When an individual does conditioning exercises, he or she repeats an exercise until the muscles involved are fatigued. Exercise bicycles, Nordic tracks, and treadmills are often used in conditioning exercising.
STRENGTH BUILDING EXERCISES
Strength building exercises are those in which the body works against a resistance to build strength. Weight machines that can be adjusted to the individual can provide this resistance. Exercising to music can be a helpful motivator either at home or at the gym.
CHOOSING AN EXERCISE
Choose an exercise or set of exercises that you can continue. Look at the obstacles that may keep you from exercising and find a way to remove or work around them. Useful ways to maintain your exercise
- Choose an activity you enjoy
- Vary your form of exercise
- Exercise with a buddy
- Enroll in a class
- Set aside a particular time of day to exercise
- Reward yourself for accomplishing goals
- Refuse to let yourself procrastinate
It may be helpful to keep an exercise and fitness journal to chart your progress and to document what you have accomplished.
Because you want to continue being active, select a form of exercise that you enjoy. Even a small amount of exercise helps relieve tension. For instance, a walk around the block rather than sitting in a rocking chair for a few minutes may change your frame of mind. Expect to start slowly and build up your exercise sessions and your strength over a period of weeks or months.
An important part of any pain management program is to pace yourself. This helps you reach a balance between all the things you want to do and the limits your physical condition may put on your activity.
By the time some chronic pain sufferers start a pain management program, they have become sedentary and discouraged. They do not attempt to do what they possibly could do if they were to make a few simple changes.
You can take action slowly to improve your ability to function. As your physical condition improves, you may find that you can accomplish many tasks step by step if appropriately paced.
Everyone has good days and bad days. On the bad days, you may wake up miserable and stiff, take more medication, stay in bed, and do nothing. On the good days, you feel better and may overexert yourself in an effort to make up for lost time. If you do too much, you may be back in the bed the next day with more pain. A balance needs to be struck between too much and too little activity.
Trial and error is involved in pacing. Begin any activity gradually and then increase your exertion slowly. Pay attention to your posture and the proper ways of accomplishing such tasks as lifting; which should be done carefully and correctly with good body mechanics.
It is important to understand that you probably will not be able to do things the same way and at the same speed as you did before your chronic pain condition. Also, it is a fact that as you mature you cannot do things as if you were still at your physical peak in your youth.
You benefit from knowing your limitations. Sometimes, you may have to communicate these limits to another person. Remember, saying no when you are asked to do something you know you cannot physically do does not mean you are a bad person, a weakling, or a slacker.
Avoid holding yourself to impossibly high standards. This will only frustrate you and increase your pain. Strike a balance between your actual limits and the demands of your life. Take breaks as you engage in any activity. Do a task in segments and at a slower speed. If you become so wrapped up that you forget to take breaks, you will pay the price. Use a kitchen timer or an alarm clock set to remind you to stop at a certain time. Build in a break by dividing a task into segments.
When you take a break, do something different with your body, such as stretching your legs, sitting down, lying down, or standing up. Breaks may be good times to:
- Do stress reducing techniques
- Ride your stationary bicycle for a few minutes
- Do something enjoyable such as writing a letter or sending an e-mail message to an old friend
Pacing is an important component in any activity including exercise. Taking it easy allows you to build up stamina.
Source: Prairie Spine and Pain Institute, Dr. Richard A. Kube II, MD.