These PT Tips Can Help You Live a More Active Life!
If you spend your days moving with pain and living a fairly sedentary life as a result, the notion of pursuing any kind of extensive physical activity may be the furthest thing from your mind.
However, even if you are living with pain, getting active can vastly improve your health, your comfort, your mobility, and your overall quality of life.
How can physical therapy help me become more active?
As stated by Mayo Clinic, “The health benefits of regular exercise and physical activity are hard to ignore. Everyone benefits from exercise, regardless of age, sex or physical ability.”
If you are trying to live a more active life, there are many activities that you can pursue at your leisure, or you can ask one of our licensed physical therapists to integrate you into a full-scale physical therapy program.
This latter approach may prove particularly wise if you are rehabilitating from an injury, if you are unsure about your exercise tolerance, or if you are struggling with a particular chronic pain problem.
Our physical therapist can evaluate your health and prescribe the right activities to meet your needs and objectives.
At the same time, you may be able to enhance the benefits of your activities with other safe and helpful physical therapy methods, such as massage, ultrasound therapy, dry needling, ice and heat treatment, acupuncture, or laser therapy.
These types of therapies can promote tissue repair, decreased inflammation, reduced pain, and an increased ability to maintain pain-free movements.
Listed below are five activity suggestions from our licensed physical therapists that you could really enjoy adding to your lifestyle:
1. 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.
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.
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.
Running is more demanding on the heart, lungs, and knees than walking, but these demands can turn out 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.
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.
Looking for more ways to get moving? We can help
You don't have to spend your life constrained to your bed or your chair. As the Arthritis Foundation states, “Not only does exercise keep joints strong and flexible, it also promises pain relief for a host of conditions, including osteoarthritis (OA), rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and fibromyalgia. It also keeps pain from starting, helps you shed pounds and reduces stress.”
It's time to get up and schedule a visit with a physical therapist! It just may be one of the healthiest decisions you could make.