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Safe Exercise Ideas When Living With Arthritis

Safe Exercise Ideas When Living With Arthritis

Safe Exercise Ideas When Living With Arthritis

Did you know that there are more than 100 different forms of arthritis? According to the Arthritis Foundation, the most common forms of arthritis are rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia and gout. If you are living with any of those types, then you’re familiar with the pain that accompanies them. You may also realize that attempting to exercise while experiencing that pain is difficult. However, if you are a resident of Southwest Wyoming, the following tips can help you maintain a good quality of life that includes a variety of exercises that reduce the pain.

Low Impact, High Results

Living with arthritis can present challenges in maintaining an active lifestyle. However, regular exercise is crucial for managing arthritis symptoms, improving joint flexibility, and enhancing overall well-being. By engaging in safe exercises tailored to your specific needs, it is possible to stay physically active and minimize pain and discomfort. Here are some safe exercises that can benefit people with arthritis:

  • Walking is a low-impact exercise that provides numerous benefits for individuals with arthritis. It helps improve cardiovascular health, strengthens muscles, and maintains joint flexibility. Start with short walks and gradually increase the duration and intensity. Use supportive footwear and consider walking on softer surfaces to reduce impact on the joints.
  • Swimming and water aerobics are excellent choices for individuals with arthritis. The buoyancy of water reduces the impact on joints, making it easier to move and exercise. Water also provides resistance, which helps strengthen muscles. Engage in gentle movements and avoid strokes that strain the joints.
  • Cycling is a low-impact exercise that promotes joint mobility without putting excessive stress on the joints. It strengthens the leg muscles and improves cardiovascular fitness. Consider using a stationary bike or choose level terrains to minimize joint strain.

Taking Safe Exercise to the Next Level

If exercise such as walking doesn’t feel like it’s having a great impact, it may be time to change up your routine. These exercises may be what you need to help improve balance while still maintaining a safe routine:

  • Tai Chi. Tai Chi is a gentle exercise that combines slow, flowing movements with deep breathing and relaxation techniques. It helps improve balance, flexibility and muscle strength while reducing stress. Tai Chi classes specifically designed for individuals with arthritis are available. Instructors can provide guidance on modifications to accommodate individual needs.
  • Yoga. Yoga offers a wide range of gentle stretching and strengthening exercises that can benefit people with arthritis. It improves flexibility, balance and posture while promoting relaxation and reducing stress. Look for arthritis-friendly yoga classes or follow online videos that modify joint-friendly movements.

Staying Focused, Gaining Strength

Despite concerns about joint strain, proper strength training can help alleviate arthritis symptoms and improve overall joint function. These options include:

  • Strength training. Engaging in strength training exercises can help support and protect the joints affected by arthritis. Start with light weights or resistance bands and gradually increase the intensity as tolerated. Focus on exercises that target the muscles around the affected joints, such as the shoulders, knees, or hips. Work with a qualified trainer or physical therapist to develop a personalized strength training program.
  • Range-of-motion exercises. Regularly performing range-of-motion exercises can help maintain joint flexibility and reduce stiffness caused by arthritis. These exercises involve gentle movements that take the joints through their full range of motion. Examples include wrist circles, ankle pumps, and shoulder rotations. Perform these exercises daily or as recommended by a healthcare professional.

Working Out While Remaining Safe

When living with arthritis, there are certain exercises that should be avoided to prevent exacerbating symptoms and causing further joint damage. High-impact activities, such as running or jumping, can place excessive stress on the joints and worsen pain.

Activities that involve repetitive, jarring movements like tennis or basketball should be approached with caution. Additionally, exercises that require gripping or twisting motions such as heavy weightlifting or racquet sports can strain the joints and lead to increased discomfort. It is crucial to listen to your body and avoid exercises that cause pain or excessive joint stress.

If you have arthritis, a skilled orthopedist at MHSC can guide you through suitable exercises that will help strengthen your joints. Find a provider today.