Exercise being good for your health isn’t news, but did you know it can help fight inflammation? The proof is in the pudding—or on the treadmill, actually. Here are some of the easiest exercises to help fight inflammation.
Inflammation isn’t always a bad thing. It’s actually a vital part of your body’s immune response. It helps your body heal after an injury or illness, defends against foreign invaders like viruses and bacteria, and plays a role in tissue repair.
When inflammation is high and lingers for a long time, that’s when it becomes a problem because it can start to attack healthy tissues. Chronic inflammation is associated with diseases like cancer, diabetes, and heart disease—to name a few.
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Research shows that moderate-intensity exercise reduces inflammation and pain, and can help with mental and physical health issues. Better still is that there’s evidence that even just 20 minutes of exercise is enough. This can be any activity that raises your heart rate, from walking to gardening.
To help you reap these health benefits, here are five easy exercises to help fight inflammation:
Walking just 20 to 30 minutes at a moderate pace has been shown to reduce inflammation by five percent, according to a 2017 study. Walk on treadmill, take a walk during your lunch break, or pick up the pace while walking your dog. Even walking in place at a moderate pace while watching your favorite may help!
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2. Swimming activities
Swimming isn’t just a fun and easy way to exercise while sparing your joints, but also effective in reducing inflammation, stiffness, and pain, including in those with inflammatory conditions, such as arthritis. Can’t swim? Try water aerobics or even just walking in the pool’s shallow end.
Chronic stress has been linked to chronic inflammation, as well as other damaging health effects. There’s evidence that yoga and yoga breathing help reduce the damaging effects of both stress and inflammation. Spend just a few minutes a day practicing simple yoga poses or breathing techniques, like alternate nostril breathing, to help fight inflammation and keep your stress in check.
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Yes, dancing. Do it at a club, in a studio or workout class, or at home like nobody’s watching. Shaking your groove thang to your favorite music for 20 to 30 minutes isn’t just an inflammation-fighter, but oh-so-much fun! You don’t even need to know any actual dance moves; swaying in place and incorporating your arms is enough if it gets your heart pumping!
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5. Simple strengthening
Performing simple strengthening exercises, like arm curls or knee extensions, can help you reduce chronic inflammation. The beauty of strength training is that it can be done seated or standing, making it easy for all ages and those with mobility issues. You can add resistance to arm and leg movements using resistance bands, light weights, or even just your own body.
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You don’t need to engage in a high-intensity or elaborate workout regime to reduce inflammation through exercise. Just moving your body at a moderate-intensity for you is all it takes.
Adrienne Santos-Longhurst is a freelance health and lifestyle writer that has written for Healthline, Medical News Today and Verily Magazine just to name a few.