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10 minutes of Exercise Benefits for Chronic Pain and more!

Updated: Mar 7, 2023

The Side Effects of Chronic Pain & How just 10 Minutes of Exercise Can Help

Living with chronic pain limits what you can do. Chronic pain can interfere with your ability to work, play with your children, walk, or even take care of yourself. Pain can even cause what is known as disuse syndrome, which is the medical way of saying “use it or lose it.” To avoid pain, many people limit the amount of things they do in a day. Eventually, this causes weakness, which leads to even less activity, and a cycle is formed.

One's psychological state plays a huge role in the effect chronic pain has on your life. If you or someone you know has chronic pain, you may notice irritability, anger, depression, and difficulty concentrating. The psychological side effects of living with chronic pain can be as debilitating as the pain itself. This is what makes chronic pain such a complex condition.

Develop Coping Skills

While you may see a grim picture when you think of living with chronic pain, keep in mind that these are worst-case scenarios. In reality, many people continue to live healthy, productive lives in spite of their pain. This is because they have found ways to cope with the pain, either through medications, alternative treatments, or a combination of the two.


Don’t lose it; use it. Talk to your doctor or a physical therapist about a safe exercise program that is right for you. When you live with chronic pain, exercise helps you maintain your mobility. It also keeps your muscles active and your joints flexible, which alleviates the symptoms of chronic pain. Regular exercise also prevents disuse syndrome, a condition in which muscles become weak from inactivity. Weak muscles are more vulnerable to pain and can even cause other injuries.

Research on small amounts of exercise to be affective

For many of us, the end of the year is a season of reflection, recharging . . . and setting unrealistic health and wellness goals. Ideally, we’d all be healthier this year than we were last year, but constraints such as time, money, and maintaining professional and social aspects of life can make hitting the gym regularly more of a reach than we’d like.

But unless there’s a long race or sports competition in your plans for 2018, working outdoesn’t have to mean a sweat-inducing hour four to five times a week. As with most things in life, quality is more important than quantity, and consistency is key. Committing to just one ten-minute workout a day (and let’s be honest, we all spend at least that much time scrolling through our social media feeds) can do a lot more for your fitness level—and overall wellness—than you might expect. Here’s why.

1. It’s not just better than nothing.

There truly is power in positive thinking. Knowing at the end of the day that you did something good for yourself is more likely to motivate you to try again tomorrow than feeling bummed or guilty for letting your health fall to the wayside—again. When you choose a workout style that is engineered for a short period of time, you can still see and feel results. A quick morning yoga video may lead you to sit up straighter. You may sleep better after engaging in a HIIT workout. A new study published in Neuropsychologia found that just ten minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise (they used gym bicycles) significantly improves brain function. Your mind and body won’t change overnight, but when you choose to rejoice in these small successes, you set yourself up to do more good the next day.

2. You’ll get reenergized.

The struggle to get moving is usually more about the mind than the body. Sitting here right now, you may have a million reasons why today isn’t the day to get started. But once you get going, you find those excuses far less tempting. That’s because the immediatebenefits of exercise are well documented: Your mind is sharper, your self-esteem higher, your sleep deeper, your mood happier, and your skin rosier. Redirect the time you spend not feeling so great into feeling your best. For just ten minutes, it’s worth a shot!

Luckily, the internet is chock-full of options for everyone:

  • Easy ten-minute workouts for busy moms at

  • Quick workouts for yo-yo exercisers at

  • The best ten-minute workout videos (including one for the office and one for two people) at

  • For traveling, there’s a ten-minute airport workout video at FOX

3. You’re likely to keep going.

People often say that it takes twenty-one days to form a habit. The scientific reality is that it takes at least twenty-one days, and every person’s results will be different. Still, on average, you’re looking at about two months (sixty-six days) to get a new healthy habit to stick. Is it realistic to commit to three or four one-hour classes that involve travel and enough time afterward to shower right off the bat? Not for many of us.

Success hinges on setting the right expectations for you. When the goal is to make a lasting lifestyle change, jumping to an extreme can be counter-productive. If you make exercise resolutions that don’t stick, start with smaller, smarter goals. If you’re rarely working out now, take ten minutes of your lunch for a walk or tack it onto the end of every evening, even on date night. When you miss a day, don’t sweat it. As you reap the benefits of those ten minutes, you’ll be inclined to devote more time to your workouts. Trust the tortoise: Slow and steady is the way to win the proverbial (or literal) race if a walking or running routine is what you’re going for.


This is why my dears, it is important to schedule that time with your trainer or go to class. We put it off thinking it's the least important part of our day, or that we don't deserve that time because it's time away from our loved ones, or we feel selfish. Really it's the reverse! When you prioritize your time for you, you get energized, sleep better, your hormones regulate, your depression diminishes, you feel better, and because you feel better you are more able to be present for the ones you love. I know for myself when I don't exercise I'm cranky and I lash out. My husband is the first to notice. He doesn't deserve that negativity, and you don't deserve feeling like crap any longer.

Growing up in the competitive world of dance, I was told over and over to just push through the pain, ignore it etc. I can't tell you how detrimental that was to my health and self esteem. When I finally took care of my injuries I got my confidence back. Don't ignore your body. It's smart and it's trying to tell you something. Listen to it, because if you keep putting it off, it's only not going to get better, it will get worse and worse until you can't ignore it any longer leading to injury. Take it from me. Someone who has dealt with chronic pain since college. It's the hardest lesson to keep consistent and listen to your body and know you aren't being selfish. You are doing what is necessary :)

Take the leap. You deserve it.

Schedule your session or sign up for class today.

- Jessa Freeman

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