Exercise is an integral part of any spondylitis program. Fitting exercise into your day can be tough, but it needs to be done. Exercise is such a high priority that you must make time for it each day (even five to10 minutes during a work break is helpful). If you do, many benefits will follow from your efforts. A spondylitis exercise program will help you maintain good posture, flexibility and eventually help to lessen pain.
In many cases, good posture and mobility can even be regained with proper doses of medicine and proper exercise. Most people with spondylitis say they feel much better after exercise.
Practicing good posture techniques impacts the way a person with spondylitis looks and feels.
Individuals with spondylitis often are painfully aware of the strains imposed by gravity. A vicious pain/poor posture cycle begins because of a tendency to bend over when experiencing pain in the spine, further increasing the amount of strain on the spine.
Bone fusion does not occur in everyone with spondylitis, yet fusing in a non-upright position is a valid concern. It is encouraging to know that the pattern of fusion can be influenced through good postural habits.
Having an exercise program that accomplishes your goals can often help you to stay the course. While sports and other physical activities are beneficial, they cannot be totally relied upon to assure erect posture and flexibility. Spondylitis-specific exercises can help to fill in any gaps.
Before beginning any new exercise program, consult your physician or physical therapist, who can help provide modifications to suit specific needs. These professional can explain which exercises should be done and how to do them correctly.
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Exercise at a time of day that is convenient for you. Many people with AS are stiff in the morning. This may be a time to start loosening up to lessen the stiffness. Some people are more comfortable exercising at midday or in the evening.
It may be necessary to split up exercises during the day. For example, exercises while lying down can be done in the morning, while neck stretches or deep breathing for chest expansion can be done at work.
Exercises should be done daily and begin with “warm-up/loosen-up” exercises. Above all, you should “listen” to your body and learn to emphasize areas that need exercise the most, whether it be stretching or strengthening.
Exercises should be done in a comfortable area on a carpeted floor or mat. An exercise mat, which can be purchased at a sporting goods store, provides comfort and protection by cushioning the spine. Beds typically have too much “give,” but a firm mattress can be used if you cannot easily get onto or off of the floor. Music can also create a more relaxing mood while exercising.
It is normal to feel some discomfort or tolerable pain when beginning an exercise program. Even so, many people tend to overdo at first. Don’t assume that more is better. Approach any new routine cautiously, beginning with low repetitions regardless of your ability to do more. Severe pain after exercise is almost always a sign of overdoing it, calling for a reduction in intensity and number of repetitions. In addition, rereading instructions will help to ensure that all steps are being followed correctly.
While performing exercises specific to spondylitis:
This is the best exercise for maintaining erect posture.
To help maintain posture:
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