If you suffer from pain, whether due to an injury or a long-term condition, you might think that exercise will only make it worse. However, certain exercises could help to reduce your pain or make it easier to manage. While it’s important to check with your doctor whether or not you can start exercising, you may find that it is the best option for helping your pain levels to lessen.
However, just because exercise can be good for pain management doesn’t mean that all types are suitable. You need to choose low-impact exercises that don’t put too much strain on your body and don’t require a lot of energy, otherwise, you could find yourself in even more pain.
To help you find the right exercise for you, here are a few that could help relieve your pain, especially when enjoyed regularly:
One of the simplest exercises you can do to help ease pain is stretching. Starting and ending each day with a gentle stretching session can help to work out muscles and joints to relieve tension that can trigger or worsen pain. This means you need to carefully stretch out your problem areas, as well as the rest of your body.
You don’t need to push yourself too hard when stretching, but you will find that the more you do it, the more flexible you’ll become. Your range of motion will improve and your muscles will feel a lot let tense.
It is also important to stretch after any exercise you perform, even if it is only light, as this will help your muscles cool down in a safe way. This means adding extra stretching sessions to your day if needed, but not forgetting to stick with your morning and evening stretches.
Just putting one foot in front of the other can help you stretch your muscles and lessen joint pain. Walking is a simple exercise to do, especially as you can go at a pace that suits you and travel only as far as you’re able to.
Although many people suggest walking at least 10,000 steps a day, you need to build up to this, as trying that many straight away can leave you feeling sore and achy, especially if you already experience pain. Instead, walk only as far or for as long as you feel you’re able to, taking rests if you need them.
This will allow you to build up your endurance and strengthen muscles, as well as ease stress on your joints. You should find that over time, you’re able to walk more and don’t feel as much pain as when you first started.
A really great low-impact exercise for helping to relieve pain is swimming. Water provides resistance for your muscles without being overpowering so helps to strengthen them, while also helping to soothe your joints. You’ll feel yourself relaxing while in the water, which can also be an important part of reducing pain.
Just as with walking, the key is to build up the amount of exercise you do slowly so as not overexert yourself or cause more pain. This means taking regular breaks and finding an exercise in the water that works for you.
If you find that swimming isn’t helping as much as you might hope, try things like water jogging or aqua aerobics. Just be sure to go at a pace that suits you and to stretch afterwards.
Yoga is a fantastic exercise for pain relief as it helps to stretch out your whole body, but also improve awareness of each individual part of it. This means you can better pinpoint the source of your pain to allow you to gently work that area more.
When you experience pain, it can mean that you see problems with areas like coordination, balance and the way you hold your body. As well as stretching out your muscles and improving flexibility, yoga helps with these because you become more aware of your own body.
On top of this, the meditation and breathing aspects of yoga help you to feel more deeply relaxed, which can benefit you if you have muscle or joint pain, as it allows your whole body to become less tense.
Tai chi also delivers similar results if you want an exercise that is even gentler.
Exercising with weights doesn’t mean you need to start bench pressing or pushing yourself too hard. It’s easy to improve your strength and endurance by starting with weights that weigh just one to three pounds and taking it slowly so as not to strain yourself.
Working on the strength of your muscles will help improve your movements and lessen strain on your joints, all of which can reduce pain. Simple lifting exercises that work your main areas – such as your arms, legs, chest, abs, back and shoulders – a few times a week can make a big difference.
Just be sure to do three sets of manageable reps and give yourself rest days. When you get more used to your weight training, you can increase the number of reps up to 15 per set and then raise the weight you’re working with. Doing this steadily will see big improvements.