You often hear about the importance of exercising daily; however, a lot of people misinterpret what this means. Getting in that daily exercise doesn’t necessarily mean doing something strenuous or working out till you’re covered in sweat. Instead, all you need to do is move!
Yes, movement is something a lot of us take for granted and yet, it is incredibly important for the overall health of our bodies. Unfortunately, some office/desk jobs and/or inactive lifestyles lead to minimal movement in one’s day-to-day life. Sitting/lying down for long periods of time throughout the day can cause backaches, joint pain, and stiffness, as well as other types of pain in the body.
While the results of such pain can also be caused by underlying issues, surprisingly, the cure is often as simple as daily exercise that increases your overall movement which, in turn, reduces and/or prevents body aches.
How Movement Benefits the Body
There are multiple benefits of simply moving your body more often on a daily basis. Here’s a look at the positive impact movement/exercise has on some parts of the body.
HEART: You can improve your heart health in many non-strenuous ways which include taking walks, leisurely cycling, using a stationary bike, etc.
JOINTS: Regular movement/exercise helps to keep the joints lubricated while increasing their range of motion. Oftentimes, lack of lubrication leads to joint pain and related problems.
BONES: All of us can benefit from a higher bone density which is what bone-building through exercise can achieve. From walking and hiking to weight training and resistance training; there are many such activities that include more movement which, in turn, help to make your bones denser.
MUSCLES: Weak muscles cause aches in the body because they cannot support your weight, bones, and movements. Ironically, one of the ways to counter weak muscles is to strengthen them by simply moving more. In doing so, you will also improve your balance, coordination, and overall stability.
BRAIN: Movement in the form of walking can help improve the cognitive functioning of the brain which starts to decrease with age. 20-30 minutes of walking every day (at least 3 times a week) is beneficial to the brain in more ways than one.
Exercises to Relieve/Prevent Body Pain
Now that we’ve learned about some of the important ways in which movement and exercise can benefit the body, let’s talk about the types of exercises you can do to relieve your body of pain or prevent future aches caused by weak bones, muscles, and other such underlying issues. Read on.
Swimming and water activities are great because they keep your entire body moving without putting excess stress on your joints. Depending on the type of body pain you are experiencing, you can perform low-impact swimming activities 2-3 times a week to help strengthen your muscles, and increase mobility. This cardiovascular exercise also has a positive impact on your mental wellbeing as it helps to relieve stress.
As we’ve already mentioned, walking is a form of exercise that has many benefits and is one of the best ways to increase your everyday movement. If you sit in one place for over an hour, stand up and walk around for a few minutes to increase your blood flow. It may not seem like it, but even minimal movement like that has a positive effect on your overall body health.
The slow, low-intensity movements with poses in between make yoga a suitable type of exercise for those with nagging body aches and stiffness. Even otherwise, yoga is a great way to increase flexibility, mobility, balance, and coordination while strengthening your muscles at the same time. Similar to yoga is pilates; a type of exercise wherein instructed movements are made to improve muscular strength and mobility.
Many physiotherapists and chiropractors advise stretching exercises to relieve low back pain, neck pain, and joint pain. It is also an effective way to keep your body limber which, in turn, prevents stiffness and pain when sitting for long periods. There are various types of pain relief stretching exercises that can be performed at home without any equipment. All you need is a yoga mat or carpet to cushion your hard floor, and you’re good to go!
While a stationary bike is convenient to use at home and also beneficial to your health and body in multiple ways, there’s nothing like an actual bike ride outside. In fact, it is more effective to cycle outdoors while breathing in the fresh air. Overall, cycling strengthens various muscle groups in the body, raises your heart rate, and improves balance and mobility. Best of all, you can do it at a leisurely pace and still reap the benefits of cycling regularly.
Did you know that you can do weight training without a set of weights? That’s because many types of exercises use your body weight to strengthen and build muscle. If you do, however, choose to train with weights, bear in mind that dumbbells as light as 5 lbs are also effective. Of course, it is always advisable to train under a qualified fitness instructor when using weights as you can seriously injure yourself with improper technique and form. A 20-minute weight training routine every day can help relieve body pain caused by bad posture, weak muscles, and excess body weight.
Just dance! Believe it or not, moving (or grooving) your whole body to some peppy music can increase flexibility and loosen up muscles for a more limber body. Oftentimes, tight muscles and stiffness bring about a nagging body ache which further restricts movement, or causes pain when moving. Whether you choose to join a Zumba class or dance freestyle in your own home, it is one of the most enjoyable ways to get your daily exercise in and is very effective in preventing body aches caused by lack of activity.
The importance of movement should not be overlooked but prioritised in one’s day-to-day life. Staying active by moving more is incredibly simple and equally beneficial to your body’s and mind’s overall health. So, if you’ve been experiencing pain in the body, just keep moving! For those of you suffering from chronic pain, or seeking more information on exercises to relieve and prevent body aches, MSK Therapy has all the answers to your questions and best treatments for muscle and joint pain.