There are endless benefits to physical exercise, and you should keep up with regular physical activity—unless it is making your pain worse.
If you find that exercise makes your pain worse, take a break from that particular workout. If you can’t exercise at all because everything seems to make your pain worse, then take a break from working out until your pain is reduced or eliminated. You won’t make progress with Clinical Somatics exercises if your regular workouts are keeping you in pain.
If you feel that your regular workout is keeping you stuck in habitual posture and movement patterns, try something new! It can be difficult to make progress with Clinical Somatics exercises if you keep reinforcing old muscular patterns with your regular workout routine. So, mix up your workouts and try new activities that make you move your body in new ways.
If you practice yoga, you should read: Combining your Clinical Somatics and Yoga Practices.
The best way to keep up with regular exercise while reducing your risk of pain and overuse is by cross training—practicing different types of exercise on a regular basis. You should incorporate both aerobic exercise and strength or resistance training into your weekly workout schedule. I also recommend practicing forms of exercise that use your muscles in different ways. For example, if you love weight-lifting, do a short yoga routine a few times a week to elongate your muscles and improve your balance. If you’re a long distance runner, try swimming so that you can keep up your cardio fitness while taking strain off your legs and giving all the muscles in your body a gentle resistance workout. My personal recommendation is to incorporate at least three different types of exercise into your weekly routine.
Many people ask what time of day is best to practice Clinical Somatics, and whether to practice the exercises before or after their workout. I find it most beneficial:
To do my full Clinical Somatics practice (30 minutes) either after my workout or in the evening when I’m done moving for the day.
To also do a few exercises before my workout if I’m feeling particularly tight in a certain area of my body.
The most important thing is to stay aware of how you’re using your body during your workout. As you continue to practice Clinical Somatics exercises and improve your sensory-motor awareness, you’ll become increasingly aware of how you’re using your body when exercising. Ideally, you’ll be able to incorporate the things you’ve learned from practicing Clinical Somatics exercises into your workouts by using your body in more natural, efficient ways. Slower, less intense workouts can give you the opportunity to integrate what you’ve learned from your Clinical Somatics exercises because you have the time to focus on how you’re moving. If you are able to to this, then working out can enhance the progress you’re making in your somatics practice.