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Exercise has many advantages for people with arthritis:
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.
Exercise leads to:
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.
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.
To safely enjoy the benefits of exercise, keep the S.M.A.R.T. tips in mind:
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.
Symptoms of the disease, such as pain and stiffness, may appear and disappear periodically. Modify your physical activity according to your symptoms.
Avoid activities that put pressure on the joints. Therefore, the probability of injury is reduced.
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.
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.
Doing stretching exercises in the morning can be very useful in reducing arthritis pain. The benefits of stretching exercises for people with arthritis include:
The symptoms you have and the type of affected joint determine the stretching routine.
A standard stretching routine may include:
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.
Water exercise is a good way for people with arthritis to:
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.
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:
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:
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.
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:
Be sure to see your doctor or your physical therapist in the following cases:
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.