Low-impact exercise tips to help ease chronic pain

  • 2 Minutes Read
Joanna Kriehn
Joanna Kriehn, MS, RDN, CDCES - Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist (CDCES)

If you are dealing with chronic pain, you know how challenging it can be to exercise and find activities that don’t exacerbate your pain, as well as the energy and creativity to fit activity into your week. Read on to learn some tips for working in exercise safely so you can build muscle, improve flexibility, and improve function.

Exercise chronic pain

Benefits of exercise when living with chronic pain

Chronic pain impacts physical, mental, and emotional well-being. If you have been in pain for some time, you’ve already adjusted your activities. Over time, if exercise made your pain worse, you may have quit altogether. Yet, did you know that exercise is an effective clinical treatment for helping you feel your best even if you live with chronic pain? Check out the benefits.

Three types of physical activity

The ideal workout plan regularly includes strength building, aerobic activity, and flexibility, though any exercise is better than nothing! Read on to see our recommendations, making these activities possible at your own pace.*

1. Strength building

Building strength enables muscles to grow. Even minor improvements in muscle strength can make everyday living feel more manageable.

2. Aerobic activity

Aerobic exercise strengthens your heart and lungs, requiring your body to use more oxygen and large muscle groups. In addition, such exercise is crucial for living with chronic pain because it helps you build endurance.

3. Flexibility

Helps you lengthen muscles and joints. Improved flexibility can improve range of motion and allow for more functional movement.

*Please make sure your doctor approves your new workout before getting started. You always want to exercise safely based on your current health status.

Take it slowly when returning to exercise with chronic pain

If you live with chronic pain, you may be inspired to “go for it” on days when your pain is less intense. However, make sure to listen to your body and avoid overdoing it. Pacing is important because you don’t want to get injured or cause a painful flare.

When starting a new workout routine or revisiting an old one, slowly increase your intensity and duration. You may find your pain changes when starting a new exercise program. While some discomfort is expected, stop exercising if your pain worsens.

Some people with chronic pain find it takes longer to build consistency and routine. Some days, your pain doesn’t allow you to complete the planned workout. That is ok! Resist the temptation to compare your situation to others. Remember, it is all about progress, not perfection.

Tips to stick with it

There’s no reason to go it alone. If you are having trouble getting started with a routine or finding exercises that don’t exacerbate your pain, consider working with a professional.

Know there will be days when you don’t feel up to exercise and have to avoid activity completely. That’s ok. Listen to your body and return to exercise when you feel able.

Additional resources

Home workouts to help you get back in shape

Feeling unsteady? Try these 7 simple ways to improve your balance and increase stability.

A complete guide on how to create your own workout plan from scratch (no expensive trainer required)

How MyNetDiary gives you the most accurate tracking to estimate your calorie-burning efforts through MET (metabolic equivalents)

Still new to MyNetDiary? Learn more today by downloading the app for FREE.

Exercise->Health Exercise->Injury Recovery
May 22, 2023

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