Trying to lose weight and stay fit can be extremely difficult when experiencing chronic pain. In order to lose weight we need to get our heart rate up and when we think about getting our heart rate up we often think we need to jog, run, or do some crazy cardio intense workout. Is it possible to lose weight and stay fit when high impact exercises is not an option?
For many of us with chronic pain, ‘exercise‘ is a dreaded word because working out can actually cause us more pain. We have all heard that exercise releases endorphin’s (the feel good hormone) but sometimes we don’t know what we are doing. We are afraid that we are going to hurt ourselves or aggravate our condition. For a lot of us in extreme pain we don’t have to finances to join a gym or have the luxury of a personal trainer. We are left to try to figure it out for ourselves. So what can we do at home or when we are on a budget? What is the best exercise with chronic pain?
3 Low Impact Exercises:
- Walking- Walking is one of the most common low impact exercises, but in order to get our heart rate up we are left to only one option. We have to walk faster and swing those arms! Because you’re dealing with chronic pain we have to remember to start things off slow so our bodies can adjust. You’ll need to know how to start a walking exercise plan and you may also want to speak to you doctor, as they may have some great advice to get you started. If your chronic pain has something to do with your legs; hips pain, knee pain, foot pain you’ll need to substitute walking with other low impact exercise such as riding a stationary bike or doing low impact core exercises.
- Swimming- As most of you have heard swimming is one of the greatest low impact exercise because its gentle on our joints and the resistance from the water helps strengthen our muscles. We understand not everyone has a pool in their back yard, but using a community pool or if your school has a pool they are usually very inexpensive and heated. Call ahead, find out open swim days and also ask them if they offer any low impact classes. When you sign up for a class take time and talk to your instructor, let them know you do have chronic pain and where. Chances are they will be able to provide substitutions if an exercise is to hard on that specific area. The biggest thing..take it slow you are not in a competition with others in your class and do not have to do everything they do.
- Yoga or Tia-Chi- The gentle and slow movements that Yoga or Tai Chi allows you to boost your flexibility and strength without putting much stress to your joints. These exercises also strengthen your muscles and boost inner circulation. There are many videos online for beginners that you could do at home or you could look into beginner classes in your local area. If you decide to take a class speak to your instructor ahead of time and tell them about your chronic pain and that you may need substitutions.
Just remember to take it slow, the purpose is to feel better not worse. If your upper body has chronic pain then use your lower body to do the work and vice versa. If you experience wide-spread body pain such as Fibromyalgia, Arthritis (or many others) talk to your doctor for some ideas or call a physical therapy office and explain how you feel and ask them for some ideas. Chances are someone out there is willing to help. The weight may not melt off as fast as with a high intensity work out, but you will see results when combined with a healthy diet.
Please share it.thanks