If you suffer from arthritis, the thought of exercising may fill you with trepidation. You may wonder if it will hurt or aggravate already painful, stiff joints. Actually, regular exercise helps to combat the pain and stiffness of arthritis. It’s inactivity that is your enemy, allowing range of motion to decrease and discomfort to increase. Exercising helps to build muscles, increase flexibility, and improve your mental health. Painful arthritic joints need muscle support. By building muscle strength, you are providing the support that your joints need. Additionally, people with arthritis are more likely to develop heart disease, so get your heart in shape with aerobic exercise.
The key to exercising with arthritis is to choose low to nonimpact exercises. The good news is there are a lot to choose from. Here are a few that you might want to explore:
· Swimming builds strength, endurance, and is nonimpact
· Isometric exercises build strength through muscle-tensing activities. They are nonimpact and require no equipment. They are a good option for those who find that lifting free weights is painful on joints. Isometrics do not involve the same movements as weight lifting and other resistance exercises. For an example watch this video.
· Stretching increases range of motion and is nonimpact.
· Yoga and tai chi increase range of motion, build muscle strength, improve balance, relax the mind, and are nonimpact.
· Biking is a great nonimpact exercise that builds muscle and endurance.
· Walking is a good way to develop an exercise habit. Walking is good for your heart and is low-impact. If you are bored with regular walking, look into ChiWalking, Nordic Walking, and Water Walking.
· Stair Climbing is a good endurance exercise that builds muscle and is low-impact.
· Dancing is a fun, low-impact way to build endurance, muscle strength, and flexibility.
· Resistance training, using elastic bands, free weights, or resistance machines, builds strength and range of motion through nonimpact exercise.
In addition to the above exercises, ask a trainer at your local gym to show you the low-impact and nonimpact exercise machines. If you are just starting out, make sure you consult your doctor about how much and what types of exercise are right for you. Then start slowly, doing a little bit each day with around 30 to 60 minutes of moderate exercise or as is recommended by your physician. If you are looking for a little company we organize the Healthy Legs Walking Group every Wednesday at Veteran’s Memorial Park right here in Hudson. There is no cost to attend and it is a great opportunity to get outside and meet others. Anyone from anywhere along the Nature Coast is invited to attend.
Fitness (Arthritis Today)
Types of Walking (Arthritis Today)
Other Exercises (Arthritis Today)