Exercises Help Arthritis Sufferers Manage Pain and Range of Motion
Arthritis sufferers experience a lot of pain, and the thought of exercising can be tough to overcome since performing routine daily activities can be discomforting. Sometimes, just getting out of bed in the morning can be difficult, but there are many studies that show exercise is the best non-medicine remedy for arthritis pain. In fact, exercises for arthritis sufferers is known to help them with joint mobility, muscle and tissue flexibility, and maintaining strong bones and cartilage.
Arthritis can affect one or more areas of the body, so it is important to be as specific as possible when talking to a doctor about the symptoms so they can properly diagnose the problem. The doctor can then develop a comprehensive treatment plan that includes exercise to help manage the arthritis symptoms. The doctor may also make a referral to a physical therapist who can help the arthritis sufferer make adjustments to their exercises and develop accommodations for daily living activities.
There are a variety of exercises a person who has arthritis can do to help alleviate problems caused by the condition such as:
1. Range of motion and balance exercises – These exercises include stretching, yoga, Pilates, and tai chi. Flexibility and mobility are affected by arthritis, and these exercises help to keep the joints functioning normally by conditioning them through gentle bending and straightening movements. These exercises can be performed as a complete routine or as a 10 to 15-minute warm-up to other exercises involving aerobics or strength training. A doctor or physical therapist may also recommend range of motion exercises that target specific parts of the body like knees, hips, back, shoulders, fingers, and hips.
2. Aerobic exercises – Aerobic exercises involve large muscle groups that are continuously moving for long periods of time that conditions the cardiovascular system. Jogging and running can put a lot of stress on the knees, ankles and feet, so it is recommended for people with arthritis to do low-impact aerobic activities like walking, biking, swimming or water aerobics, and yard work. Aerobic exercises along with a healthy diet are key to losing weight, and weight loss help to ease arthritis pain and increases mobility.
3. Strength training – Strong muscles help to stabilize the joints, so strength training is important for people with arthritis to do. Strength training does not require weight equipment or even a gym membership. Body weight exercises like push-ups, sit-ups, dips, and lunges can be done at home. The key to an effective strength training program is to start slow using light weights, then gradually increase the amount of weight being used. Also, do not lift weights or work the same muscle groups two days in a row.
Living with arthritis pain is difficult, and having a sedentary lifestyle only exacerbates the arthritis symptoms. Simple activities like house cleaning, yard work, walking, and stretching can be beneficial in improving joint mobility and overall physical conditioning. Arthritis affects people differently, and there is no one perfect exercise program that fits everybody with arthritis. Talking to a doctor or physical therapist is a good way to develop an exercise program that fits individual needs.