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Exercising With Ankylosing Spondylitis: What To Do When Working Out Hurts

Living with Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) presents unique challenges, especially when it comes to staying active. However, with the right approach, exercise can become not just manageable, but even enjoyable. In this blog post, we'll explore five essential strategies for making workouts less painful and more accessible for those dealing with AS.

Understanding Ankylosing Spondylitis

Ankylosing Spondylitis is a form of inflammatory arthritis that primarily affects the spine, causing inflammation, stiffness, and pain. While exercise is crucial for maintaining mobility and overall health, finding the right balance can be tricky.

Strategy 1: Build Up Progressively

One of the most important principles to keep in mind when exercising with AS is to build up your activity level progressively. Start with low-impact exercises and gradually increase the intensity and duration as your body adapts. This gradual approach can help minimize discomfort and reduce the risk of flare-ups and injuries.

Strategy 2: Ease Into It After Breaks

Whether you've taken a short break from exercise or are just starting a new routine, it's essential to ease back into it gradually. Listen to your body and pay attention to any discomfort or pain signals. Taking it slow allows your body to adjust and prevents overexertion.

Strategy 3: Warm Up Properly

Proper warm-up is crucial for people with AS as it helps to prepare the muscles and joints for activity. Incorporate dynamic stretches and gentle movements to increase blood flow and flexibility. A thorough warm-up can help reduce stiffness and improve your overall workout experience. Take your time with this, its ok if your warmup is longer than your actual workout!

Strategy 4: Prioritize Rest & Recovery

Rest and recovery are just as important as exercise itself, especially for individuals with AS. Allow your body time to recover between workouts and listen to its signals. Overtraining can exacerbate symptoms and lead to burnout. Find a balance that works for you and prioritize self-care.

Strategy 5: Balance Strength and Flexibility

A well-rounded exercise routine should include elements of both strength and flexibility training. Focus on exercises that target the muscles supporting your spine and joints while also incorporating stretches to improve flexibility. Being adaptable and open to modifications based on your body's needs is key.

Living with Ankylosing Spondylitis doesn't mean you have to give up on exercise, on the contrary! Its one of the best things we can do for our bodies. By implementing these five strategies and listening to your body, you can make workouts more manageable and enjoyable. Remember, consistency and patience are key on your journey to pain-free movement. Consult with your healthcare provider or a physical therapist to develop a personalized exercise plan that suits your needs and abilities.

Embrace the process, stay positive, and keep moving forward – one workout at a time!





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