Exercise to Ease Arthritis Pain
Move It to Lose It: keep arthritis pain at bay by staying active
Arthritis affects around 52.5 million people in the US alone. That’s a large group of people that find themselves aching more than they used to. For many, it can be tempting to soothe your pain by avoiding exercise.
That mindset has proven to be folly, however. Several studies have shown that remaining sedimentary for too long can actually worsen your arthritis symptoms. It can be too easy to begin a cycle of avoiding physical activity as a form of pain management, becoming more stiff and achy due to lack of movement, and then further avoiding exercise because your joints have become too painful.
While working out will not cure your arthritis, the benefits are still substantial. Instead of furthering the pain in your joints, exercise has been shown to delay the worsening of arthritis pain. Introducing the right amount/kind of exercise into your life can improve:
- Pain management
Joint specialists generally will now recommend light to moderate exercise several times a week. The CDC suggests a combination of aerobic and strengthening exercises for maximum benefit.
What are some low-impact exercises for adults with arthritis?
First and foremost, you should consult your joint health doctor about which exercises are good for you specifically. Pay attention to how your body responds to different types of physical activity. It’s normal to be sore for a day or two after exercising, but experiencing pain beyond that may be a sign that that particular exercise is not right for you.
Consider these 8 exercises for staying active with arthritis:
Yoga can help you improve your muscle strength, flexibility, and balance, while increasing respiratory endurance.
Tai chi involves slow, gentle movements and, like yoga, helps with mobility and balance.
Elliptical machines offer the cardio benefits of running without putting as much strain on your knees and ankles.
Taking a brisk walk on a flat surface is a great way to get your blood pumping without straining your joints. Rubberized asphalt tracks are great for this.
Walking in the pool
Walking laps in the shallow end of the pool is just as effective as walking on land, but is even milder on your joints.
Riding a bike on a flat surface (or using a stationary bike) is excellent cardio for those with arthritis, thanks to how gentle it is on your knees and ankles.
Just like walking laps in the pool, swimming offers the benefits of light exercise without putting you at risk of overworking your joints.
You should always stretch before and after your workouts. Depending on how long you exercise in one go, you may also want to stretch in the middle of your workout as well. Lightly stretching your limbs/joints helps keep you limber and prevents injury.
If you suffer from arthritis, work to stay as active as possible to help ease your symptoms. Talk to your arthritis specialist to learn more about exercises that you could try today.
SINA KASRAEIAN, MD
Board Certified by the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery and has extensive training in arthroscopy and sports medicine reconstructive procedures.