Much has been written about the effects of exercise and health in general, it is the best neuropathy treatment. But what you may not know is there are good studies showing improvements in many health parameters with regular physical activity and exercise. Not too long ago, the American College of Sports Medicine made the statement that adults should be very physically active seven days a week. Not unexpectedly, the media attacked this as totally not doable by most adults.
But the fact is, the more sedentary our lives become, the worse our health becomes. For example, we know that metabolism slows with as little as 90 minutes of continued sitting at your desk. As your metabolism slows, you become much more efficient at making fat than you do burning it. And as a regular reader of this column, you know that poor metabolism can lead to the development of neuropathy, type II diabetes, or more serious illnesses.
So this means you can boost your metabolism with a workout at the gym or a stroll in the morning-and eat properly-but sitting all day without moving will negatively impact your health. It may seem like a lot of work, but you will become accustomed to it even if it is uncomfortable at first.
Typically, inactivity will make your neuropathy and/or chronic pain worse. So, for patients who already suffer from peripheral neuropathy, this is even more critical. So what’s the solution?
In simple terms, it’s important to get as much physical activity as you possibly can. In times of illness, or recovering from surgery or accidents, this may simply mean getting from bed to bathroom more often. As recovery continues, it’s imperative that you push and move as much as possible.
For patients who suffer from peripheral neuropathy of the feet, using bicycles and similar low-impact equipment can be very beneficial. Using a “trainer” stand to ride a road bike indoors can prepare you to ride outside and enjoy the benefits of fresh air, sunlight, and a clean commute.
But whatever you do, make sure you are doing it often enough! Even just five minutes an hour can really add up at the end of your day. If you need to sit at your workplace, try getting up and taking a walk every 45 minutes. Try setting a goal of drinking eight glasses of water a day; your body will stay hydrated and you’ll have an excuse to get up every so often!
Not only will you feel better, but you will improve the chances of a better neuropathy treatment outcome!