Exercise is an effective way to keep arthritis pain at bay. It is crucial to the prevention of arthritis to keep moving. A lack of exercise will only elevate the symptoms. Arthritis can affect people of all ages, and everyone reacts differently, so it is important to speak with your healthcare provider before embarking on a new arthritis exercise program. The following forms of exercise for arthritis may be helpful to your condition, and you can talk to your doctor about them at your next appointment.
Aerobic Exercise for Arthritis
Aerobic exercise, or endurance exercise, allows your heart rate to elevate, creating an increase of oxygen to your body. Good cardiovascular health is vital to minimizing arthritis pain. Aerobic exercise should be low-impact, which includes walking, swimming, bicycling (for those without knee problems), or even yoga. There are many different ways that you can comfortably add endurance exercises into your daily activities. Aerobic exercise also releases endorphins into your body, which act as natural painkillers.
Strength Training for Arthritis
Strength Training builds and maintains muscle. Muscle strength provides your joints with support and protection. When you build muscle, you burn fat, which takes extra pressure off of your joints. Muscle also acts as a natural shock absorber. It helps to cushion the joints from pain. Strength Training involves the use of weights, but don’t let that scare you. Weights do not need to be heavy in order to reap the benefits. You can talk to your doctor about what Strength Training exercises would be appropriate for you, but it is important to start slow, eventually adding a little weight and more reps. You have to remember to breathe and to keep a good form. Also, make sure to involve all of the muscle groups.
Range-of-Motion Exercises for Arthritis
Range-of-Motion exercises encourage the joint to move through a complete rotation. These exercises will promote flexibility, as you stretch the joint in a controlled manner. Overtime you will increase the range. Some range-of-motion exercises are similar to those you would consider as normal stretching before starting, or upon finishing, other forms of exercise. You can sit in a chair and bring one knee up as far as you can and then slowly lower it back down to the ground. You then repeat the exercise with the other leg. Also, you can sit in a chair and slowly move your head to the side, slowly bringing it back to center, and repeating on the other side.
Hip and Knee Exercises for Arthritis
Evidence suggests that keeping your hip and knees active and the muscles around them strong helps protect these joints. All of the types of exercises described above will contribute to healthier joints. Leg swings and leg extensions are effective forms of exercise for hip arthritis. Some of the best knee arthritis exercises include knee rocks, straight leg raises, and leg curls.
Some exercises are actually more harmful than helpful for knee and hip arthritis sufferers. Running and jogging put much more strain on your joints than walking. High-impact aerobics and jumping rope can also cause more damage to your joints. As a rule of thumb, try to avoid any exercises that involve jumping or running, as the force of impact is many times greater than your actual body weight.
Consult with Your Doctor
Your doctor should be able to make suggestions on the exercises that he feels would be beneficial to your exact condition. Do not try a new form of arthritis exercise without first consulting with a professional. You will likely only have to be shown how to do the exercises for arthritis once, and then you can take it from there.