Lesson 5, Topic 1
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Becoming and Staying Active

I-Engage May 1, 2021
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In this topic, you will learn how to become and stay active, despite chronic pain.

1. Choose something fun

You’re far more likely to keep it up if you choose an activity you enjoy

1)A nice walk in a favorite place (please be mindful and pace)
2)Stretching and listening to relaxing music
3)Gentle exercise, such as yoga, Tai Chi, or Qigong
5)Dancing at home
a young couple gardening together

2. Explore local fitness and recreation opportunities

Find out what activities are available in your local area. This could include a walking or fitness group. If you cannot meet up, there are many options online that might work! Check with your local community center.

A group practicing yoga together outside. They're holding the tree pose with hands to heart centre.

3. Keeping motivated

This can be a tough one, so here are some tips:

1)Choose an activity from your pacing schedule to ensure predictable time and efforts are controlled
2)Reward yourself for a job well done! Note: avoid food-based rewards as they can create unhelpful associations with food
3)Brag about it to your support group, friends, and family
4)Find other people to join in. You can help keep each other accountable and motivated, and it can act as a social opportunity.

4. Dealing with difficulties

Many people use their pain as a guide for when to start and stop an activity. Please remember your pacing goals. Stay on the proven path of comfort to ensure success and pain management. Keep it up!

One major thing to remember is that when you begin to stretch and exercise, it’s normal for pain levels to increase. Ensure you recognize and separate this type of pain from a flare up.

Graduate your activities by gently increasing the amount of time you spend doing your stretches, exercises, or fitness plan. Continue to pace.

5. Set Goals for Exercise

Remember SMART Goals? These are perfect for exercise. They allow you to start small, setting incremental goals, and gradually work your way up to more challenging levels. Setting goals not only helps you plan for exercise, but it keeps you motivated.

When you reach an exercise goal (e.g., walking around the block for 20 minutes), you can increase it for your next milestone (e.g., walking around the block for 30 minutes).

Additionally, having these concrete goals allows you to see how far you’ve come since the first goal. Such a great way to be proud of yourself.

What kind of exercise do I need?

Ensure you choose activities that include

StretchingActivities that involve stretching help loosen tight muscles, ligaments, and joints, and increase flexibility.
Strengthening exercisesStrengthening exercises build stronger muscles and joints so you can stand, walk, and play for longer. This helps you in your day-to-day activities and improves your balance and stamina.
Stamina activitiesActivities that improve your ability to move for longer will enable you to do other things for longer without additional pain or tiredness. This helps you enjoy a range of activities and reduces your fear of inducing pain.

Be mindful of your pacing plan, and do not exceed your overhead

In the next lesson, you will be learning about managing your moods.