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Being Sedentary

When you have nagging aches and pains, exercising may be the last thing you feel like doing. “Often when people have chronic pain, they’re afraid that physical activity will make the pain worse,” says Jeffrey Gross, M.D., a clinical associate professor of rehabilitation medicine at the New York University School of Medicine. But being inactive can backfire, and lead to stiff muscles and joints, as well as shortening of the muscles and tendons, which can worsen pain. By contrast, using your muscles normally can improve your ability to function, which can reduce your pain.

Solution: Get moving in some way (walk your dog, dance, ride a bike) as often as you can. If you have arthritis in your lower body, try swimming or water aerobics; the water’s natural buoyancy cushions the joints. Whatever activity you choose, start at a comfortable pace, rest as needed and gradually increase the duration or intensity of your workouts.

(Credit: Garry Wade/Taxi /Getty Images)
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