September 21, 2018
Exercising regularly is one of the healthiest ways to reduce arthritis symptoms since exercise increases muscle and bone strength to naturally reduce joint pain. However, joint pain, reduced range of motion, and fatigue are just some of the symptoms of arthritis that can make exercise seem difficult, painful, and counterproductive for your condition. Lack of physical activity can weaken the muscles supporting your joints to cause worsened stress, pain, and stiffness. Fortunately, exercise offers countless benefits for those who suffer from arthritis including improved balance, flexibility, endurance, and energy.
Here are 5 exercises for arthritis that can help improve your symptoms while also enhancing your overall quality of life.
Walking is an easy, low-impact aerobic exercise that nearly anyone can do regardless of fitness level. Walking strengthens your bones and muscles, increases your range of motion, and shifts pressure and weight from joints and muscles to reduce arthritis pain. Aim to walk for at least 150 minutes every week to benefit from reduced arthritis symptoms.
2. Water Workouts
Water exercises can help minimize pain and reduce stress on the joints since water supports the body’s full weight. Water offers 12 times the resistance of air — meaning water workouts can effectively help you build muscle and strength while improving balance and range of motion. Start swimming laps, join a water aerobics class, or join water fitness programs designed especially for people who suffer from arthritis. Look for heated pools with a water temperature between 82 and 88 degrees Fahrenheit, since warmer temperatures may help soothe and relieve joint pain.
Yoga is another low-impact exercise that can help you build strength, improve joint function, reduce joint inflammation, and minimize arthritis-related pain. Find a qualified yoga instructor who can show you a gentle, easy yoga routine for beginners that involves movements and poses that protect your joints, while improving your strength and flexibility. Try to avoid poses that require you to balance on one foot or that bend joints more than 90 degrees, since these movements may worsen symptoms if you’re at a beginner’s fitness level.
4. Hand Stretches
Arthritis in the hands can make it difficult to perform repetitive everyday tasks like typing on the computer or eating with dining utensils, due to joint pain and stiffness. Hand stretches and exercises can make joints in your hands more flexible and improve the range of motion to reduce pain.
Spread your fingers as widely as possible, make a fist, then repeat that same stretching and squeezing motion at least 10 times with each hand. Also, stretch all your fingers out straight, then bend each of your fingers and thumb down toward the palm one by one, holding each finger for about two or three seconds. Perform these hand exercises daily to benefit from consistent relief from arthritis symptoms.
5. Strength Training
Strength training exercises like weightlifting, push-ups, and squats help you strengthen bones and muscles to support joints, while also reducing pain, stiffness, and swelling. Work with an experienced physical therapist or fitness trainer who can help you develop a strength-training routine comprised of movements that are safe and ideal for your type of arthritis.
Prior to your workout session, warm up using gentle stretches to loosen your joints and reduce the risk of injuries that may worsen pain and swelling. Also, try limiting strength training to times of the day when arthritis symptoms are minimal and you can exercise freely, without experiencing pain.
Find Relief from Arthritis Symptoms
Talk to your doctor about the types of exercises most ideal for your arthritis symptoms and overall health. Your doctor can help you develop a personalized exercise plan, so you can benefit from the reduced risk of injury and improved arthritis symptoms.
Healthcare Associates of Texas offers specialized care for arthritis, so you can get back to performing everyday activities with reduced joint pain and stiffness. Request an appointment today to learn more about our treatments for rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and many other health conditions.