Research has shown that strengthening exercise moderately improves muscle strength in people with peripheral neuropathy. In addition, regular exercise may reduce neuropathy pain and can help control blood sugar levels. Refer to a Physical Therapist or a healthcare provider regarding an exercise program that’s right for you. A comprehensive physical activity routine includes four kinds of activities:
- Aerobic Exercise.
- Flexibility Exercise.
- Strength Training Exercise.
- Balance Exercise.
Increases your heart rate, works your muscles, and raises your breathing rate. For most people, it’s best to aim for a total of about 30 minutes a day, between 3-5 days a week. If you haven’t been very active recently, you can start out with 5 or 10 minutes a day and work up to more time each week. Or split up your activity for the day; try a 10-minute walk after each meal. Here are some examples of aerobic exercise:
- Take a brisk walk.
- Take a low-impact aerobics class.
- Swim or do water aerobic exercises.
- Stationary bicycle indoors.
Flexibility exercises, also called stretching, help keep your joints flexible and reduce your chances of injury during other activities. Gentle stretching for 5 to 10 minutes helps your body warm up and get ready for aerobic activities such as walking or swimming. Here are some flexibility exercises you can do at home. Check with your physician before beginning any exercise program.
Strength training, done several times a week, helps build strong bones and muscles and makes everyday chores like carrying groceries easier for you. With more muscle, you burn more calories, even at rest. Here are some ways to do it:
- Join a class to do strength training with weights, elastic bands, or plastic tubes.
- Lift light weights at home.
Keeping your balance system healthy is especially important if you have problems due to illness, such as joint pain, weakness or dizziness. Balance training can help you get back to normal, and overcome feelings of stiffness or unsteadiness. Balance, in particular, is emerging as an important element for the elderly. Older muscles are smaller and slower and respond less efficiently when you need to brace yourselves, making you more vulnerable to falls.
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