Motion is Lotion! Move it or Lose it!

Something hurts. What do you do? Rest? Stop moving? Take some painkillers? You might be surprised to know that the best thing you can do, for many aches and pains, is actually to move MORE. There are some conditions which can be made worse by exercise, but most musculoskeletal problems get better with physical activity. Exercise also has a lot of positive effects on the body.

Here are just some of the brilliant things exercise can do for you:

  • Improved memory and reversal of muscle loss
  • Increased synovial fluid in the joints – the body’s very own WD40
  • Reduced risk of diabetes and heart disease
  • Improved lung capacity and better breathing
  • Reduced stiffness and greater range of motion in your joints and back
  • Better circulation and a healthier heart

How does exercise help to relieve pain?

You might have heard that exercise releases endorphins in the brain – these ‘feel good hormones’ are your body’s very own painkillers and mood enhancers. Not only will they reduce the pain you’re feeling and enable you to move more, but you’ll feel better in the process. Of course, another positive side effect of exercise is weight loss, which can help relieve pressure on your feet, knees, hips and back. Increased movement also generates synovial fluid which acts as a lubricant within your joints and keeps them healthier for longer. People who exercise more, generally have stronger bones than people who do less, are less prone to fractures and heal faster.

How do I know how much to do?

If you’re in a lot of pain, do as much as is comfortable. That might be just going for a short walk, or it might be a shorter session of exercise than you’re used to. It’s a good idea to get checked out so you know what’s going on before you go straight back to what you were doing though.

When SHOULD I rest?

If you have a serious injury – like a fracture – or a condition such as rheumatoid arthritis, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia or other systemic illness, you should take advice from your doctor or therapist on how much, and what, exercise you should do.

What sort of exercise is best for me?

That depends! Here are some ideas of exercise types you may not have thought of trying:

  • Dance fitness
  • Aquarobics
  • Stand-up paddleboarding or dragon boating
  • Yogalates (a combination of yoga and pilates)
  • Box fit (boxing and fitness)
  • Indoor rock climbing
  • Tai Chi and Chi Gong