Arthritis can be a crippling condition as it removes mobility. First, the pain makes moving difficult, and then it becomes almost impossible. Many people suffer from arthritis and struggle with movement each and every day. However, it is the lack of movement that is causing their pain, which makes physical fitness even more important. The following tips are designed to help people with arthritis restore mobility through exercise.
What Not to Do
Since arthritis occurs when muscles and joints do not receive enough movement, they can be tender or weakened. When that happens, certain precautions should be taken to ensure that they are protected from any further injury. Although exercise in general is strongly recommended for arthritis patients, running and jogging are not advised because of the pressure it places on the body. Instead, walking is an excellent way to bring strength and flexibility back to the muscles and joints that need it the most. People with arthritis need to stay away from any type of high-impact aerobics and jumping rope type activities as well. Basically, if both feet are off the ground for any amount of time, the activity will most likely raise the risk of injury. The good news is that there are plenty of exercises that arthritis patients can do that will make a dramatic difference in their lives.
Regular cardiovascular exercise helps the heart and lungs. As mentioned above, walking is particularly effective, it is a simple movement, and can be done at various speeds. Bicycle riding is another great exercise that is low-impact and easy on the joints. For osteoarthritis patients, swimming relieves a lot of their pain as the water loosens the muscles. It is essential that the water is warm; swimming in cold water will have the opposite effect.
Using body weight or additional weights as resistance, and building up the strength of muscles, will allow them to support the body's movement. Any strength training exercises need to be gradually introduced, and a doctor should be consulted. Light weights and proper form are the keys to receiving the maximum benefits from strength or resistance training by arthritis patients.
Flexibility and Stretching
The concept behind arthritis is fairly simple: less flexibility equals less motion. In order to move more, a combination of effort and persistence are required. Again, using warm water will ease the pain. While in a pool, a person can hold onto the edge for stability and practice swinging their legs out to either side to add flexibility to the lower body. Outside of the pool, the exercise can be done while holding onto a wall; leg raises are performed sitting in a chair. Stretching the major muscle groups is essential to arthritis relief. Reaching up overhead (or as far as the arms will go), and out to the sides on a routine basis provides a solid foundation for eventual recovery. Also, opening and closing hands slowly can improve their flexibility tremendously. If you have arthritis, pay attention to how your body responds to exercising and stop at the first sign of pain. Gentle stretching for just a few minutes a day has the potential to reduce the symptoms of osteoarthritis, and make it possible to enjoy many favorite activities.