Exercise – Should it always be painful?
If this winter has been particularly harsh to your body, or you’re looking for a new activity to bring into your life, this is the blog for you. We go through some of the different forms of exercise that can mobilise your body but don’t have to aggravate your pain!
The weather is improving. We’re all getting out of hibernation, gently returning to our exercise regimes. Some exercise can be an aggravating factor for our pain, and some exercise might just seem impossible to get back into (looking at you, gymnastics!).
The Best and Worst Exercise You Can Do
I’m going to shock you all by saying that there is no definitive answer here. I can’t say to never do one particular activity, simply because we are all different. Your favourite form of exercise, regardless of how much impact it places on your body, will continue to bring you at the very least, stress relief and incalculable joy.
We already know the benefits of exercise – fitness, strength, release of endorphins to make us feel happy – but these benefits can be easily outshined by the effort, time, and cost. I hope to empower you today to make your way back into the activities you love already. Or, if I can’t do that, help you find your new exercise.
Water is denser than air which means a few things:
1. Your body is buoyant, there’s less gravity through your joints, and you can float;
2. It’s great for strengthening – your muscles need to work harder to push through water;
3. Small compressive forces from water improve circulation and decrease muscle soreness (like wearing compression tights)
If you’re trying to change from a sedentary lifestyle, going for a swim is the perfect way to start. For non-swimmers, even just walking, floating and moving through water will help improve your mobility and fitness. Swimming is fantastic for chronic pain, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, and more. Some swim centres will have indoor and outdoor pools, hydrotherapy pools, adult swim classes, and water aerobics. Top tip: if you take your kids to lessons, you can use a spare lane to paddle in while you wait. Or, if you hate the crowds of children, go before 3.30pm.
Maybe you’re not keen on getting into bathers just yet. If that’s the case, you’ve got to give Tai Chi a try. It’s a martial art that you can practice basically anywhere – lounge room, kitchen, the office, backyard, pedestrian crossings, beaches, wherever you can find space, the more inventive the better. Tai Chi is a gentle and pleasurable form of exercise with many physical and mental benefits, improving:
- mental state
- emotional tension
The aim is to perform movements slowly and smoothly so they are in harmony with the natural motions of the human body. It’s great to practice first thing in the morning when your body feels stiff and sluggish to help give you the movement and energy you need for the rest of your day.
Maybe you enjoy more of a structured setting. Pilates is a form of strengthening exercise that uses resistance from springs, elastic bands, and your own bodyweight. Its principles involve using breathing, control and core strength to develop strength, flexibility, and fitness. It can be performed on a mat on the floor or on a reformer (the sliding machines you may have seen at our clinic). If you need a little more direction, with movement specifically designed for you, we offer Clinical Pilates with our osteopathic treatment – guided exercise designed for your body and injuries. If you’re interested in Clinical Pilates, you can read more about it in our blog!
For more ideas on exercises, and which would be good for your body, book an appointment with your Osteopath or Myotherapist today.