Anyone who has arthritis tries to live with the pain. The pain is accompanied by aches, stiffness, swelling and decreased range of motion in and around one or more joints. Winter tends to augment the condition. Most often than not, people afflicted by arthritis prefer to stay put but this backfires as the muscles and ligaments tighten up and the joints can’t bend as far as they used to. You burn fewer calories, put on weight and add more strain to your joints.
Research has shown that regular exercise is one of most helpful treatments for arthritis, be it in the elderly or in younger people. Work with your doctor to find the right exercise for you, and consult him or her about when you should skip it due to symptoms. Find time for exercise each day to prevent stiff joints, build muscle, improve endurance, and benefit your heart, bones, and mood.
We recommend finding an exercise routine that works for you and sticking to it like clockwork. Try these:
Yoga packs two great benefits. Using deep relaxation techniques, like yoga Nidra, promotes a healthy immune system and helps reduce joint inflammation. Plus, gentle stretching is great for maintaining mobility and movement. Make simple stretches a part of your daily routine as they help lubricate joints, enhancing and maintaining range of motion (the normal amount your joints can be moved in any direction).
Walking is a great bone-strengthening and aerobic activity. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends going at a moderate-to-hard intensity level — 60 per cent to 85 per cent of your maximum heart rate — three to five days a week and working up to a 30-minute session. You’ll build endurance if you walk longer, but it’s okay to do 10 minutes at a time.
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Walking from one side of a lap pool — usually 4-feet deep — to the other at a brisk pace is recommended for those with arthritis. The buoyancy of the water helps relieve pressure on your joints.
If you can do this, do. Low-impact aerobics burns calories without jarring your joints. If you’re just starting out, ease into it because you’ll be using all the muscles in your body and you don’t want to overdo things. Opt for a class that’s two days a week to help you get started.
Strength training is No 4 on the American College of Sports Medicine’s top 10 fitness trends for 2016. Those afflicted with arthritis can benefit too if they know their limits. Start by doing bicep curls with light hand weights, no more than 2 to 5 lbs., and build your endurance over time by adding weight and sets. Stronger muscles help you perform daily activities. You can also try this in the water — hold foam dumbbells in each hand, pull down, and let the weights slowly float up to work your arms, shoulders, chest, and back.