EXERCISE • Katerina Moustaka

EXERCISE

Get up and move

The days when inactivity was the treatment of choice for musculoskeletal pain are long gone...

Now, even in the case of an acute crisis with symptoms so severe as to immobilize us, it has been established that immediate mobilization, even in the form of participating in simple activities of daily living, if at all possible, reduces not only the rehabilitation time but the pain levels themselves.

In cases of chronic musculoskeletal conditions, limited activity due to the body's automatic tendency to avoid pain, leaves the dis-eased weak and stiff. With their physical condition deteriorating and them adopting phobic, pain-avoidance behaviors in relation to the normal use of the body, the compromise is not just physiological but affects their psychosocial well-being as well.

How exercise helps

Depending on the symptoms and the specific characteristics of each body, the proper form of exercise improves muscle strength, stamina and flexibility. It also supports health beliefs and active "crisis"-coping strategies. It eliminates fear-avoidance behaviors, promotes self-reliance, curbs the feeling of inability and reduces social isolation. Furthermore, it has been shown that when it comes to the heeling process, the psychosocial benefits of exercise can be as important as the physical ones.

In more detail, movement/exercise:

Lessens and sometimes prevents pain

Strengthens the muscles, stabilizing the joints

Reduces joint stiffness

Increases blood supply to the cartilage and bones

Reduces the risk of injury

Protects against osteoporosis

Lessens the risk of fracture

Increases aerobic capacity and stamina

Increases and supports brain function

Significantly reduces the risk of Alzheimer's

Improves sleep quality and body biorhythms

Helps combat depression due to chronic pain

Promotes general health