Remain Active, Ease Arthritis Pain and Keep Joints Healthy
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that an estimated 50 million adults in the U.S. have doctor-diagnosed arthritis, with that number expected to rise to nearly 70 million by 2030. Scientific studies indicate individuals suffering from arthritis who participate in moderate-intensity, low-impact activity have improved mood, function and decreased pain. Remaining active may also delay disability due to arthritis.
Stretching is vital before and after any workout routine. Before you begin any fitness regimen, have your physician approve it.
- Hold the end of a towel in your left hand.
- Raise and then bend your left arm, allowing the towel to drape down your back. Stay in this position.
- Reach behind your back and hold the bottom of the towel with your right hand.
- Climb your right hand higher and higher on the towel. This action pulls your left arm down.
- Keep moving until you reach your other hand or it begins feeling uncomfortable.
Reverse and repeat three to five times per session. Hold each stretch for up to 30 seconds.
You can learn more stretches by visiting Fitness and Freebies.
Muscle Strengthening Activities
Your muscle strengthening activities need to work all major muscle groups. Do these activities at least twice a week. Perform at least one set of eight to 12 repetitions for each major muscle group.
Use a chair for this exercise.
- Face forward with the chair behind you and your palms facing down.
- Draw your belly button in.
- Stand with your feet slightly wider than your hips.
- Keep your back straight while you slowly move down until you can feel the chair beneath you, count to two.
- Come back up, keeping your back straight and your knees directly above your ankles.
- As you stand up, bring your hips forward.
- Repeat 10 times.
- Rest, then complete another set.
Visit Laser Spine Institute to watch videos on how to perform many more standard exercises.
Balance improving exercises
Include these at least three times per week:
- Stepping sideways
- Walking backward
- Standing on one foot
- Walking on heels
- Walking on toes
Aerobic activity is any activity that increases your heart rate and makes you breathe harder.
The CDC’s recommended physical activity guidelines for older adults are as follows:
- Vigorous intensity – heart beats much faster and you cannot talk comfortably – 75 minutes a week
- Moderate intensity – heart beats faster and you breathe harder, but can easily talk – 150 minutes a week
Exercise for at least 10 minutes each session. If you are unable to start at the levels listed here, some activity is better than no activity.
Moderate Aerobic Activities
- Brisk walking
- Sports – bad mitten, volleyball
- Bike riding
- Stationery bikes and treadmills
Vigorous Aerobic Activities
- Aerobic dance
- Elliptical and stair climbers
- Sports like baseball and softball
- Raking leaves
- Heavy gardening that requires shoveling
Strong Muscles Protect Joints
Alice Bell, a physical therapist and the vice president of clinical services at Genesis Rehabilitation Services in Pa., states having strong muscles around a joint is a form of protection. Bell suggests using resistance bands and hand-held weights to build the bones and muscles surrounding your joints.
The amount of resistance you use should not cause pain in your joints. It should tire your muscles. You should not strength train two days in a row, because muscles gain strength on your rest day.
You can find useful exercising gear and gadgets at Arthritis Today. As you continue exercising, you may find limitations you learned to work around are no longer an issue.
About the Author
A Long Island native, Jason Mann is a personal trainer who blogs about fitness and well-being for a variety of sites.