If I have arthritis, back pain, or fibromyalgia, can I still do the strength exercises in Exercising WELL?
This is a great question and one of the reasons I created this online program. I have worked with thousands of people who believe they can’t exercise because of pain in a joint or in their whole body. Too often, when it seems like exercise is off limits, it’s because we think of our typical approaches to getting fit such as getting on the floor to exercise, jumping, running, pushing the body to its limits, lifting heavy weights, squatting like a powerlifter, etc.
Once we apply a science-based and whole-person approach to strength training, it is not only doable, but can become a key part of reducing pain and improving function in daily life. This approach addresses:
Spiral of Inactivity: With an injury or chronic pain, there is an immediate and rapid loss of muscle and strength. This creates a spiral of inactivity because the loss of strength reduces ease of movement, which in turn further lowers activity level. It takes a very gradual approach to avoid doing too much too soon in order to reverse this spiral.
Support around joints: Joints that are achy from arthritis benefit from more muscles to support them. Strength training is the best way to provide this support and has been shown to reduce arthritis pain.
Chronic Pain: When you live with chronic pain such as with fibromyalgia, getting going is not easy. Plus, when you do move, it is too easy to do too much and pay the price the next day. Knowing the difference between pain that means you need to move and pain that means you need to rest is an important skill in using exercise as medicine for chronic pain.
Efficient movement: We don’t just strengthen muscles, we teach the body to work as a unit by incorporating the nervous system, which is what controls strength. Teaching your body to work as a unit means you can support it better in movements of daily life, thus reducing unnecessary wear and tear that can exacerbate pain.