Best Exercises For Arthritis Pain: All You Need To Know

Exercise has many advantages for people with arthritis:

  • Reduce pain
  • Improves joint function
  • Increase flexibility
  • Improve range of motion
  • Boost mood

If you have arthritis and plan to begin exercising, you should consult your doctor before any exercise program. You should also consult a physical therapist. Our physical therapists at the place of your residence will help you maintain an acceptable level of physical activity in spite of chronic pain such as arthritis. Although walking or exercising despite painful joints is a bit overwhelming, remember, you do not need to prepare for a marathon like a professional athlete. Even mild exercises for arthritis can lessen your pain and help you maintain a healthy weight. When arthritis endangers your mobility, exercise keeps you moving. Not convinced? Read on.


Why is exercise essential for patients with arthritis?

Exercise leads to:

  • Strengthens the muscles around the joint
  • Improves bones
  • Lose weight
  • Improve balance and quality of life

You may think that exercising leads to more muscle pain and stiffness, but this is not true. Conversely, you should know that not exercising can aggravate your pain.


Talk to your doctor or physical therapist first.

You need to consult your physician before making any changes to your treatment plan. The type of arthritis and which joints are involved play an important role in determining the exercise program. Your physical therapist can suggest the right treatment plan based on your condition with the least aggravation of your joint pain.


S.M.A.R.T. tips

To safely enjoy the benefits of exercise, keep the S.M.A.R.T. tips in mind:

  • Start low.

You should gradually increase your physical activities. If you are accustomed to a sedentary lifestyle, exercise three to five minutes two times a day. Then add more activities over time and increase your exercise time. Allow your body to adapt to the new level of physical activity.

  • Modify activity when symptoms exacerbate; try to stay active.

Symptoms of the disease, such as pain and stiffness, may appear and disappear periodically. Modify your physical activity according to your symptoms.

  • Activities should be compatible with the affected joint.

Avoid activities that put pressure on the joints. Therefore, the probability of injury is reduced.

  • Recognize safe ways to be active.

Choose safe and unobstructed places to exercise. For example, walk in an area where are free of obstructions, well-lighted, and separated from heavy traffic.

  • Talk to a physical therapist.

Your physical therapist is a good source of information about physical activity and can guide you about how much and what types of exercises are compatible with your abilities and health goals.


What are the best exercises for arthritis?


Exercises for arthritis: Stretching

Doing stretching exercises in the morning can be very useful in reducing arthritis pain. The benefits of stretching exercises for people with arthritis include:

  • Improve flexibility
  • Reduce stiffness
  • Increase range of motion

The symptoms you have and the type of affected joint determine the stretching routine.

A standard stretching routine may include:

  • Warming up for 3-5 minutes: walking in place or pumping the arms while sitting or standing.
  • Each stretch should be maintained for 10 to 20 minutes then released
  • Each stretch should be repeated for 2 to 3 minutes


Exercises for arthritis: Tai chi and yoga

Deep breathing, flowing movements, gentle poses, and meditation in yoga and tai chi help increase flexibility, balance and improve motion range. In addition to all this, these exercises are very useful tools to control stress.


Exercises for arthritis: Water exercises

Water exercise is a good way for people with arthritis to:

  • Build strength
  • Relieve pain
  • Ease stiff joints
  • Relax sore muscles

The buoyancy of the water leads to a feeling of lightness in painful joints. Therefore patients can move more freely in water than they can on land. In other words, the pool creates natural protection when you move your body through water, giving your muscles a suitable workout without the need for weights.

The heat of the water can help warm up the muscles and move easily if you exercise in a heated pool. You do not have to be able to swim to enjoy water exercise; you can walk cautiously in the pool on your own.


Exercises for arthritis: Biking

You might be surprised, but you can still ride a bike with arthritis. Cycling not only helps reduce the symptoms of arthritis but also improves the quality of life in middle age. Keep in mind that cycling is a low-impact exercise, meaning it reduces impact stress on weight-bearing joints such as the knees and feet. In addition, it helps lubricate the joints and reduces pain and stiffness. If you have just decided to go cycling, consult your doctor first, then consider the following:

  • First, do range-of-motion exercises for 5 to 10 minutes to warm up.
  • If you’re riding outdoors, use appropriate protective equipment.
  • Start to cycle five or ten minutes at a low resistance.
  • If you feel sharp changes, stop your practice. Talk to your doctor about what pain is normal and which sign is more serious.


Exercises for arthritis: Walking

Walking is one of the most important physical activities that people with arthritis should pay attention to.

How far and fast should you walk? The answer is clear any amount is better than none at all.

Remember the F.I.T. formula when walking:

  • Frequency (how often): Walk as much as possible every day. Otherwise, make sure you walk at least two to three times a week.
  • Intensity (how fast): You need to aim for moderate-intensity and be able to cover two to three miles per hour but don’t worry if you can’t. Build up to walking success. Try to speed up your heart and breathing rate as you walk.
  • Time (how long): Try to walk 30 minutes to an hour per day. Gradually increase your time to reach your ultimate goal.


Don’t overdo

If you have arthritis, talk to your doctor about whether you should exercise during general or local flares. Before exercising, talk to your physician about what pain is normal and what pain indicates a serious problem. You can work through your joint flares by doing only range-of-motion exercises, just to keep you moving, or do water exercises to cushion your affected joints. The range-of-motion exercises might include simple movements such as raising your arms over your head or rolling your shoulders forward and backward.


What should I do if I have pain during or after exercise?

It is slightly normal to have symptoms such as pain, stiffness, and swelling after starting an exercise program. It may take six to eight weeks for your joints to get used to your new activity level, but adhering to your physical program will lead to long-term pain relief.

However, if you experience severe pain during exercise, keep the following in mind:

  • If you have pain while exercising, adjust your exercise program. For example, you can exercise fewer sessions per week.
  • Change your type of exercise to put less pressure on the joint.
  • Do warm-up and cool-down properly before and after exercising.
  • Wear appropriate shoes while exercising.
  • Try to talk to others while exercising and enjoy exercising.

Be sure to see your doctor or your physical therapist in the following cases:

  • You experience sharp and persistent pain.
  • The pain lasts up to two hours after exercise, or your pain intensifies at night.
  • Your pain does not get better even with medication, rest, or hot or cold packs.
  • Swelling, redness, and inflammation increase.


Physical therapy near me in Las Vegas

Contrary to many people’s beliefs, exercising has significant benefits for people with arthritis and can be a complement to their treatment plan. If you or your loved ones suffer from arthritis pain, our physical therapists will help you step by step to gain the appropriate level of physical activity and improve your quality of life. So if you need to receive physical therapy, contact us to receive high-quality services in the safety of your home.

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