Physical activity is the miracle cure we’ve always had, but for too long we’ve neglected to take our recommended dose. Regardless of your age, there's strong scientific evidence that being physically active can help you lead a healthier and even happier life. Goal setting will help you to keep on track and to think of ways to increase your activity levels.
For further information visit Public Health England - Health matters: getting every adult active every day
Pacing: Although it is important for most people with persistent pain to increase physical activity it needs to be done carefully. You do not want to push yourself too far and then have a flare up that sets you back! We call this “Pacing”. It is very important that you understand what this means.
Relaxation techniques: Relaxation can involve doing something that you enjoy, or just being by yourself. Good examples might be reading a book or having a bath. Exercise is also particularly effective at helping us to relax. What you do does not really matter. Examples:
- Do some exercise (e.g. swim, cycle)
- Read a book
- Watch your favourite TV show
- Go to the cinema
- Do something creative (e.g. draw, paint)
- Visit a friend or family member
- Have a bath
Controlled breathing: This simple technique involves focusing on and slowing down your breathing patterns. It can be particularly helpful for those who feel dizzy or light headedness when they feel worried or stressed. Remember, you can use this exercise to help you relax at any time. You could even use it to help you get off to sleep.
Muscular relaxation: Tension often builds up in your muscles when we feel upset or stressed. Muscular relaxation exercises can help you to control any unpleasant symptoms. They can reduce physical tension and help you to relax in general. Step by step tightening and relaxation of the muscles in your legs, stomach, arms, shoulders and face would help to achieve muscle relaxation.
Distraction: Distraction is a good technique to ease off symptoms of anxiety and stress when they feel overwhelming. This allows you to create a space to deal with a situation when you don’t have space to use relaxation techniques. This involves trying to take your mind off uncomfortable symptoms or thoughts and trying to focus on something unrelated.