My physical activity: Key messages

PDF download is not available for Arabic and Urdu languages at this time. Please use the browser print function instead.

teen girl drinking water with basketball in foreground
  • Physical activity is a critical part of any chronic pain management plan.
  • Try to increase the amount of time you spend moving around (“uptime”), and limit the amount of time you spend sitting or lying down (“downtime” or sedentary time).
  • Uptime does not always have to be vigorous exercise; in fact, it should include walking to school or work, doing household chores such as laundry or playing sports.
  • Set gentle, SMART goals for physical activity and exercises. Start with activities that you enjoy and increase your activity gradually.
  • Plan your physical activity so that you take regular, scheduled rest breaks.
  • Do your best to stick to your plan, but be ready to change it if circumstances change. For example, if pain flares for a day or two, you need to modify your activity level on the plan or seek help to find out the right level of activity and how much discomfort is acceptable. Once you find an acceptable level of activity, try to stick to it, even if you don’t like how it feels at the time.
  • Your pain may (and probably will) increase while you're active, but you can do things to cope with pain or distract from pain to make this easier and help you stick to your plan.
Last updated: May 2nd 2016