5 Exercises for Arthritis
Reduce Arthritis Symptoms with Exercise
According to the National Arthritis Foundation, one out of every three Americans suffer from the agonizing effects of arthritis. Because of the aches and pains associated with movement, exercise might seem out of the question for many arthritis sufferers, yet medical experts insist that exercising is a vital part of the treatment for stiff joints. There are certain activities that can drastically reduce the pain and restore mobility to those areas. If you have arthritis, the relief you have been waiting for could be just five exercises away.
#1 Full Range-of-Motion
Although many arthritis patients think that exercise will only further antagonize their condition, the opposite is true. Moving your joints is necessary to avoid a worsened level of pain or immobility. The most basic of the movements is extending your arms over your head. Slowly roll your head around to loosen your neck muscles, and move your shoulders back and forth. These full range-of-motion exercises should be done each day, or every other day, depending on the severity of your condition.
Controlled weight, increased energy, and improved cardiovascular health are some of the benefits that aerobic activity can provide. The actual exercises are similar to those performed by people without arthritis, except they are performed more slowly. Be sure to choose exercises that are low impact and will ease the tension on your joints instead of increasing it. Examples of these types of aerobics are walking, riding a bicycle, and swimming.
An average of 20 to 30 minutes of aerobic exercise three times a week is recommended, but if you are just starting, that may be too much. Instead, begin by splitting the workouts up into ten minute sessions and gradually build yourself up to longer ones. Or, if longer than ten minutes proves to be difficult, stay with the shorter sessions indefinitely; it will still give you the same benefits and relief as the longer workout.
#3 Water Exercise
Warm water is known to ease joint stiffness and make it much easier to move. Simple activities like walking with your legs under water or just soaking in a bath or pool are very effective. The key is to perform gentle movements that will allow your joints to improve their flexibility. If you find it painful to perform any activity, water exercise can be a good place to start. Supervision or assistance while in a pool or tub is recommended for severe cases of arthritis.
#4 Hand Exercises
Of all the areas of the body that arthritis attacks, perhaps the hands are the most frustrating. When the ability to hold things becomes difficult, an emphasis is placed on performing hand exercises for arthritis patients. Stretching your hand out and slowly bending your fingers with your wrists straight is an excellent way to build up strength and reduce pain. Making a fist and touching your fingertips together also work well in restoring the natural movement in your hands.
Pay close attention to how your joints are responding and stop if any pain is present. Normally, hand exercises can be done up to several times a day, but again, they should not cause any pain whatsoever. Many arthritis patients prefer soaking their hands in warm water while doing the exercises as a way to relax the muscles and eliminate discomfort.
#5 Strength Building Exercises
The stronger your muscles are, the more support and protection they will give your joints. Therefore, it is important for arthritis sufferers to do exercises they can handle to rebuild their strength, including holding weights while walking, or participating in an appropriate program with weights. Light to moderate weight training should be done every other day and monitored. Look closely for any swelling or joint pain, and allow more days of rest in between as needed.