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Exercise and Chronic Pain

It has been said that most people CAN exercise. That includes people with chronic pain. I think they key here is to choose types of exercise that you personally enjoy AND are within the scope of your physical limitations.  For instance if you have a problem with your knees maybe you shouldn't be doing exercise that involve impact--so instead of jumping rope or running, you consider walking or swimming...

It's probably a good idea to talk to your health care providers about which exercises are good fits for your own personal situation, especially if you are just starting out.  Prevention Magazine ran an article several years ago about this topic.  They were focusing on exercises best suited for fibromyalgia in their writings, but I think they are a good place for anyone to start.  So, without further ado here are some suggestions:

1) Walking or biking: pretty much anyone can do one of these. But, just like everything else there are exceptions.

2) Yoga: There are many forms of this practice, some gentler than others.  Yoga is good for stretching the muscle-- it's almost like a massage!  Yoga is also a meditative practice--known as "mindfulness" this is a great way to reduce stress and anxiety associated with chronic pain syndromes.

3) Strength training is another possibility.  My best advice here of course--is to consult your health care provider first, work with a personal trainer if necessary, and also to start low...and go slow! Strength training is a good way to improve muscle tone. Stronger muscles make it easier to do many things with a lot less effort.

4) Everyday activities can count as exercise to an extent.  Keeping those bodies going, even if it means you are mopping, sweeping or taking out the trash is meaningful activity.  Being too sedentary can cause stiffness--so if you can't do anything else, just move around as much as possible.

Sources:; wikimedia; freestockphotos


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