Physical activity is important for your physical, social and emotional health, and it is central to your daily life. All your day-to-day activities require use of your muscles, like:
- Bending down to pick up bags
- Twisting around in your chair, or
- Pushing a shopping trolley.
Exercise can help you prevent pain resulting from injury during physical activity, and can help to ease tension while you are in pain.
Certain types of pain are associated with specific muscle groups, so think about paying special attention to those areas. For example, tension headaches are caused by tension in neck, shoulder and scalp muscles. So, you may feel relief by stretching and strengthening these muscles.
Similarly, strengthening abdominal and back muscles can protect the spine to help avoid back pain. Yoga training incorporates controlled breathing and relaxation with physical poses that can improve strength in specific groups of muscles. Pilates is also a great way to strengthen core stabilising muscles and take pressure off your lower back. Creating a strong and flexible core will improve your balance and stability, to help prevent falling, or injuring yourself during activities.
Moderate exercise immediately before or during a menstrual period can help reduce period pain, as it causes the body to release endorphins. Also, a healthy lifestyle in general, incorporating physical activity, can affect the likelihood of experiencing period pain.
It is important to consider your condition and pain state when performing any exercise. For instance, if you are in a flare-up of back pain, an exercise like sit ups, which strengthen the core, will only make the pain worse. Forcing an injured muscle to work may also damage soft tissue and slow down healing, so check with a healthcare professional that you are clear to proceed.
Reduce the risk of injuring yourself during exercise by:
- Using the proper equipment and the right shoes
- Staying hydrated
- Warming up before you begin, and
- Stretching out muscles.
Do not push through exercises that cause you pain or discomfort, try modifying them instead or else avoid them altogether. Also, give your body adequate time to recover.
The benefits of exercise can extend from keeping your muscles mobile and in good condition, to improving your mood, so find a way to keep your body moving regularly.
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