Last week we talked the biggest benefits of exercise, from reduced risk of early death to combatting pain. Since we know that exercise is crucial for pain patients, we’re tackling this topic again this week. If your doctor has already approved you for exercise, it can be one of the most beneficial additions to your overall pain management plan. Here are more of the biggest benefits of exercise for the mind.
It can boost your overall happiness
Did you know that happiness can be one of the benefits of exercise? Exercise releases endorphins that create feelings of happiness and wellbeing. Exercise can actually be prescribed to combat the effects of depression and anxiety. Just 30 minutes a few times a week, or every day if you’re motivated, can be enough to increase your overall happiness. It will also begin to help you improve your self-confidence.
It can beef up your brain
Sure, there are physical and emotional benefits of exercise but it can also help stimulate your mind. Michigan State University published a study that demonstrated how a lack of exercise can cause memory issues. There are degenerative conditions that cause mental capacity decline, but exercise can also increase the right chemicals that promote healthy brain cells. It also increases something called brain-derived proteins which promote decision-making skills, learning ability, and higher thought.
How to get started with exercise with chronic pain
This all sounds great but we know what you’re thinking. If you are already experiencing pain, which can make some motions difficult, how can you begin to use exercise to fix the problem? Of course, the right solution for you will be very individualized. Someone with osteoarthritis affecting their hip and knee joints will have different needs from a person who has fibromyalgia. The first thing we recommend is talking to a professional or your doctor to see what can be done to make exercise easier for your specific situation.
Here are some more general ideas to get you started:
- Start small: You don’t have to run a marathon right out of the gate. Start by walking around your block. Increase the distance and speed as you become more comfortable with the activity.
- Know your limits: Yes, you will likely experience some increased pain when you begin a new exercise program but it is also important to know how much is enough. Don’t push yourself too hard.
- Bring a friend: People who exercise with a friend or in groups are far more likely to stick with the routine. It provides accountability, someone to lean on, and makes it more fun.
If you start slow and work with ways to increase your fitness routine over time you will begin to notice that the pain will decrease and you will have more tools at your disposal to better handle your condition. Pain management is a long-term strategy and there are many ways to get yourself to a healthier place for your mind, body, and spirit.
What do you feel would be the most important benefits of exercise in your life? To get started with it in your own healthcare plan, contact our doctor today for a personalized plan based on your own health history.