Embrace Arthritis Exercises that Reduce Joint Pain and Strengthen Your Body
Dealing with arthritis can be quite painful. The inflammation in your joints that arises from the lack of cartilage between your bones causes redness, swelling, creaks, and general discomfort. The whole situation makes you want to avoid any sort of movement because you don’t want to hurt.
But what if we told you that regular movement in the form of exercise can actually help reduce the pain you experience because of your arthritis? It’s true! By developing a regular routine that emphasizes deliberate movements that don’t over-extend your joints, arthritis exercises can take great strides toward resuming the active lifestyle you enjoyed before you received your diagnosis.
Choose multiple types of arthritis exercises over a single kind of exercise
As anyone with a regular exercise routine will tell you, variety is crucial to maintaining your interest in exercising as well as in strengthening your body on the whole. This applies doubly when addressing your joint pain, as finding a range of activities for the areas of your body with arthritis will keep things moving and fluid. Because the last thing you need to happen with a stiff joint is for things to calcify – literally and figuratively.
Let’s get moving!
Movement in general should be your guiding light, your rule of thumb. From there, focus your efforts on the area(s) of your body where your arthritis lives, taking care not to over-exert yourself, as you really need to concentrate on low-impact activity. For example:
- Walking or using the elliptical trainer helps people with mild to moderate hip and knee arthritis.
- Swimming is beneficial, as long as your arthritis isn’t severe in your shoulders.
- Yoga incorporates lots of stretching and simultaneous strengthening of the joints from the spine and core muscles to the legs and arms.
What arthritis exercises should I do to reduce pain?
Ultimately, we recommend that any exercise routine you develop – ensuring that you do so under the guidance of your physician – keeps the following objectives in mind:
1) Increase your range of motion
The goal should always be to improve the mobility and flexibility of your joints. Try arthritis exercises that push your joint as far as it can go comfortably and then try to push a just little bit farther. Our suggestions include:
- Hand stretches
- Chair stretches (especially with an elastic band)
- Leg lifts
- Hamstring stretches
The best part about exercises like these is that you can do them at any time, even if your joints hurt, as long as you’re gentle and patient with your body.
2) Strengthen your muscles
No, we’re not talking weight training, joining a gym, or buying costly equipment for your home. We’re talking about classic resistance training that uses your own body weight. Though, if you have access to basic hand weights (whether you already own them or can borrow some), those can be quite helpful as well. For example:
- Chair stands
- Dumbbell lifts
- Wall pushups
What matters is that you take the time to use the muscles around the joints where you feel pain so they can retain their abilities.
3) Increase your endurance
With the onset of arthritis, your natural instinct might be to do less because of the joint pain. And while it makes sense – no one wants to hurt! – the best arthritis exercises are those that help your joints build their endurance so they can do more throughout life. And it starts with basic, low-impact aerobic activities like:
- Water aerobics
- Elliptical machine
The goal of to strengthen your heart and lungs, which will always help improve your overall health. We also suggest that you avoid high-impact activities that jolt your joints, specifically jogging and running.
4) Improve your balance
That’s right – improving your balance is great for your joints and for your overall health. Such arthritis exercises develop your core muscles so you place less stress upon the joints in your arms and legs when standing or moving.
Start with something simple like standing on one foot for 5 seconds and repeating on the other foot until you can do so for at least 30 seconds at a time. In time, you could eventually engage in practices that combine balance and the three objectives above for a true whole-body workout:
- Tai Chi
Finding helpful arthritis exercises is crucial to relieving both everyday pain and staving off the long-term effects of this chronic disorder. Since arthritis truly has no cure, it’s important you take advantage of any and all activities that can help you first improve and then extend your health.
To learn more about how arthritis can affect your body and what you can do to address this condition, please contact us today! We will be happy to explain your treatment options and then develop an exercise routine that’s right for you.