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Exercise for Ankylosing Spondylitis: What You Need to Know

Exercise may seem unappealing when you have ankylosing spondylitis (AS), a form of inflammatory arthritis that can lead to spinal fusion. But not exercising can actually be more dangerous if you have AS.

In fact, people with AS who don’t exercise may experience more fatigue and pain because a lack of movement leads to decreased range of motion, stiffness, and muscle weakness. Staying active will not only help you manage the symptoms of AS but also help strengthen your spine for years to come.

Meanwhile cardio, like walking and swimming, can be just as beneficial as resistance training to strengthen your stabilizing muscles, said Darren Lebl, M.D.spine surgeon at HSS. “Cardiovascular exercise increases blood flow and oxygenation to tissues, diffusion of nutrients to joints and discs, and tones and strengthens supporting muscles. All of this leads to better musculoskeletal health and performance,” he explained.

Rule of thumb? Avoid activities that may cause you to feel pain and discomfort, cautioned Dr. Lebl. “AS patients should avoid activities that force excess motion. If an activity causes pain or discomfort, it is important not to push it and to back off because due to the inherent loss of motion with AS, it is possible to cause an injury if motion is forced,” he said.

Read the full article at Healthcentral.com.