Exercise can assist to alleviate arthritis pain and stiffness.
Understand what is within your limits and what amount of exercise is likely to yield results before beginning an arthritis exercise programme.
Exercise is essential for persons suffering from arthritis. It improves strength and flexibility, alleviates joint pain, and lowers fatigue. Of course, when your joints are already stiff and aching, the prospect of going around the block or swimming a few laps may seem daunting.
However, you don’t have to run a marathon or swim as quickly as an Olympic swimmer to help relieve arthritis symptoms. Even light exercise can help you manage your discomfort and maintain a healthy weight. Exercise keeps you moving when arthritis tries to paralyse you. Still not convinced? Continue reading.
Why is exercise so important?
Exercise can help you improve your health and fitness while not causing joint pain. Exercise can help you with your current treatment plan by:
Muscles around your joints should be strengthened.
Assist you in maintaining bone strength
Give you more energy to get through the day Make it easier to obtain a decent night’s sleep Aid in weight control
Improve your quality of life
Improve your equilibrium.
Exercise will not increase your joint pain and stiffness, contrary to popular belief. In fact, a lack of activity can aggravate joint pain and stiffness.
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.
Consult your doctor beforehand.
Consult your doctor about including exercise into your treatment plan. The ideal workouts for you will depend on your type of arthritis and the joints involved. Your doctor or physical therapist can help you select the workout regimen that will provide you with the most benefit while causing the least amount of irritation to your joint discomfort.
Your doctor or physical therapist can advise you on exercises such as range-of-motion exercises, strengthening exercises, aerobic exercise, and other activities.
These exercises help to reduce stiffness and improve your ability to move your joints over their whole range of motion. These movements could include raising your arms above your head or rotating your shoulders forward and backward. These exercises can usually be done on a daily basis.
Exercises to build strength
These workouts assist you in developing strong muscles that support and protect your joints. Weight training is an example of a strengthening activity that can help you keep or gain muscle strength. 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 programme will help you jump-start your improvement when starting a strength-training programme, but two days a week is all you need to maintain your gains.
Aerobic and endurance workouts improve general fitness. They can help you lose weight, enhance your cardiovascular health, and offer you more stamina and vitality.
Walking, bicycling, swimming, and utilising an elliptical machine are examples of low-impact aerobic exercises that are gentler on your joints. Try to increase your weekly aerobic activity to 150 minutes of moderate intensity. If it’s easier on your joints, divide the duration into 10-minute increments.
Moderate-intensity aerobic exercise is the safest and most effective if done most days of the week, but even a couple of days per week is preferable than no activity. You should be able to carry on a conversation while exercising to determine if you are in the moderate intensity exercise zone, even if your respiratory rate will be increased.
Other activities Any movement, no matter how minor, can be beneficial. Mowing the lawn, raking leaves, and walking the dog are all examples of daily tasks.
Gentle kinds of yoga or tai chi, for example, can help you improve your balance, prevent falls, enhance your posture and coordination, and encourage relaxation. Make your instructor aware of your condition and avoid positions or exercises that may cause pain.
Tips for Joint Protection
If you haven’t been active in a while, start carefully to ease your joints back into it. Pushing yourself too hard might overwork your muscles and aggravate joint pain.
Consider the following suggestions as you begin:
Maintain a low impact. Low impact workouts, such as stationary or recumbent bicycles, elliptical trainers, or water exercise, can keep joint stress at bay while you move.
Turn on the heat. Heat can relax your joints and muscles and ease any pain you may be experiencing prior to starting. Warm towels, hot packs, or a shower should be applied for around 20 minutes and should be warm, not excruciatingly hot.
Move slowly. Warm up your joints by moving them gently at 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. Take a pause if you are in agony. Sharp discomfort and pain that is more intense than ordinary joint pain may suggest that something is wrong. If you experience swelling or redness in your joints, slow down.
Following that, ice. Apply ice to your joints for up to 20 minutes after activity, particularly if the activity creates joint swelling.
Trust your senses and avoid exerting more energy than your joints can tolerate. Take it easy at first, gradually increasing the time and intensity of your workouts as you progress.
Don’t overdo it.
If you haven’t been active in a while, you may have some pain after exercising. In general, if you’re hurting for more than two hours after exercising, you probably overdid it. Discuss with your doctor what pain is typical and what pain indicates something more serious.
Ask your doctor if you should exercise during general or local flares 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 routines for arthritis patients
Check with your doctor about arthritis exercise programmes in your region. Special programmes are available at several hospitals, clinics, and health clubs.
In many locations of the United States, the Arthritis Foundation offers arthritis exercise programmes. Programs include water and land workout sessions, as well as strolling groups. For further information, please contact your local branch.