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Exercising for People with Arthritis

Why exercise is important for people with Arthritis

With the weather warming up, you might be thinking about engaging in outdoor exercise. Go for a walk and get some sun and some fresh air – it might be more beneficial to you than you know.

Regular exercise is crucial to the effective management of arthritis. By keeping the muscles around joints affected by arthritis strong, you can decrease bone loss and reduce joint swelling and pain. Low-impact activities can also replenish lubrication to the cartilage of the joint, improve energy levels and help you maintain a healthy weight.

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What types of exercises are best for arthritis?

When you feel bogged down by stiff or sore joints, engaging in physical activity can seem overwhelming. Remember, you don’t need to train like an Olympic athlete to achieve optimal physical and mental health results. The key to exercising with arthritis is finding low-impact, joint-friendly activities that interest you. Here are four types of activities that can have a positive effect on reducing arthritis-related pain or disability:

  • Flexibility exercises. Many individuals living with arthritis suffer from joint stiffness that makes everyday tasks difficult. Both active range-of-motion (AROM) and stretching exercises help improve and maintain flexibility in joints and the surrounding muscles.

  • Strengthening exercises. Some examples of strengthening exercises include weight lifting, resistance bands, yoga or aquatic activities. These types of exercises are meant to be slightly more vigorous to keep muscles and surrounding tissue strong, provide greater joint support and minimize the stress placed on it. Strong muscles not only contribute to your ability to perform everyday activities, but also combat bone loss.

  • Aerobic exercises. This type of joint-friendly activity can improve your heart, lung and muscle function. By taking a brisk walk, cycling, dancing, or joining an aquatic exercise class, your heart will beat faster and your breathing rate will increase to meet the demand of the movement. Over time, regular aerobic exercise makes your cardiorespiratory system stronger, which helps with achieving weight loss, better sleep and an elevated mood.

  • Body awareness exercises. Also known as balance exercises, body awareness movements are low-impact movements that enhance posture, balance, joint position sense and coordination. You can try exercises like walking backwards, standing on one foot, yoga or practicing tai chi. Overall, body awareness movements can reduce your risk of developing certain health conditions and lower your odds of falling.

How to get started

Forget the “no pain, no gain” mantra. Any movement, no matter how minor, can make a big difference. Easing your joints into a regular exercise routine takes time, so don’t be afraid to start with slow, easy movements and go for low impact.

Begin by creating a plan with your doctor or physical or occupational therapist. They can suggest exercises and help you modify movements as well as address potential issues within your exercise program.

Once you have a plan, your Presidio Home Care Aide can help you stay on track. You will have someone on site that is ready to motivate, remind, and assist with joint-friendly activities. Not into the idea of exercising alone? Your Home Care Aide can even participate in exercise routines with you. Enjoy morning yoga together, and then take a leisurely walk around the neighborhood in the afternoon.

Embarking on a fitness journey is difficult enough without the added challenge of arthritis. Fortunately, Presidio Home Care Aides understand exactly what it takes to keep you active and healthy. Contact Us to learn how we can help.

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