Two-minute Exercises for Pain Relief

Get tips for trying simple two-minute workouts that can help relieve your arthritis pain.

By Mary Anne Dunkin

Think you can’t fit exercise into your busy day? Think again. A study shows that just two minutes of exercise daily is enough to ease pain. In the study of 198 office workers with frequent neck and shoulder pain, those who completed two minutes a day of resistance exercise with elastic tubing experienced relief similar to those who completed 12 minutes of daily exercise.

Although the study did not focus on people with arthritis, Duke University physical therapist, Cynthia Harrell, PT, who specializes in arthritis, says short bouts of exercise can strengthen muscles and relieve pain and stiffness due to arthritis. And even two minutes can be broken up into smaller chunks of different types of exercise that can give your whole body a boost.

Two-Minute Workouts

  • Breathe deeply through your belly; 30 to 60 seconds.
  • Stretch hamstrings; 30 seconds.
  • Stretch calves; 30 seconds.

  • Squeeze a ball between knees; 5-second squeezes, for 60 total seconds.
  • Perform seated straight leg raises; 30 seconds each leg.

  • March in place; 30 to 60 seconds.
  • Walk forward and backward; 10 steps each way.

  • Circle arms backward; 30 seconds.
  • Moving your arms on a tabletop as if you're doing the breaststroke; 60 seconds.
  • Perform wrist circles, wrist bends (up and down), and open and close fingers; 10 seconds each.

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