Wednesday, January 08, 2020

The best, “joint-friendly” types of exercise for arthritis sufferers

Arthritis sufferers have to put up with severe joint pain on a daily basis, which can seriously affect their quality of life. In the long term, arthritis pain can affect mobility and joint movement, making it harder to get around or complete day-to-day activities. Thankfully, some arthritis sufferers can benefit from the numerous arthritis pain relief treatments and remedies, including CBD-infused topical treatments, natural pain relief solutions, and over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs.

Although these treatments do provide relief on their own, they are most effective when combined with good old fashioned exercise. However, physical activity can be no simple task for anyone with arthritis or joint pain. It is important to find exercises that are easy on the joints, but also provide all of the health benefits of a challenging workout, such as improving cardiovascular health, preventing the onset of diabetes, and keeping your weight in check.

In this article, we’ll discuss some arthritis-friendly exercise options that will get you up and moving without causing an arthritis flare-up.

What exercises should I focus on?

The type of exercises you perform is very important. Make sure that you focus on non-weight bearing activities, as these will put less stress on your joints. If any type of exercise causes pain or worsens your arthritis symptoms, make sure you stop and try to replace it with a more comfortable activity. Examples of arthritis-friendly physical activities include the following:

Swimming. Swimming is a low-impact aerobic activity, and one of the most beneficial physical activities for an arthritis sufferer. Swimming provides a whole-body cardiovascular workout, similar to running but much easier on your joints. You can try a medley of freestyle, backstroke and breaststroke to ensure your joint movements don’t become too repetitious. 

Walking. If you’d rather stay dry, try going for a walk instead. Walking is much better for your joints than running, and also a great excuse to get a dog! A brisk, 30-minute walk each day is a great way to ensure you’re keeping yourself sufficiently active. Walking on an incline can boost the intensity of your workout, but be careful coming back downhill as it can put added strain on knee joints.

Bicycling. If you live in a bike-friendly area, cycling around the neighborhood is a fantastic way of staying fit and healthy. Of course, you can also invest in a stationary bike if you don’t want to feel the wind in your hair – they’re cheap, don’t take up a lot of space, and you can watch TV while you exercise.

Yoga. The health benefits of yoga can’t be overstated. Yoga can help strengthen your muscles and increase your flexibility, which may help to reduce joint stiffness and ensure you can maintain a range of motion for daily activities. Some yoga poses can be a little hard on your wrists, so you may want to skip those ones. You can find some examples of arthritis-friendly yoga poses here.

New to exercising with arthritis? Here’s how to get started

Regardless of whether you’ve had arthritis for a while and are looking to become more active, or you’re just coming to grips with a new arthritis diagnosis, physical activity can be very beneficial to your condition if it’s done correctly. Here are some tips to make sure you start your exercise journey the right way.

Start small. It’s important to ease your body into exercise and get a feel for how much your joints can handle – obviously you won’t be jumping into marathon training right away. Try by starting with 5 minutes of exercise twice a day, then if everything goes well, increase to 10 minutes after one week. Continue to increase in small increments until you’ve reached your desired exercise level.

Listen to your joints. Everybody with arthritis knows that some days are more painful than others. Symptoms such as joint stiffness and pain, as well as fatigue, can vary based on diet, sleep, medications, the amount of exercise performed the day before and even the weather. Make the most of your “good days” by exercising, and take a break if you need to on the days when you are experiencing more pain.

Be flexible.
Don’t be afraid to modify your workout based on your symptoms. If something hurts, don’t do it, and if something feels good, do more of it! Remember that any exercise is better than none, so try to adjust your workout when your symptoms are worse so that you can still stay active.

Remember that some pain during exercise is normal – it’s not supposed to be a walk in the park. You may experience stiffness and swelling after you start a new physical activity, and it can take 6-8 weeks for your joints to adjust. Sticking to your new workout schedule is worth it though – you will become healthier, happier, and can hopefully enjoy some long-term pain relief from your arthritis symptoms.

This is a blog post by
Usama Aftab Chattha.

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