While the benefits of aerobic and flexibility exercises are well known, increasing movement and heart rate is especially important for people with peripheral neuropathy. Physical activity increases blood circulation, which strengthens nerve tissues by increasing oxygen flow.
Further, physical exercise has a neuroprotective effect on both the central and peripheral nervous systems.
Research has shown that immobility is a major issue for patients with peripheral neuropathy. It can cause muscle atrophy (shrinkage) and tightening (loss of flexibility) as well as a decrease in metabolism which invariably means less energy and a higher risk of fat gain.
Living an active life by doing the following exercises will help you knock out many of the symptoms associated with neuropathy, setting you up for a healthier life.
Aerobic exercise has immense benefits for the body and the brain. It reduces the risk of a lot of health conditions such as dementia, and heart disease, prevents stroke, lowers blood pressure, reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes by controlling blood sugar levels, improves the physical functioning of the body, and increases your life span.
Aerobic exercise also enhances cognitive performance and improves brain health.
Some examples of aerobic exercise include:
The National physical activity guidelines recommend at least 150 minutes of aerobic activity per week.
Resistance training helps increase muscle strength by making the muscles work against a weight or force. Resistance training such as free weights, medicine balls or sandbags, suspension equipment, and weight machines, to mention but a few can help you prevent chronic conditions such as diabetes, depression, obesity, arthritis, heart disease, and back pain. It also reduces the risk of osteoporosis by increasing bone density and strength.
Stretching increases muscle blood flow thereby reducing and totally alleviating nerve pain that occurs due to poor blood circulation. Stretching also decreases nerve stiffness. It decreases the stiffness of muscles and reduces the risk of injury.
In conclusion, exercising can be a mood medicine. A recent study carried out on patients with peripheral neuropathy showed that when these patients were given moderate exercise programs, such as stretching bands for the upper body, and engaged in a 20-minute low-impact aerobic exercise daily, they had improved strength and felt better about themselves at the end of the six-week program.
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