Arthritis is the leading cause of disability in the U.S. Often chronic pain can be sited as the reason many people fail to exercise routinely. Lack of exercise can make joints stiff and painful and decreases the strength of the muscle and tissues surrounding joints.
Studies demonstrate improvement in chronic pain and arthritis, depression, anxiety, sleep, fatigue, balance, mood and quality of life with routine, low to moderate impact exercise. Activity can help replenish lubrication of the cartilage in joints and decrease joint pain and stiffness. Regular exercise can promote healthy weight and long-term weight management, which can decrease the stress on joints. In addition, exercise can help manage or prevent other diseases including high cholesterol, high blood pressure, hypertension and cardiac disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.
Start low and go slow. In other words, you do not have to climb a mountain or run a marathon to enjoy the benefits of exercise. Any activity is better than none. Start by taking a walk a couple times a week after dinner. Or try swimming a few laps. Biking can also be beneficial without putting too much stress on your body. It can take up to 6 – 8 weeks for your body to adjust, so if you are sore after exercise, decrease the length of time or frequency of the exercise. Also make sure to wear comfortable shoes.
If you have any questions or concerns about starting an exercise program, ask one of the providers here at NovaSpine Pain Institute to help you make a plan to get started and keep you on track of your exercise goals. So now that you know the benefits of exercise, get moving and get feeling better!
Victoria Tweedy, NP-C