Arthritis is a condition that affects joint mobility and causes stiffness and pain due to degeneration of connective tissue as a person ages. There is no doubt that exercise is vital for everyone; however, research proves that exercise is essential for people with arthritis. It improves strength and flexibility, alleviates joint discomfort, and lowers fatigue. Of course, if your joints are already hurting and stiff, the notion of going for a brisk walk or cycling a few miles seems overwhelming.
However, you don't have to run a marathon or swim as quickly as an Olympic swimmer to help relieve arthritis symptoms. Even a little exercise can help you manage discomfort and maintain a healthy weight. Exercise keeps you moving when arthritis tries to paralyze you. Still not convinced? Continue reading...
Why is exercise so important?
Exercise helps maintain and improve your health and fitness while reducing joint pain. Exercise can help you with your current treatment plan by:
- Strengthening the muscles around your affected joints
- Assist you in maintaining bone strength
- Provide you with additional energy to go through the day
- Make it easy to sleep well at night
- Assist you in keeping your weight
- Improve your quality of life
- Improve your equilibrium or balance
Contrary to popular belief, exercise does not trigger flaring up your arthritic symptoms, such as joint pain and stiffness. A lack of activity does. This is because maintaining the strength of your muscles and surrounding tissue is critical to preserving bone support. Lack of exercise weakens those supporting muscles, putting additional strain on your joints.
A review published in the Cochrane Database System in April 2017 examined the effect of physical exercise on chronic pain and found evidence of overall health benefits — with the caveat that additional quality research is needed. The researchers found a minimal downside to exercise, and the practical benefits of remaining active include more excellent physical function, decreased severity of pain in joints and other regions, and increased quality of life.
Exercises for Arthritis
Your doctor will advise you on range-of-motion exercises, strengthening exercises, aerobic exercises, and other activities to help you manage pain.
1. Range of motion exercises
These exercises help to reduce stiffness and improve your ability to move your joints over their whole range of motion. These movements might involve lifting your arms over your head or rotating your shoulders forward and backward. These exercises may usually be done daily and do not require much effort, and that's why they are a great way to begin your exercise journey.
2. Strengthening exercises
These workouts help you build strong muscles that protect and support your joints as you move throughout your body. If you're looking to maintain or improve your muscular strength, try weight training. Remember to avoid working out the same muscle groups on consecutive days. Rest a day in between workouts, and take an additional day or two if your joints are uncomfortable or swollen.
A three-day-a-week program will help you jump-start your development when starting a strength-training program. However, if you start exercising twice weekly, you will begin to feel a huge difference.
3. Aerobic activity
Aerobic and endurance workouts improve general fitness. They can help you lose weight, enhance cardiovascular health, and offer you more stamina and vitality. Walking, biking, swimming, and utilizing an elliptical machine are low-impact aerobic workouts that are gentler on your joints.
Try to increase your weekly aerobic activity to moderate intensity. Start with a thirty minutes session and if it's easier on your joints, increase the duration by ten-minute per session of exercise.
Moderate-intensity aerobic exercise is the safest and most beneficial if done three to four days a week. You should be able to talk without being breathless during exercise to determine if you are in the moderate-intensity exercise zone. Even if your respiratory rate is elevated, you should be able to maintain a steady pace.
Go for higher intensity exercise once you have maintained the moderate level for a few months and as your body permits.
Any movement, no matter how tiny, can be beneficial. Mowing the lawn or walking the dog are all examples of daily tasks.
For example, gentle yoga or tai chi can help you improve your balance, reduce falls, enhance your posture and coordination, and encourage relaxation. Make your doctor or therapist aware of your condition and avoid postures or exercises that may cause pain.
Tips for Protecting Your Joints
If you don't have an active lifestyle, start carefully to ease your joints back into it. Pushing yourself too hard might overwork your muscles and aggravate joint discomfort.
Consider the following suggestions as you begin:
Maintain a modest impact. Low-impact workouts, such as stationary or recumbent bicycles, elliptical trainers, or water exercise, can keep joint tension at bay as you move.
Turn on the heat. Increased temperature can relax your joints and muscles and ease any discomfort you may be experiencing before starting. Warm towels, hot packs, or a shower should be administered for around 20 minutes and be friendly, not excruciatingly hot.
Begin slowly. Warm up your joints by moving them lightly at the beginning. You might start with five to ten minutes of range-of-motion exercises before moving on to strengthening or cardio workouts.
Slow down. Slow and gentle motions are ideal for exercise. Pause if you are in pain. Sharp discomfort and pain more intense than ordinary joint pain may suggest something is amiss. If case there is swelling or redness in your joints, slow down.
Icing. Applying ice to your joints for up to 20 minutes after activity, mainly if the action creates joint swelling.
Trust your senses. Trust your gut and avoid exerting more energy than your joints can tolerate. Take it slow when you start and gradually increase the time and intensity of your workouts as you develop.
Dos of exercising
Consult your doctor first.
- Consult your doctor about including exercise in your treatment plan. The ideal workouts for you will depend on your kind of arthritis and the joints affected. Your doctor can help you select the workout regimen that will provide you with the most significant benefit while causing the slightest irritation to your joint discomfort. Your doctor may also refer you to a physiotherapist advising selective exercises and a customized plan to manage your arthritis.
- Check with your doctor about arthritis exercise programs in your region. Special programs are available at several hospitals, clinics, and health clubs. In the United States, the Arthritis Foundation offers arthritis exercise programs. Programs include water and land workout sessions, as well as strolling groups.
Don'ts of exercising
Don't overdo it.
- You may feel sore after exercising if you haven't been active in a while. If you're hurting for more than two hours after exercising, you overdid it. Discuss with your doctor what pain is typical and what pain indicates something more serious.
- Ask your doctor if you should exercise when you have flares or if you have rheumatoid arthritis. One alternative is to work through joint flares by performing solely range-of-motion exercises or exercising in water to cushion your joints.
Exercise helps to maintain joint flexibility and strength. It can also assist you in losing weight, which relieves strain on painful joints. These easy Cured.com exercises can help restore joint health and mobility if you have common problems. However, you must consult your doctor before beginning a new fitness regimen to ensure that you do so safely.From the Web