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March 15, 2010 at 2:39 AMComments: 0 Faves: 0

Simple Exercises to Relieve Arthritis Pain

By Smarty More Blogs by This Author

The Benefits of Exercise

Many people with arthritis avoid exercise, thinking it will cause more damage to their joints . The truth is that exercise can be an incredible boon to people with arthritis. The benefits of exercise are numerous:

  • Exercise strengthens muscles, giving better support to inflamed joints.
  • Improved flexibility can help with joint stiffness and pain.
  • Exercise can help you lose weight. Less weight means less pressure on the joints; less pressure equals less pain.
  • Many people with arthritis have low energy and are frequently fatigued. Exercise boosts metabolism and keeps energy levels high.
  • Arthritis can be emotionally difficult. Better physical health means better mental health. Exercise can help stave off depression and improve overall quality of life.

What Kinds of Exercise Are Best for People with Arthritis?

Three kinds of exercise are especially helpful to people struggling with arthritis:

  • Range-of-motion exercises: This includes any type of exercise that engages the entire body and moves all the joints through their various positions. These exercises improve flexibility and posture. Dance, Tai-Chi, and yoga are good examples of this type of exercise that are well-suited to people with arthritis. They can be adapted to fit your pace and ability. There are also specific exercises available that have been designed to work with different body parts to maintain and improve mobility in arthritic patients. Consult with your doctor or physical therapist to learn more about these arthritis-specific exercises.
  • Strengthening exercises: Weight training is the quickest way to build up muscle strength. Increased muscle strength takes some of the burden off painful joints.
  • Endurance exercises: Aerobics exercises increase stamina and energy. They also improve heart health. A good circulatory system helps keep all the bodies tissues supplied with oxygen and nutrients, leading to better overall health. This type of exercise can also help you lose weight. Losing weight is especially important for people with arthritis, since extra pounds translate into extra strain on burdened joints.

How to Determine What Exercise Regimen Will Work Best for You

Before starting to exercise, it is important to consult with a doctor who knows your case well and is familiar with your limitations. Ideally, you should also speak with a physical therapist who works with arthritic patients. Together, they can help you design a work-out that will challenge but not overtax you.

A regularly scheduled work-out is optimal. However, sometimes arthritis pain won't let you continue. On especially painful days, high-energy exercises may not be the best thing, but make sure to still move all your joints through their full range of motion.

Many people find that it is easiest to start with water aerobics. In water, your body's natural buoyancy will keep your weight from putting pressure on your joints, and it is a low-impact environment. Once you've built up some stamina, you can progress to exercises on land since weight-bearing exercises have been shown to strengthen bones and joints.

Don't let arthritis pain keep you from reaping the benefits of exercise. Talk to your doctor today about how exercise can help control your arthritis.

Sources:

http://arthritis.about.com/od/exercise/a/howtoexercise.htm

http://www.emedicinehealth.com/rheumatoid_arthritis/page8_em.htm

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/arthritis/AR00030&slide=5

http://www.arthritis.org/exercise-intro.php http://www.glucosamine-arthritis.org/arthritis/arthritis-exercises.html

Photo Credit: _ado

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