europathy is a condition that can cause numbness, tingling, and pain in the feet. It's not just an annoyance it can be debilitating. You might want to seek professional care for relief or find other ways to manage your symptoms at home. Neuropathy is often caused by diabetes, but it can also be caused by other conditions such as HIV/AIDS or nerve damage from surgery or injury. These eight exercises are designed specifically with neuropathy in mind and should provide some relief!
What is neuropathy?
Neuropathy is a disease of the peripheral nerves. Autoimmune diseases like lupus and diabetes may cause similar nerve damage from viral infections like shingles or herpes zoster, chemotherapy for cancer treatment, toxins such as lead poisoning or certain drugs, and vitamin deficiency (most commonly B12), metabolic disorders such as kidney failure or a genetic condition.
Symptoms of neuropathy depend on the type and severity, but may include numbness or tingling in hands, feet, legs, or arms; pain that is not relieved by over-the-counter medications; sensitivity to touch or temperature changes with skin color remaining normal; loss of automatic body functions such as breathing during sleep; loss of balance or coordination.
Can exercise reverse neuropathy?
Exercises for neuropathy are a great way to supplement other treatments and medication, particularly in mild cases that may not require medical intervention or surgery. However, it's important to note that exercising too much without allowing the body time to recover can do more harm than good by causing inflammation of the nerves which will only worsen symptoms.
Top 8 Exercises for neuropathy
Here are the five best exercises for neuropathy:
1. Tai Chi
Tai chi is a great way to gently stimulate and work out the muscles that support your joints. It also engages the central nervous system, which helps with balance, coordination, and breathing while increasing blood flow to those areas as well. Yoga: Much like tai chi, yoga will engage both the upper and lower bodies, providing gentle exercise for neuropathy sufferers.
Pilates is great for strengthening the core muscles which support your spine and back. This helps with balance, coordination, posture, and stability.
Watch the video for more details about the exercise:
3. Walking & Hiking
Both of these aerobic exercises are great for increasing blood flow to the limbs, which also helps with neuropathy symptoms by providing more oxygen, nutrients, and healing energy to those areas.
Just like walking or hiking, swimming is another gentle exercise for neuropathy sufferers that increases blood flow while warming up the joints.
5. Resistance Band Training
This is a great way to strengthen muscles in your arms and legs which will help with balance, coordination, posture, stability, and strength without causing too much stress on the body or overworking it.
Check the video below to learn about the benefits of exercising with a resistance band:
Bicycling is a great way to increase blood flow, provide gentle exercise for neuropathy sufferers, and stimulates the muscles in your legs, arms, and core giving you a well-rounded workout.
This aerobic exercise great way to increase blood flow, provide gentle exercise for neuropathy sufferers, and stimulates the muscles in your legs, arms, and core giving you a well-rounded workout.
8. Sitting Down Exercises
Any activity that gets you up out of bed or off of the couch can help with mild cases of neuropathy. This physical activity may seem silly, but it will make a huge difference in your overall health and neuropathy symptoms.
What food promotes nerve healing?
There are several foods that promote nerve healing. These include:
- Lean proteins
- Healthy unsaturated fats
- Fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidants, especially berries which also have anti-inflammatory properties
- Cruciferous veggies such as broccoli or cauliflower for sulfur compounds to support the nervous system
- Beans high in fiber to improve blood circulation, including kidney beans for vitamin B complex for nerve repair
- Whole grains for extra fiber and essential fatty acids to support the nervous system
Prevent neuropathy with these tips
While neuropathy is not reversible, it can be prevented. There are several things you can do to prevent the onset of this condition, including:
- Quitting smoking which increases your risk for peripheral neuropathy (pain in legs, feet, arms) and other types of neuropathies as well because nicotine constricts blood vessels;
- Eating a healthy diet rich in essential fatty acids, lean proteins, fruits, and vegetables for antioxidants
- Exercising regularly increase blood flow which also strengthens the immune system
- Keeping your weight down, especially around the waistline where visceral fat can cause insulin resistance which leads to nerve damage from diabetes; Getting enough sleep at night to improve nerve function.
- Taking supplements including ginkgo Biloba, vitamin B complex, and alpha-lipoic acid to prevent neuropathy.
You can reduce the symptoms of neuropathy by getting regular exercise, eating healthy foods that promote nerve health and healing, quitting smoking if you are a smoker, keeping your weight down to reduce visceral fat around the waistline, which can cause insulin resistance in some people. Supplementing with ginkgo biloba, vitamin B complex, and alpha-lipoic acid can also help. Always remember to consult your doctor before starting an exercise or supplement regimen.