A common thought is exercise will increase pain or cause more problems. In fact, regular structured and graded activity can decrease pain and increase function.


Inactivity can lead to weight gain, joint strain, muscle tightness, fatigue and wider health issues.

10 benefits to increasing your activity

  1. Increases muscle strength
  2. Improves flexibility/movement
  3. Increases endurance and stamina
  4. Releases natural pain killers (called endorphins) in your body which controls pain
  5. Helps to improve sleep
  6. Helps to prevent constipation
  7. Helps with weight control
  8. Helps combat depression and anxiety
  9. Reduces fatigue and increases energy
  10. Reduces muscular tension and stress

Tips to think about 

  • Always talk to your doctor before starting an exercise program.
  • Start slowly and pace yourself. Exercise is best done for short periods of time frequently.
  • Increase the duration or intensity of any activity by no more than 10 per cent at a time.
  • Find activities you enjoy.
  • Be persistent and patient. It takes practice to balance the activity while monitoring your pain. Don’t be discouraged if you have a setback.
  • Talk with your physiotherapist or occupational therapist to design a program tailored to your needs.

Getting started

Gentle Movement sessions teach how us to feel safe to move again. Live streaming sessions are available through Pain BC. Each session is led by physiotherapists and other therapeutic movement professionals and are designed to help people with persistent pain learn to feel safe to move again. Topics include breath awareness and regulation, body tension regulation, and movement and relaxation techniques in both seated and standing positions. Each class is approximately 50-65 minutes in duration.


YMCA offers a series of videos for gentle seated exercises (Gold Series) with a focus on those who have limited mobility or have been inactive.


Swimming is a gentle, low impact exercise that is easy on sore muscles, joints and bones.  Join a water aerobics class at your community centre. Some classes are designed specifically for people with back pain or arthritis.


Gentle restorative yoga can help decrease pain, increase function and improve your overall mood and well-being. It is more than just stretching. It involves relaxation, body awareness, breathing, gentle movements and meditation. Join a class at your local community centre or try a yoga DVD at home.