Chronic pain and fatigue can cause decreased physical activity. Lack of regular physical activity can lead to weight gain, low energy, muscle tension, and pain increase.  Learn how to incorporate exercise in your daily routine.

Would exercise increase my pain?

Due to our daily pain and struggles, it is easy to assume that physical activity may make our pain worse. However, regular physical activity increases some of our body’s chemicals production, endorphins, and enkephalin. These are natural painkillers that decrease pain symptoms. Physical activity does more than reduce pain. It makes muscles and bones stronger, reduces stress, lowers blood pressure … helps with sleep which leads to a good mood.

How can I include exercise in my daily routine?

It is difficult to think of exercise when you are tired and in pain, you can hardly get out of bed. You need a graded exercise, an exercise plan that starts gently and gradually becomes more challenging. You can start by walking 5 minutes a day and gradually increase to 45 minutes two to four times a week. Make these changes over the course of two weeks. For example, walk for 5 minutes a day say three times a week for two weeks and then maybe 8 minutes for another two weeks.   This way you are giving your body enough time to slowly adjust to your activity level.

What  exercises can I do

You should talk with your health care provider to determine what exercises are suitable for you. The list below is a suggestion based on this author’s experience.

Stretching Exercises

Stretching exercises increase the range of motion, reduce muscle stiffness. They help your body recover from activity or exercise sessions. Do them before and after exercise programs, in the morning and as needed throughout the day.

Aerobic Exercises

Aerobic exercises are activities that repeatedly contract large muscle groups such as legs and arms and increase your breathing and heart rate. They benefit your heart, lungs and increase cognitive function. Walking, swimming, dancing, and jogging are good examples of aerobic exercises.

Warm Water Exercises

They are non-impact exercises, so they will not cause a jarring impact on your joints and muscles. Because these activities are done in water, they require less effort to do. The water resistance helps you build strength and improve balance. Warm water promotes relaxation and reduces muscle tension.

Strengthening Exercises

As their name implies, they strengthen your muscles. Strong muscles support your joints and give you the strength to perform daily activities. The easiest way to achieve this is by pulling on an elastic band or by lifting weights. You can also move or push your own body weight.

Let’s Recap

  • Work exercise into your daily routine. Establish a set time for exercise and write it in your schedule.
  • Start Slowly. Remember, the goal is to move more with less pain. Start with very short exercise periods and slowly increase after two weeks. This gives your body enough time to adjust to your activity level before moving up the next level.
  • Do some stretching exercises before and after your exercise program to reduce muscle strain.

Go at your own pace. While these exercises are good for your body, doing too much in a short time can aggravate your pain. The goal is to progress, speed does not matter, but the direction forward is the target here.

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Raina is a psychology student who understands the importance of caring for mental health. She blogs about depression, anxiety, fibromyalgia, men and mental health and parenting kids with ADHD.

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