We all know exercise can improve your overall health and well-being, but did you know that another significant advantage is that it can decrease inflammation in the body? Let’s explore the ways regular physical activity and stretches for upper back pain can do this!

What Causes Inflammation in the Body?

Inflammation is your immune system’s way of helping you fight infections and heal injuries. When the body senses something wrong, it sends white blood cells to the area to fight off the perceived threat and repair damage. The process will cause swelling, redness, heat, or pain.

Inflammation is a normal and necessary process in the body, but chronic or excessive inflammation can be harmful and cause damage. Speak to your healthcare provider if you think you may have chronic inflammation, and they will determine if it’s from an underlying condition that needs medical attention.

Some of the causes of chronic inflammation include:

  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Untreated acute inflammation
  • Exposure to toxins
  • Obesity
  • Pro-inflammatory diet

Side Effects of Chronic Inflammation

When this response persists over time, it can lead to several negative effects on the body. Some of these symptoms may not be explicitly caused by chronic inflammation but rather by any underlying issues that may be present. You may experience one or more of these side effects if you leave chronic inflammation unaddressed:

Pain and Stiffness

The chemical and cellular changes that occur in the body during an inflammatory response can result in pain and stiffness in the affected area. It puts pressure on the nerves and makes it more difficult for your muscles and joints to move smoothly. Chronic inflammation also causes certain immune cells to accumulate, which can break down and damage the surrounding tissue.


Those with chronic inflammation may feel fatigued during the day. This happens because chronic inflammation may lead to insomnia, sleep disturbances, and overall poor sleep quality. You may also feel more irritable and have mood swings throughout the day.

Increased Risk of Chronic Diseases

Chronic inflammation has been linked to an increased risk of developing other chronic diseases and autoimmune disorders. This is because it creates an environment in the body that is conducive to the development of these conditions. Some chronic diseases linked to chronic inflammation include:

  • Heart disease
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Asthma
  • Cancer

Skin Problems

Chronic inflammation can affect the skin’s ability to function properly. The inflammatory response can cause changes in the skin’s structure and function, leading to various skin conditions such as acne, eczema, or psoriasis. All these skin conditions are caused by the accumulation of immune cells and the release of inflammatory chemicals in the affected area.

Digestive Problems

Another side effect of chronic inflammation is a loss of appetite, which can affect your overall health and cause digestive problems. Other factors that may contribute to chronic inflammation in the gut include a diet high in processed foods and sugar, chronic stress, and bacterial imbalances in the gut.

How Does Exercising Decrease Inflammation

Regular exercise has been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects on the body, reducing chronic inflammation. Exercise increases blood flow to the tissues, delivering oxygen and nutrients to the cells and removing waste products. It’s also known to help improve the functioning of the immune system and reduce inflammation. Exercise also helps reduce some of the common factors that cause inflammation, including stress, excess weight, and insulin sensitivity.

What are the Best Exercises for Reducing Inflammation?

Not all types of exercises have the same anti-inflammatory effects. Certain activities can be more effective than others. Before starting an exercise program, consult your healthcare provider, especially if you have any chronic conditions.

Below are a few of the best exercises that can help you with chronic inflammation:


Aerobic exercises are the most effective in reducing inflammation in the body. The amount and intensity needed to reduce inflammation may vary depending on your current health status, so you’ll want to consult a doctor before starting a new aerobic exercise program.

These activities increase the following:

  • Swimming
  • Cycling
  • Running or jogging
  • Cardio machines


Walking is low-impact and easy to do, making it an ideal activity for reducing inflammation. Besides increasing blood flow and reducing stress, walking is also a weight-bearing exercise. This means it can ultimately strengthen your bones, joints, and muscles, which is important for reducing the risk of chronic inflammation.

Strength Training

Although aerobic exercises are more effective in managing chronic inflammation, incorporating some strength training can also benefit your overall health. It increases muscle mass, improves bone density, and regulates immune function. All of this and more can help improve your metabolism and reduce inflammation.


Yoga has also been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects on the body. Studies have found that regularly practicing yoga can decrease the levels of inflammation markers in the body, including c-reactive protein and interleukin-6. It can also help improve your overall health and well-being by reducing stress, promoting better sleep, and improving muscle strength and flexibility.

Bodyweight Exercises

You don’t need an exercise machine to get a full-body workout! Bodyweight exercises can also strengthen and promote blood flow and oxygen to the muscles and joints. The increased blood flow can bring in nutrients that help reduce inflammation, and stronger muscles and joints can reduce the risk of an injury and further inflammation.

If you’re just starting out, you can always modify these bodyweight exercises until you build up your strength and endurance. Below are some good activities to get you started:

  • Push-ups
  • Squats
  • Lunges
  • Planks
  • Bridges

Mobility Exercises

Mobility exercises are designed to improve your range of motion and flexibility and often utilize foam rollers. Additionally, they can also help break up adhesions and scar tissues around joints and muscles, which generally restrict movement and contribute to inflammation. Other examples of mobility exercises include stretching and self-myofascial release.

Other Tips for Reducing Inflammation

As you can see, aerobic exercise is ideal for reducing chronic inflammation. However, there are some other ways that can help even more. Incorporating these lifestyle changes into your workout routine will surely reduce inflammation in the body.

Below are a few tips you can try:

Eliminate Chronic Inflammation with Movement and Stretches for Upper Back Pain

Exercise is a powerful tool in the fight against chronic inflammation. Whether you want to reduce chronic pain, improve your overall health, or just feel better about yourself, incorporating aerobic exercise into your daily routine can help.


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