Exercising With Peripheral Neuropathy

Have you been diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy? We can help.

Shot of a senior man working out with dumbbells

Exercising with peripheral neuropathy can be challenging, as individuals may experience enhanced pain or numbness in their extremities during physical activity. Despite these difficulties, it is important to pursue physical activity to help manage the symptoms of this condition and improve overall health.  

Fortunately, many exercises can be helpful for those living with peripheral neuropathy. Light exercise and physical therapy can help to improve range of motion, circulation and muscle strength.  

The key is performing exercises safely to avoid any potential discomfort, injury or complication. This article will explore the ideal exercises for people with peripheral neuropathy to ensure a safe and effective workout.  

What Exercises Are Ideal for People with Peripheral Neuropathy?  

Focusing on exercises that involve low-impact movements and avoiding excessive foot or joint stress is crucial for anyone with peripheral neuropathy. Low-impact activities can help to improve a person’s flexibility, balance, coordination and range of motion without putting too much strain on the extremities.  

The best exercises for people with peripheral neuropathy include activities such as aerobics, walking, swimming, yoga, tai chi and lightweight training. It is also important to choose exercises that are enjoyable and comfortable without causing the individual additional pain or discomfort.  

Aerobic exercises are a great way to improve endurance and help reduce fatigue. Examples of aerobic activities include walking, jogging, swimming or using an elliptical machine.  

These activities can be done indoors in the comfort of one’s home or outdoors in the fresh air. Walking is a perfect exercise for those with peripheral neuropathy, as it is gentle on the feet and joints. Try to aim for at least 30 minutes each day or incorporate a 15-minute walk into your daily routine. 

Exercises like swimming can be very beneficial for those with peripheral neuropathy. It provides a low-impact way to exercise without putting too much strain on the joints or feet. For a gentler approach, yoga and tai chi are both forms of exercise that involve slow and gentle movements to help improve balance, coordination, flexibility and range of motion. 

Some lightweight training can also benefit those with peripheral neuropathy, as it helps strengthen the muscles without putting too much strain on the limbs or joints. Strength training can also be a very effective exercise for preventing falls in peripheral neuropathy patients experiencing balance issues. 

Exercises to Help With Neuropathy Balance Issues 

Balance issues can be a common problem for those with peripheral neuropathy, and balance training is important to prevent falls or injuries. The key is focusing on low-impact exercise and avoiding excessive pressure or stress on the extremities. 

Exercises such as heel-to-toe walking, single-leg standing and heel raises can help to improve balance while strengthening the feet and legs. Additionally, doing exercises like yoga can also be beneficial for improving balance. Yoga poses such as tree pose, warrior pose, mountain pose, chair pose and plank can help to improve balance. 

A more simple set of exercises that can be done at home include toe lifts and ankle circles, which can help to improve coordination. At-home exercises like side leg raises, calf raises and hip extensions can all be done at home while holding onto a chair for additional support.  

Focusing on flexibility in combination with balance training can be beneficial for improving coordination. Some basic stretches include ankle circles, calf and foot stretches, hamstring stretches and hip rotation. Moving slowly and gently when performing any of these exercises is important to avoid any potential discomfort or pain. 

Tips for Exercising Safely with Peripheral Neuropathy  

Avoiding any potential injury or pain is the main goal of exercising with peripheral neuropathy. Here are a few tips to help you work out safely:  

  • Start slow and gradually increase your exercise intensity as your body adjusts.  
  • Wear proper footwear to support your feet and avoid slipping.  
  • Listen to your body and stop exercising if you begin to feel pain, discomfort or fatigue.  
  • Cool down and stretch after your workouts for at least 5 minutes.  
  • Make sure to stay hydrated and drink plenty of fluids before, during and after exercise.  
  • Talk to a physical therapist or doctor about the best exercises for your individual needs.  

For anyone with peripheral neuropathy, being mindful of the type and intensity of exercises they do is key in order to avoid any potential injury or discomfort. By taking the time to find the right exercises for you, even from a day-to-day perspective, you can improve your overall health and wellness and better manage the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy.  

Exercising with peripheral neuropathy can be difficult, but with a little patience and effort, it is possible to find activities that are safe and beneficial for managing this condition. Remember to listen to your body and take it slow when engaging in physical activity.  

With the help of your doctor or physical therapist, you can develop a tailored exercise plan that is specific to your needs and goals.  

The Benefits of Exercise for Peripheral Neuropathy Patients 

Exercising has many benefits, especially for peripheral neuropathy patients, and can help to improve the overall quality of a patient’s life. Regular exercise helps to maintain mobility, flexibility and strengthens the muscles, which are all important for managing this condition.  

As well as physical benefits, exercising can positively affect mental health by reducing stress levels and helping to improve mood. Additional benefits include:  

  • Improved circulation and decreased swelling  
  • Reduced pain and stiffness in muscles and joints  
  • Increased energy levels and improved sleep quality  
  • Enhanced balance and coordination
  • Improved breathing, heart health and digestion  
  • Strengthened core muscles 

Exercising with peripheral neuropathy can be challenging, but with the right guidance and support, it can be rewarding and beneficial for managing this condition. Talking to your doctor or physical therapist before starting any new exercise routine is important. They can advise you on what exercises are best suited to your individual needs and goals.  

How Physical Therapy Benefits Peripheral Neuropathy Patients 

Physical therapy is an important part of managing peripheral neuropathy. A physical therapist can help develop an individualized exercise plan tailored to your needs and goals. They can guide proper body mechanics, stretching techniques and the type of exercises that are best suited for you.  

Physical therapists can also provide education about lifestyle modifications such as nutrition, ergonomics and stress-reduction techniques. These modifications can help improve overall health and wellness and reduce the risk of future injury or pain.  

They can also provide assistance with orthotics, braces and other assistive devices that may be beneficial for managing this condition.  

Conclusion 

Exercising with peripheral neuropathy can be beneficial for managing this condition. With the right guidance and support, it is possible to find activities that are safe and enjoyable. It is important to talk to your doctor or physical therapist before starting any new exercise routine so that you can develop an individualized plan that is specific to your needs and goals.  

Sources 

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