Your life will always be better when you are unobstructed by pain. Think of all the activities you have had to limit or avoid because of pain either now or in the past. Not only did you have to live with the pain, you were probably forced to alter your life because your body couldn’t perform some of your day-to-day activities such as work, sports, or even social and family responsibilities.
If you’ve ever overcome a bout of pain, you know how difficult it can be. And while it is easy to think that once you are out of pain, your job is done and you can go back to living your normal life… what will you do to ensure your problems with pain do not return?
Unless you become an advocate for yourself and work to minimize the possibility of the problem returning, there is a high probability that your pain will come back.
Both getting out of pain and managing your risks to stay pain-free take a different set of techniques. Being in pain limits your ability to keep your body healthy, flexible, and strong. If you are fortunate to be out of pain, start now and use this opportunity to keep it that way.
In my past blogs I have discussed the four areas that you should engage in to maintain a healthy active lifestyle flexibility, strength, balance and cardio.
My approach is age specific, wherein younger people can do a longer workout and older people may need to modify it, while also being dependent on your overall health and capacity. Do what you can within your limits and do what feels most comfortable, but don’t think that getting slightly sore or winded means you should back off or quit; that just means your body is working! Lastly, if you have a health condition your doctor has told you to limit or avoid, be sure to keep that in mind.
It can take less time than you think to incorporate these four components of flexibility, strength, balance and cardio. I recommend between 15-20 minutes spread out throughout the day. This does not include a cardio workout of 20-40 minutes several times a week (daily if possible).
I recommend a 10-15 minute morning workout of stretching, balance training, and strengthening. Then, do 1-2 minutes of light flexibility training at least every 30 minutes to an hour, especially if you sit for long periods of time.
This program is not equally weighted, and each individual will have different needs. If you feel that your flexibility is good but your balance and strength need improving, engage more with those and less with the flexibility exercises. Your specific program should weigh more on the side in which you need the most help. You decide what the right balance is for you.
With regards to cardio, everyone needs it, and no matter the limitations you may be dealing with, find an exercise that you can successfully perform that elevates your heart rate. Modify as needed but don’t neglect to incorporate cardiovascular activity, even if you feel limited. It’s one of the best things you can do for yourself. A gentle walk is a great start! Sitting is the big offender in our society’s downward spiral of healthcare.
If you want to remain pain-free, you owe it to your body to care for it… it’s the only one you have!