Arthritis pain is one of the most common reasons people give for limiting physical activity. But activity can be very helpful in reducing the pain and stiffness of arthritis. Appropriate exercises can increase flexibility and mobility of arthritic joints, help maintain body weight, and improve health overall.
What is arthritis?
Arthritis refers to a rheumatic disease that causes pain, stiffness, and swelling in joints and other connective tissues. There are many different types of arthritis, but the most common type is osteoarthritis. The knee, hip, and spine are the most common areas affected by arthritis.
What type of exercise is helpful and safe?
Studies have shown that exercise can reduce joint pain and stiffness, increase flexibility, and increase muscular strength and endurance. Before starting an exercise program, consult your physician about activities that should be avoided.
Range-of-Motion Exercises: Gentle exercises performed daily to maintain or improve range of motion around an arthritic joint.
Strengthening Exercises: Resistance training can help keep or increase muscle strength to help support and protect joints affected by arthritis.
Aerobic/Endurance Exercises: Aerobic exercises improve heart, lung, and muscle function. Moderate aerobic activity can help with weight control, mood, and general health and wellness. Remember to consult your physician and an exercise specialist on the best type of aerobic activity for your type of arthritis.
How to start an exercise program
1. Discuss exercise plans with your doctor.
2. Hire a qualified personal trainer or physical therapist to review proper exercises and technique.
3. Warm up with range-of-motion exercises.
4. Start a resistance program slowly with light to moderate weight.
5. Participate in appropriate aerobic activity most days of the week.
6. Rest if joints become painful and inflamed. Talk to your doctor to help find the cause.
7. Find something you enjoy and stick with it.
When do you know you’ve done too much?
Unusual fatigue, increased weakness, decreased range-of-motion, and increased joint swelling and pain are all signs that you might have overdone it. Seek medical advice to review your exercise program.
Exercise, along with a comprehensive arthritis treatment plan, can help decrease pain and increase quality of life. Take it slow for better health and ENJOY!
Remember: To be the example, you must live the example.
Health and happiness, Kriss