Having arthritis can feel like a debilitating experience. It can cause joint pain in various areas of the body and reduce your ability to move around and even exercise. Doing specific arthritis exercises can help you increase your range of motion, reduce pain, and prevent further damage.
Exercise and arthritis
First, let’s define arthritis. Arthritis is joint pain and stiffness. It’s often caused by inflammation in the body or the wearing away of cartilage between the bones. This is why it can cause chronic pain.
To reduce pain, arthritis exercises are some of the best methods. It’s a holistic approach that’s safe for the body. Doctors may recommend both losing weight and exercising as a way of improving the effects of arthritis. Extra weight causes inflammation to the joints. An extreme measure can be joint replacement, but other methods of pain relief should be taken first.
How exercise reduces arthritis pain
Exercise for arthritis is helpful because:
- it decreases inflammation in the joint
- it helps the joints become more mobile and have a better range of motion
- it improves joint function and decreases pain
This is especially effective for people with minor arthritis. If somebody has arthritis that’s far along, exercise will not eliminate the need for surgery, but it will delay it.
Exercise decreases the erosion of the joints and increases the amount of muscle that supports the bones. This is what relieves pain. Arthritis exercises can be uncomfortable. With arthritis it’s best to exercise with a fitness coach who can understand your limits and knows what they’re doing. You can start with physical therapy and then use a trainer like Fitness Coaching.
The goal of exercising with arthritis is to use the joint, but not to overuse it. Gentle exercises are often best, like balance exercises. You can also try out the static lunge in our Achy Knees Series. You can not only practice balance with lunges, but you can hold onto chairs for an additional safety factor so you’re not worried about falling.
Arthritis range of motion exercises
Range of motion arthritis exercises are like regular exercises. The difference might be that you would be working with a more limited range of motion. Bend the joint in a controlled manner as far as it will go comfortably. You’ll want to work with a professional to make sure the joint is stretched in a way that doesn’t increase pain.
And as with all exercises, you’ll want to move the muscle through a range of motion to warm up. It will help preserve joint function to warm up properly. Stretch in the beginning and at the end of your workout to increase circulation and physically warm up the muscles. This helps them be more pliable and able to move.
After warming up, work out in the way you usually would in safe ranges of motion. To understand what a safe range of motion is, you should consult a professional. It’s okay to work out to the point of discomfort, but not to the point of pain. At the end of your exercise routine, perform stretching exercises. Hold these static stretches for 10-15 seconds.
Swim to reduce pain with arthritis exercises
Another tip to aid in arthritis exercises is to use a pool. If you have access to an indoor pool, if you’re in a cold area, they’re great for range of motion. It gives you the ability to work with less pain. The water is provides resistance, but also provides buoyancy.
To learn more about how to exercise safely with arthritis, contact us today!