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Exercise and Ankylosing Spondylitis: The Importance of Physical Activity in Managing Symptoms
May, 2023
Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is a chronic inflammatory condition that primarily affects the spine and other joints, causing stiffness, pain, and mobility issues. While the symptoms of AS can be challenging to manage, regular physical activity can be an effective way to manage symptoms and improve overall health. In this article, we'll explore the importance of exercise for people with AS and provide tips for incorporating physical activity into your daily routine.
Benefits of Exercise for Ankylosing Spondylitis
Engaging in regular physical activity can provide several benefits for people with AS. Exercise can help:
  • Reduce Pain and Stiffness
AS can cause pain and stiffness in the spine and other joints, making it difficult to move and complete everyday activities. However, regular physical activity can help reduce pain and stiffness by improving flexibility and range of motion.
  • Strengthen Muscles
Weak muscles can contribute to pain and instability in the joints, particularly in the spine. However, strength training exercises can help strengthen the muscles around the joints, providing support and reducing pain.
  • Improve Posture
AS can cause changes in posture, including a forward stoop, which can cause pain and breathing difficulties. However, exercises that target the core and back muscles can help improve posture and reduce symptoms.
  • Boost Overall Health
In addition to managing symptoms of AS, exercise can also provide several health benefits, including reducing the risk of heart disease, improving mental health, and increasing overall energy levels.
Tips for Exercising with Ankylosing Spondylitis
While exercise can be beneficial for people with AS, it's important to approach physical activity with care to avoid exacerbating symptoms. Here are some tips for incorporating exercise into your routine:
  • Talk to Your Doctor
Before starting any exercise program, it's important to talk to your doctor or rheumatologist. They can provide guidance on appropriate exercises and help you develop a safe and effective exercise plan.
  • Start Slowly
If you're new to exercise or haven't been active in a while, it's important to start slowly and gradually increase the intensity of your workouts. Consider starting with low-impact exercises like swimming, walking, or yoga.
  • Listen to Your Body
It's important to pay attention to your body during exercise and stop if you experience pain or discomfort. Be sure to take breaks as needed and modify exercises to accommodate your abilities and limitations.
  • Mix Up Your Routine
Variety is key when it comes to exercise, particularly for people with AS. Consider incorporating a mix of low-impact exercises, strength training, and stretching into your routine to target different muscle groups and reduce the risk of injury.
In conclusion, exercise can be a powerful tool for managing symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis and improving overall health. By incorporating regular physical activity into your routine and taking care to approach exercise with caution and care, you can reduce pain, improve mobility, and boost your overall well-being. If you're living with AS, talk to your doctor or rheumatologist about incorporating exercise into your treatment plan and find the right exercise plan for you.