Staying active with neuropathy

Do you have neuropathy that interferes with your physical activity? Here are some tips to help you stay active.

It is very common for people who suffer from diabetes-related neuropathy to be afraid of remaining physically active or engaging in physical activity. However, exercising and being physically active can help you control your blood sugar and improves your overall wellbeing.

One of the first and most important steps before starting an exercise program (or even if you chose to remain physically active) is to talk to your doctor/health care team and make them aware of your exercise plan. Do not assume that your health care team knows what your plans are or what your lifestyle is. There could be other conditions that you may have that can hinder you staying physically active. Your physician can help you determine what exercise is best for you. It also depends on the severity of your neuropathy and what areas it’s affecting in your body.

Your healthcare team can help you choose exercises that fit in your lifestyle. They may suggest you try low-impact seated exercises that can improve your circulation and strength too. According to the Foundation of Peripheral Neuropathy (FPN), exercising regularly may reduce neuropathic pain. For exercises recommended by the FPN, click on the following link.

The FPN recommends that your exercise routine includes cardio and strength training exercises. For cardio, try walking or jogging. If that’s too painful, try swimming or water exercises or a stationary bike. The FPN also recommends balance exercises that will help you prevent falling, which is a serious concern for older adults. Also, don’t forget to stretch your muscles to reduce your chances of injuring your muscles in other activities.

Michigan State University Extension offers a Matter of Balance; a program designed to reduce the fear of falling and increase activity levels among older adults. For more information on a  Matter of Balance or on physical activity, please contact your local MSU Extension office.

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