Tips for Exercising with Arthritis

Arthritis - Ozark Orthopaedics

Tips for Exercising with Arthritis

If you are suffering from joint stiffness and pain, exercising may be the last thing in your mind. In fact, you may be tempted to just stay sedentary. But staying sedentary can make your joint stiffness and pain worse.

Exercise is highly recommended for people with arthritis. It helps build strength, flexibility, and can even reduce joint pain and fights off fatigue.

How exercise can benefit you
With the right exercise program, regular physical activity can help you in the following ways:

  • Helps maintain bone strength
  • Strengthens the muscles around the joints
  • Helps maintain a healthy weight
  • Provides you with feel-good hormones
  • Makes getting a good night sleep easier

Exercises for arthritis-sufferers
If this is your first time to exercise or try a workout program, it’s important to see a specialist. Your doctor, along with a physical therapist, can recommend the most suitable exercise program for you.

Generally, the following are the ideal exercises that are great for people who suffer from joint pain:

Range of motion exercises
As the name implies, these exercises involve a range of motion movements. These exercises can help relieve joint pain and stiffness. Examples of these exercises are rolling your shoulders forward and backward and raising your arms over your head.

Strength training exercises
These exercises do not just build strength in your muscles, but can also help maintain your bone strength. You may do this with the use of machines, free weights, or even with your body weight.

Aerobic exercises
Aerobic exercises such as walking and swimming are good for your heart health and overall fitness. They help you maintain healthy body weight (added weight can add stress on your joints) and give you the energy to last the whole day.

Tips for exercising with arthritis

Slow down
You may be tempted to go all out especially if it’s your first time, but it’s important to remember to start slowly.

Start slowly to ease your joints and for your safety. Pushing yourself too much too soon may only worsen the joint pain and cause unnecessary injury to your bones and muscles.

Opt for low impact
You may also want to choose exercises that are low impact. If you are trying aerobic exercises, you may opt for activities such as walking or swimming.

Use warm compress
Relax your muscles and joints as you begin by applying a warm compress for about 20 minutes. Applying heat can also help if you are experiencing joint pain and stiffness.

Don’t forget to do some warm-ups before you begin your workout. Warm-up exercises such as active stretching prepare your body for exercise.

Know your limits
Move slowly and take a break if you need to. If a certain movement is causing pain, stop and take a break. A sharp pain, one that is stronger than your usual joint pain may indicate that something’s wrong.

Cool down
Do not just end your workout session abruptly. Just as you started with warm-up exercises, it’s also important to end your exercise with a cool down. These are exercises designed to help your body get back to its pre-exercise state.

Apply ice
If you need to after exercise, apply ice for about 20 minutes to your joints especially the ones where you feel pain and stiffness.

For more help with bone and joint health, our specialists at Ozark Orthopaedics can help. For appointment requests, you may call (479) 521-2752.