When you’re living with the effects of chronic pain it can be difficult if not impossible to see how physical activity can keep you healthy. Pain affects your ability to move naturally. It can also cause depression and anxiety that stops you in your tracks when you do decide to try something new. However, the benefits of exercise can’t be overstated. That’s why we’ll be covering them in two posts this month. If your doctor has cleared you for exercise, it can be one of the most beneficial additions to your healthcare plan. Here are some of the biggest benefits of exercise.
Mind, body, and spirit benefits of exercise
Pain affects every part of a person. It isn’t just physical. Depression, for example, is an extremely common side effect of chronic pain. It can make life more difficult than the pain symptoms themselves. The physical sensation of pain affects your body but all of the implications and emotional components of the pain affects your mind.
There is another third component to a healthy life, and that is our spirit. Many medical blogs and doctors don’t speak much about the spiritual aspects of our complete lives because it is often confused with controversial religious topics. However, taking care of your spirit doesn’t have to be about a specific religion or religion at all.
The mind, body, and spirit benefits of exercise are tangible. Runners often talk about the “runner’s high,” a euphoric feeling that they get when they participate in a 5K or a marathon. It is a release of endorphins that induce happiness and wellbeing. This physical response helps to feed our mental and emotional needs.
It can add years to your life
A study from the University of Zurich in Switzerland determined that, along with eating lots of fruit and limiting alcohol, an active lifestyle was one of the keys to living longer. Chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and respiratory disorders are on the rise throughout the developed world. Of course they were not surprised to find a correlation between a poor diet, smoking, excess drinking, and other unhealthy behaviors. However, individuals who maintain a healthy lifestyle, specifically including exercise, live longer than those who do not.
It can combat pain
Other information suggests that the benefits of exercise may include an ability to combat pain better than conventional medications. A program known as the Mind-Oriented Recovery Enhancement (MORE) was developed for use by people dealing with the effects of chronic pain in order to curb long-term dependence on medications and potential addiction issues. Participants were taught to use mindfulness meditation practice to help them avoid the use of addictive medications such as opioids. Being able to control pain using meditation techniques can allow patients to engage in more physical activity which can, in turn, reduce pain responses in the body. It becomes an incredible cycle that can improve mental, emotional, and physical health.
Watch the blog next week as we talk about how exercise can help your mind and your happiness. We’ll also give some tips for getting started safely with a chronic condition. Contact our office today if you want to talk to your doctor about putting together a new year, new exercise plan!