completely overtake your life. It’s not only unpleasant experiencing it, but it can have knock-on effects on your sleep and the rest of your health. Eventually, it can leave you bedridden.
Doctors, however, will often recommend that people living with the condition begin an exercise program. The idea is to keep the rest of the body healthy despite the pain and help to rehabilitate injured areas.
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The problem is that if you have chronic pain, taking regular exercise is often the last thing you want to do. You’re so tired all the time you don’t feel like you have the energy to change your routine and hit the gym.
It turns out, though, that there are a large number of people living with chronic pain who reduced the severity of their condition through a range of physical activity strategies. Here’s what they do.
Jumping into an exercise program at full speed is never a good idea – even for people who have no underlying medical conditions. It’s an even worse idea for those living with chronic pain. Physical activity can make it worse, leading to increased discomfort the same day or the next.
The trick is to start slowly under the supervision of a doctor or following chiropractic advice. Don’t start running marathons in the first week. Take it slow and do low-impact exercises – perhaps for just thirty minutes at a time.
Once you’re ready to increase the amount of exercise that you do, then start ramping it up. It’ll usually take a few months to get to the point where you’re completing more than 45 minutes of physical activity.
Don’t Try To Keep Up With Other People In The Class
If you attend classes, don’t try to keep up with others in the group. You’ll ultimately wind up disappointed, and you could hurt yourself in the process. Stick with a pace you know you can achieve and make incremental changes week after week, increasing the intensity in a way prescribed by your doctor.
Focus On Low-Impact Activities
Many people with chronic pain should start their exercise programs with low-impact activities such as swimming. The goal of exercise is to improve the range of motion in the joints and provide some resistance for the body. It shouldn’t be to hammer away trying to build masses of muscle or gain athlete-level fitness – at least not to start.
Low-impact activities help to improve your relationship with exercise. You’re much more likely to enjoy it and want to go back to do it again.
Accept That Some Days Will Be Better Than Others
When you live with chronic pain, you inevitably have to accept that some days are better than others. Sometimes you won’t physically be able to exercise – that’s just the way that it goes. On others, you’ll feel energetic and happy.
Try to move at a pace that suits you. If you can’t make it to the gym, avoid beating yourself up.