- If you spend your days hobbling painfully from your bed to your reclining chair and back, the notion of pursuing any kind of vigorous activity may be the furthest thing from your mind. The truth, however, is that getting active can vastly improve your health, your comfort, mobility, and overall quality of life. Here are five activity suggestions from our physical therapist that you might genuinely enjoy adding to your lifestyle.
Activity No. 1: Walking
Walking is one of those ideal activities that requires no special equipment and makes perfect practical sense. If you have to make a short trip, why waste gasoline when you can get some fresh air and low-impact exercise instead? Walking gives your circulation a healthy boost without making excessive demands on your body. It also gets your weight-bearing joints moving -- and that's a huge benefit if you struggle with arthritis.
Activity No. 2: Running
Running is more demanding on the heart, lungs, and knees than walking, but these demands can turn to be very good for what ails you. The famous "runner's high" you may have heard so much about seems to offer its own pain-reducing benefits for chronic pain sufferers. The phrase "No pain, no gain" also seems to apply here. That routine you get from running could encourage your brain to step down its baseline pain sensitivity, making your other aches and pains seem less bothersome.
Activity No. 3: Cycling
Cycling gets you where you want to go while offering a number of health benefits. The aerobic workout can help you improve your heart health, while the simple act of operating the bike exercises your balance and builds leg strength. If you have back pain or knee problems, cycling is also lower-impact than running.
Activity No. 4: Swimming
If even walking hurts too much these days, maybe you should take a dip in the pool instead. Swimming is tremendously helpful for people with arthritis or extremity injuries because the water eases the forces of gravity on the body. Even if you can't swim, try some healthy walking or dog-paddling in the water.
Activity No. 5: Weight training
Lifting weights isn't just for "muscle-heads." Weight training can help you build the muscle tissue that helps to support your joints. Stronger muscles tire less easily and are less vulnerable to painful strains. Working with weights also helps you maintain your bone density and avoid age-related muscle wasting.
Part of your balanced physical therapy program
You can pursue any or all of these activities at your leisure, or you can ask our physical therapist about integrating them into a full-scale physical therapy program. The latter approach could prove especially wise if you're rehabilitating an injury, unsure of your exercise tolerance, or battling a particular chronic pain issue. Our physical therapist can evaluate your health and prescribe the right activities for your needs and goals. At the same time, you may be able to enhance the benefits of your activities with other safe, helpful modalities such as massage, ultrasound therapy, dry needling, cold and heat treatments, acupuncture or laser therapy. These therapies can promote tissue repair, ease inflammation, reduce pain, and increase your ability to keep moving and having a great time.
This article was supplied by Joint Effort Physical Therapy.