There are more than 100 different types of arthritis, and some 50 million Americans are diagnosed with this painful disease. One thing that all types of arthritis share is joint pain. It may seem counterintuitive, but exercise is one of the best ways to deal with the pain caused by arthritis.
At Apex Medical Center, our knowledgeable experts have helped numerous patients with arthritis develop exercise regimens that work for them and help control the pain associated with the disease. We’re happy to help you find a way to endure less pain, too.
In this post, we explain how exercise can help reduce the arthritis pain you have, as well as suggest activities that could be beneficial. Of course, you should discuss your specific situation with your doctor before you begin an exercise regimen, both to make sure it’s safe for you and to get guidance on intensity and frequency of exercise.
Stronger muscles = better support
When the muscles that support your joint are stronger, you’re more stable. Particularly in the degenerative forms of arthritis, like osteoarthritis, where your tissues break down over time, increasing inflammation and pain in your joints, stronger muscles are beneficial.
Exercise improves bone health
Exercise, especially weight bearing exercise, is one of the best ways you can maintain your bone health. Stronger bones mean less painful joints.
Improved range of motion
Along with joint pain, you probably also have joint stiffness. Arthritis tends to limit your range of motion, and that in turn, limits what you’re able to do. By doing flexibility and range of motion exercises, you can keep your joint moving through it’s full range.
Exercise is a good method for keeping your weight in check. Each excess pound you carry adds stress to your joints, increasing the wear and the pain. Consuming a varied, nutritious, balanced diet and regular exercise can help ease the pressure your joints bear.
Increased strength and improved flexibility both contribute to better balance. The better your balance, the less likely you are to fall and damage your joints even more.
Types of exercise to consider
One of the most important considerations when exercising with arthritis is the impact of the activity. You should choose low impact activities.
Some examples of low impact exercise include walking, biking, and swimming. You can easily increase your heart rate to an appropriate level with those activities without putting undue impact on your joints. You should avoid high impact activities like jogging, jumping, or playing sports such as basketball.
Other activities like gardening or even cleaning house can be forms of beneficial exercise as well. Flexibility training such as yoga or tai chi don’t get your heart rate up, but they do provide benefits to your range of motion, strength, and flexibility. You should aim for a mix of activities.
Arthritis is a serious medical condition, and you don’t want to jump into a new exercise regimen without careful thought and expert advice.
Begin slowly. For example, if you’ve decided to take a walk each evening, begin at a comfortable pace and a short distance. You can build over time as your body becomes accustomed to exercise. You may find that you need to modify some activities until you build up more strength and endurance.
Consult an expert
Remember that you can get help in your endeavor to exercise for pain relief. In addition to your doctor at Apex Medical Center, many gyms have programs specifically for people with arthritis, and there are personal trainers who can offer expertise and suggest activities you may not have considered. Use the resources that are available to you.
Are you ready to get started? Book an appointment at one of our three convenient locations and get clearance from your doctor!