Suffering from chronic pain? These 3 types of exercise may be the answer
Did you know that gentle paced exercise programs are effective for managing symptoms of chronic pain?
A wealth of evidence suggests that movement plays a key role in regulating the body’s pain signals and inflammation, as well as improving stamina, independence, physical functioning, mental health, and quality of life.
At SHARE, we have seen the benefits of exercise first-hand – with a recent survey finding that 58% of our participants experienced improvement in pain management after partaking in our fitness classes for 12 months.
This National Pain Week, we are sharing our top three forms of exercise for those with chronic pain – and how they can help manage pain symptoms.
Pain is a normal, healthy response to structural or tissue damage in the body, usually due to injury or illness. Pain is there to protect us by letting us know when there is something we need to pay attention to in the body.
Sometimes the pain signals can persist even after the injury or illness has been treated, for many weeks, months, or years. This is known as chronic pain (also called persistent pain). Chronic pain is a complex and debilitating condition which can interfere with every aspect of life, leading to isolation, depression, anxiety, fatigue and more. It affects a startling 1 in 3 people over the age of 65 years.
Chronic pain can make daily activities difficult, such as walking and housework. Over time, people with chronic pain tend to experience significant losses in fitness, strength, and stamina. This deconditioning is associated with worsening pain symptoms.
That’s where exercise comes in. Starting slow and gradually building up the duration of exercise can help reverse this deconditioning cycle over time.And remember that exercise is a long-term strategy – try to aim for a little each day, and while it may not feel like much, in a few months’ time you could look back and see the progress you’ve made.
At SHARE, we recommend combining different forms of exercise to tackle chronic pain with advice from your doctor, physio and healthcare team.
Strengthening exercises are designed to increase the strength of specific sets of muscles, sometimes using equipment like weights. Cardio, or aerobic exercises, help increase the heart rate and improve stamina. Classes such as Fitter & Stronger, Zumba, Strong & Active, and even gentle walking are great forms of strengthening and cardio exercise. With our online class schedule, you can stop or take breaks during the class so as not to overdo it. Or give this 10 minute Fitter & Stronger exercise a go! Keep in mind – slow and steady is the key.
Those with chronic pain can often experience fatigue and dizziness from medications, leading to greater risk of falls.
Exercises which promote better balance and core strength are vital for preventing any additional injury. Balance exercises can also help loosen tight muscles and improve range of motion.
Classes such as Active & Fit, Yoga and Strength, Stretch & Relax have a special focus on stretching, balance and core strengthening. These classes are currently available on our online schedule. Or check out this quick Balance video below to get started.
Relaxing classes involving breathing exercises and slow flowing movements are essential for increasing mindfulness, connection with the body, improving sleep and stress management.
Our Relax & Unwind class (also available in our online timetable) is the perfect addition to the week. Tai Chi is another fantastic relaxation class, currently offered for free on Friday and Saturday mornings. For a sneak peak into the relaxing benefits of Tai Chi, check out this video:
If you or a loved one is experiencing chronic pain, please give us a call on 8580 0628 to discuss which class options would be beneficial for you.
Helpful Links and Resources:
Exercise Right: https://exerciseright.com.au/chronic-pain-and-exercise/
Chronic Pain Australia: https://chronicpainaustralia.org.au/
Get Healthy NSW: https://www.gethealthynsw.com.au/