Exercising while afflicted with arthritis may sound counterproductive, but it actually relieves the pain and stiffness. Fortunately, you don’t need to engage in superhuman feats of athleticism to ease the symptoms. Here are some of the exercises that are effective in dealing with arthritis:
Surprisingly, building up your muscles will help support and protect joints that are affected by arthritis. In fact, according to research, strength training exercises like lifting weights and using resistance bands are just as effective as medications (if not more potent) for reducing the pain brought about by osteoarthritis. People with arthritis who engaged in weight training for 24 weeks improved their ability to function by up to 30 per cent.
Just remember to increase the intensity of your exercises gradually. If you feel pain or notice any swelling, stop and rest to avoid aggravating it. Consult a fitness instructor or physical therapist to find out how to safely do strengthening exercises.
Hydrotherapy is the use of a swimming pool to exercise and treat conditions such as partial paralysis and arthritis. The practice actually makes it easier on painful joints to perform exercises because of the water’s buoyancy. The water also provides a degree of resistance in moving your joints, building up your strength in the process. The warmth of the water also helps your muscles relax and relieves the pain on your joints. Some exercises you can do in the pool include walking, leg raising, and leg stretches while facing the wall.
These types of exercises involve moving your joints through their natural range of movement. Performing range-of-motion exercises would help alleviate stiffness and improve your ability to move your joints. Examples of exercises include rotation, bending, spreading, and movement of joints in your ankles, toes, legs, hips, fingers, and wrists.
Walking is usually the easiest type of exercise, even for people with arthritis. Aside from being an aerobic workout, walking is a form of weight-bearing exercise that helps ease arthritis symptoms. By putting your entire body’s weight on your bones and joints, walking helps bolster your bone density. Take note, however, that leisurely walking won’t cut it–you need to start at a pace that will make you pant slightly but still capable of talking. From there, gradually speed up the pace and increase your distance. Remember to use shoes with ample support.
Did you know that golf can be considered a range-of-motion exercise that can help with your arthritis? Golf can strengthen and improve the movement of your upper limbs, hips, spine, and lower limbs. It can also enhance your coordination and balance. But like any sport, make sure you warm up before playing. Since golf involves walking (see above), you’ll enjoy its benefits as well.
Biking, whether it’s moving or stationary, is a form of aerobic exercise that improves your cardiovascular health. What’s great about biking is that it’s low-impact and improves the stability and mobility of your knee joints. Better yet, you can still enjoy the benefits of biking even if you don’t know how to ride a bike or the weather is lousy: just get a stationary bike and you’re good to go (figuratively speaking).
Want to reduce stress, develop your balance, feel relaxed, strengthen your muscles, and improve your range of motion, all at the same time? Then try tai chi, a Chinese system of slow-moving, meditative exercises. Tai chi improves muscle strength and makes your joints more stable, reducing the pain from arthritis. Elderly students, however, should train under a qualified instructor because not all exercises are suitable.
Like tai chi, yoga is an excellent way to improve your flexibility and strengthen your joints. This helps prevent arthritis by reducing stiffness, allowing your joints to work normally. There are a number of yoga exercises that can help deal with arthritis. This includes shoulder stretches, single leg raises, wrist bending, ankle bending, and hand clenching. But before you start yoga, consult your physician to check for any restrictions. Additionally, you should take up yoga with the guidance of a qualified instructor to guide you on what is suitable for your condition.
Dancing is a form of exercise that improves flexibility and strength. But unlike other forms of exercise, dancing is actually more fun and social. Ballroom dancing, for instance, can improve your strength and flexibility, which can reduce the pain caused by arthritis. Belly dancing’s rolling and undulating movements, on the other hand, can improve the mobility of your joints, enhance your bone strength, and make your knees more flexible.