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Have you found any exercises that help with your AxSpA symptoms?

Exercise, movement, or physical therapy are important parts of treatment for people living with AxSpA spectrum conditions. If you're able to, exercise and movement offer great benefits, including posture improvement, joint mobility, and chest expansion. Whether you're in the pool swimming laps or aqua jogging, or practicing breathing techniques for wellness, share below how you enjoy moving your body and how it impacts your AxSpA!

  1. Yoga or stretching is my first option. Water excercises would be my second, except if I do one too many laps my back will hurt. Third is walking in moderation.
    I’ve tried lifting weights and doing situps but they haven’t worked great for my hips.

    1. Hi Monica! It's great to hear that yoga and getting in the pool can offer you some relief. How often in a week are you able to exercise or keep up with how you like to move? -Matt (Team Member)

    2. Sorry for the late reponse, just looking at it this day 🙁
      I try to at least do some exercise 4 times / week, and walking every day. Althought this past months yoga has been really painful for my back so I just stretch 🙁

  2. The number 1 thing that helps me is water exercise. This includes swimming laps and also any sort of underwater aerobics. I am a member of something called AQUA Studio in New York, an underwater cycling studio that offers low-impact cycling workouts in the pool. This has been tremendously transformative in my disease progression. Their other classes include basic underwater aerobics. The classes allow me to burn calories, reduce my bad cholesterol, lose weight (which is better for my joints), get better sleep, find more energy, and gain mobility. And because water is so cushion-y, it’s low impact. I never leave feeling hurt or like I’ve made things worse.

    Sadly, because of COVID, the studio is at risk of shutting down. If it does, I will absolutely turn to another local pool or YMCA, as water therapy truly has changed the way I experience my disease. Without daily movement, especially low impact movement, I become stiff and unable to really enjoy life. My pain levels decrease with movement, too.

    Water is also curative in that provides a sort of natural, meditative environment. Humans natually gravitate toward water, which soothes us naturally (for thousands of years we’ve sought natural hot springs and seas and spas!) so water has the added mental health benefit as well. I believe that stress management is key in managing AS, so water exercise is a double win.

    1. Alongside my medication, exercise helps my AxSpA pain and stiffness significantly. When I go a few days without exercising, my pain worsens — so I exercise every single day that I can! Low-impact exercises are easier on my joints. I like to use moderate weights for lunges (front, back, and side), hip lifts/bridges, and bicep/tricep exercises. I also like to do core exercises like bicycles, dead bugs, and planks. On days when my pain is higher, I choose lighter exercises like bird dogs or clamshells. Most importantly, every time I exercise, I stretch afterwards! These are some of my favorite stretches to help my AxSpA pain:

      • Lie flat on your back with both knees bent and your feet placed wider than your hips. Then, slowly lower your knees to one side and to the other, rocking back and forth.

      • Lie on your back with your right leg out straight and pull your left knee to your chest. Slowly pull your left leg over to your right side until you feel a stretch in your back. Your left arm should be extended out to the side and resting on the floor. Repeat on other side.

      • Downward dog/upward dog

      1. I’ve found yoga to be the most helpful for my symptoms. Stretching is highly recommended by my Rheumatologist, so I find that yoga is a perfect activity. Yoga in the morning can help with my morning stiffness, along with some of the pains I wake up with every day. On days where I’m flaring, I’ve found that a few light stretches can help me out, but I make sure not to overdo it.

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