It’s fairly common knowledge that exercise is a critical component of a healthy lifestyle. Nearly all research speaks to the importance of doing some sort of physical activity to get the blood flowing and the heart pumping on a daily basis. But if you have a common medical condition that limits your range of motion or otherwise impedes your desire or comfort level with exercise, adding movement to your everyday routine may seem counterintuitive. Here are three common health issues that should include exercise as part of your treatment plan.

Woman running

Osteoporosis

Thinning of the bones, commonly referred to as osteoporosis, is a health condition that affects millions of individuals. The loss of bone density takes place as we age, but is more common in women than it is men. Although some heredity factors that causeosteoporosis are unavoidable, other lifestyle choices, like smoking, a low calcium diet, and excessive drinking can lead to a breakdown in bone strength over time.

Weakened bones lead to painful fractures, persistent backaches, and a noticeable change in posture, making exercise a far off thought for most who suffer from osteoporosis. However, research suggests that certain physical movements help boost bone strength, lessening the effects of the condition. Weight-bearing exercises, like walking and jogging, are helpful to build overall bone strength. In fact, women who walk at least one mile per day have an average of 5.5 more years of bone reserve than those who have a sedentary lifestyle.

Varicose Veins

Another common condition that plagues millions of adults each year is varicose veins – a weakening of vein walls which causes the blood to flow backward. When blood pools in the veins, it causes dark purple or blue veins that may also appear twisted or bulging beneath the skin. Varicose veins affect individuals different, with some experiencing achy, swollen limbs that lead to prolonged pain. A weakening of vein walls can be the cause of an unhealthy weight, pregnancy, intense heavy weight lifting, or unavoidable hereditary causes. Fortunately, there are a number of solutions to reduce the discomfort of varicose veins, including exercise.

An exercise prescription for varicose veins often includes activities that reduce the pressure on the veins. Swimming, for instance, forces the body to be supported by water instead of putting additional weight on the limbs. The gravitational effect of the legs being lower than the hear while in the water reduces swelling and discomfort, and puts far less pressure on varicose veins than running or cycling.

Arthritis

Within the U.S. alone, more than 50 million individuals suffer from arthritis on a given day. Unlike other common health conditions, arthritis is a compilation of over 100 joint issues and diseases that affect a people from all backgrounds and health statuses. Symptoms of arthritis may be persistent or sporadic, but most often show up as swelling, pain, stiffness and decreased range of motion around the joints. Individuals who suffer from arthritis may find it hard to believe that exercise should be part of their treatment regimen.

A focus on gentle workout routines is important for those suffering from arthritis, especially when joints are particularly achy or swollen. However, yoga tends to be beneficial for joint issues as it combines two essentially components of strength: relaxation and stretching. Yoga works to promote a healthy immune system while also encouraging mobility and movement. Individuals with arthritis should avoid intense yoga training, such as power or hot yoga, as to not put excessive pressure on bothered joints.

Exercise is a powerful aspect of a healthy lifestyle, even when you suffer from a common health condition like osteoporosis, varicose veins, or arthritis. While it may be a challenge to know what’s right for your specific medical conditions, planning to infuse physical movement into your routine is incredibly beneficial to your overall health. The exercises listed above are useful for most individuals, but remember to seek out the approval or recommendation of a qualified medical professional prior to starting a new workout routine.