Surprising Times to Hit the Gym

It can be hard to motivate yourself to exercise when you are sick or have a headache, but hitting the gym can actually be just what the doctor ordered to get better. Below are some of the most common misconceptions about when exercise is appropriate.

Recovering from a minor surgery: Exercise can help both decrease side effects and get you back into the swing of your daily life faster. Be mindful of the level of intensity and avoid exercises that may stress a surgical incision or repair. Discuss with your doctor the proper level of exercise.
Cold: Moderate exercise can improve your immune function. Be careful not to over exercise, because prolonged intense exercise can place more stress on your body and suppress your immune system.
Headache: Inactivity can actually cause headaches. Physical activity releases pain-killing endorphins, improves blood flow to your brain, and reduces muscle tension and fatigue.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: Exercise can help improve your circulation, which will help your body use oxygen more efficiently. It can also help strengthen your heart, improve your symptoms, and boost your energy levels.
Pregnancy: Regular exercise can improve your and your baby’s health. It lowers maternal blood pressure, reduces swelling, and reduces fetal heart rates.
Joint pain: Exercise helps prevent and relieve joint pain by strengthening key supportive muscles, restoring flexibility, improving bone density, and facilitating weight loss. You may want to work with a physical therapist or personal trainer who can develop a safe range of activities for you.
Irritable bowel syndrome: While dietary strategies are key to healing irritable bowel syndrome, exercise can also lead to improvements in cramps, bloating, constipation and diarrhea.
Menopause: Just three hours of exercise a week can significantly improve both mental and physical health in menopausal women.
Chronic pain: Because exercise often leads to improved posture, range of motion, and body functionality, it can help treat the underlying source of your pain as well as help prevent chronic back pain. Stretching, resistance training, and swimming can be especially helpful.
Quitting smoking: Studies show that exercise is a potent ally in smoking cessation, as withdrawal symptoms and cigarette cravings decrease during and after exercise.

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