Roger Sims from www.locostmedicalsupply.com shares that arthritis sufferers experience joint pain that can make some physical movements difficult. You may worry that exercising with arthritis will only intensify your pain and possibly cause more joint damage.
Research shows that staying active and engaging in exercise can be helpful for maintaining mobility and managing pain. During exercise, there may be some initial mild pain that will recede as you start to improve your muscle strength, joint lubrication, circulation, and range of motion.
If you have arthritis and plan to use exercise as part of your wellness plan, participate in activities that will still be gentle on your joints.
As you use exercise to manage arthritis, start with the more gentle options and increase your activity over time to check your limits. If you experience moderate or severe pain, take a break from exercise and possibly consult with your doctor.
This guide highlights some of the best exercises for arthritis sufferers.
Exercises for flexibility allow arthritis sufferers to maintain or extend their range of motion. These gentle stretching movements can help ensure your joints will extend through their full motion. Stretching also helps to keep joints lubricated, which further enhances your range of motion.
Flexibility exercises are recommended for daily use. If you are using an exercise routine, stretching is a necessary warm-up.
During a stretching session, start with dynamic or active movements. Dynamic movements mimic those in particular sports activities. For example, if you intend to go running, practice some lunging movements as part of your warm-up.
Use gentle and rhythmic movements as part of a dynamic warm-up stretching session. These dynamic movements will prepare the body for activity by increasing blood flow and muscle temperature. Practice stretch and hold movements only after an initial five-to-ten-minute active warm-up.
Stretching at the end of an exercise session will also be helpful for flexibility. During this time, your muscles are still actively ready for this type of motion.
One great flexibility exercise is yoga. This is slow and gentle. It can help to increase your range of motion and does not place much stress or pressure on your joints. You may also find it emotionally relaxing, which also provides great body benefits.
Also known as endurance exercise, aerobic exercises strengthen the heart and lungs. Such physical conditioning also builds physical stamina. Another benefit of aerobic exercises is that they can help to maintain weight, which will also ultimately put less stress on the joints.
Walking, jogging, swimming, and cycling are all good aerobic exercises. Indoor exercise equipment such as treadmills, elliptical machines, or a compact exercise peddler can also be used during aerobic exercise. Swimming is great because it helps you work out with no pressure on the joints.
Moderate aerobic exercise is recommended for 150 minutes per week. Vigorous aerobic exercise is recommended for 75 minutes per week. This can be divided out over the course of the week, such as 15 minutes of daily exercise.
Low impact exercises such as walking or cycling are typically better exercises for arthritis sufferers, compared to higher impact exercises. Use physical supports to promote safe walking. If you do select high-impact exercises (such as running), try doing those on soft surfaces.
Also, consider modifying activities to fit your comfort level. For example, if you take a cycling class and certain speeds are too much for you, match the speed that does work best. You do not need to keep up with others—pay attention to your body, and provide yourself what you need.
Exercises that improve and maintain muscle strength help support and protect joints. There are many types of activity that can help to strengthen muscles while still being gentle on joints.
Aquatic or water exercises are particularly helpful for individuals with arthritis. Water exercises involve standing in shoulder-height water to perform specific exercise movements. Water exercising for arthritis reduces the pressure of your body’s weight and protects the joints from uncomfortable pressure. However, it still allows strengthening exercise that will ultimately be helpful to strengthen the muscles and support joints.
Walking is another great example of a muscle strengthening exercise. Walking does not require any equipment. It can also help maintain bone density, which lowers the risk of fracture. Walking has many other benefits, including helping to prevent heart disease, lowering blood pressure, strengthening the heart, and increasing circulation. Walking can also be a calming outdoor activity.
Lifting weights may be another good option. Weight training improves energy and muscle tone. Small weights (just two or three pounds for women and five to eight pounds for men) are best. Ankle weights may be a good alternative if arthritis in the hands makes hand weights uncomfortable.
Weight training can be done in just two or three 20-30-minute sessions per week. During a weight training session, eight to twelve reps will usually be enough for the results you want. This will work the muscle to an appropriate point of fatigue.
During weight training, when lifting dumbbells, for example, you will want to lift slowly and smoothly. You can count up to four and down from four during each rep. Avoid locking (or fully straightening your limbs) because that can cause stress on the joints.
Resistance bands are another option for strength training. This is a method using your own body weight. Resistance bands are cost-effective exercise equipment, and they do not require any space. You can even toss them in a suitcase to take wherever you travel. There are many specific techniques you can use to work out muscle groups.
During strengthening exercises, such as weight training, you can address all the major muscle groups, including the larger muscles. Use exercises for opposing muscle groups (such as the quadriceps and hamstrings of your thighs).
If you have arthritis in the upper body, you will want to avoid exercises above your shoulders. If you have arthritis in the knees or hips, you may want to consider a leg pressing machine.
Give your body at least a day break between strengthening training sessions, for recovery. In as little as six months, you may see a significant increase in strength.
There are a variety of good exercises for arthritis sufferers. It can be helpful to incorporate different types of exercise into your exercise routine. This can help maintain full body functioning. Select exercises that are comfortable and enjoyable.
Also, take good care of your body between exercise sessions, giving yourself time and physical care to recover. This is also an important part of the exercise process and promotes body benefits. Your recovery regimen may include hot therapy and cold therapy.
Finally, it is important to also consult with your doctor or physical therapist when considering an exercise regimen, to make sure it matches your physical health and capabilities.