For those people with arthritis, both rheumatoid and osteoarthritis, there are certain types of exercise that you simply can’t or shouldn’t do anymore. However, keeping active can be a key to much of the pain management, this is why exercise is so important when you are living with arthritis. Get to know these exercises for arthritis. Where you become inflamed in your body will determine which exercises are best, and you can learn how to strengthen your core – a very important factor.
Walking is a great basic starter exercise for those who have arthritis and want to keep an active lifestyle. The equipment-free exercise strengthens bones and increases your general activity, as it is an aerobic workout, depending on how intense you make it. It is recommended to walk at a moderate to hard intensity to reap the benefits of walking. Do this 3-5 days a week, for 10-30 minutes at a time. You’ll not only see an improvement in your ability to keep walking, your breathing and your general feeling of well-being, but you’ll be working on your bone health, which is good for any person with arthritis.
Stretching can relieve tired muscles, invigorate the body and strengthen the muscles and ligaments that surround your joints. Start with gentle hamstring stretches. Use a towel around your foot as you lie on the ground to bring your straightened leg towards you. Stretch your thigh by bringing your heel to your buttocks as you stand on one leg, and stretch your calves by standing on the edge of a step. You can stretch the muscles in your foot by standing on a tennis ball. Move up the body from the feet and legs through the back with different stretched like rolling the spine down and up, reaching over your head and crossing your arms in front of you and stretching your neck from side to side.
Strengthening is crucial to help your body deal with everything that arthritis throws at it. If you have a base of strength within your muscles, dealing with some of the symptoms may be easier than if you don’t train at all. Weight training is a form of strength training, and when done properly, it is hugely beneficial to the body. You don’t have to go crazy “pumping iron” in pursuit of bulging muscles, but performing a strength-training workout 2-3 days a week can increase and maintain muscle strength in your body.
Aerobic exercise helps with overall fitness. It can be a hard slog at first because an aerobics class is a series of highly active cardiovascular movements that need strength and stamina, but you can also perform low impact aerobic exercises. Aerobic exercise classes are often found in gyms and even outdoors with workout groups or personal trainers. Find the one that is the right length for your endurance, pain levels and comfort, and work your way up to a longer workout that makes you feel fantastic. Aerobics benefit the whole body.
Suspension training is leveraging your body weight by hanging from straps or bands anchored to a point on the wall or wrapped around something stable. This particular workout is only meant for those with arthritis who do not suffer from wrist or ankle pain, as these stress points are tested. For the overall body and especially the core, it is wonderfully beneficial. It’s a little bit like planking, with support. You’ll need a trainer to take you through the correct way to do suspension exercises, and once you have mastered the technique, you will soon start to feel a major difference in your core strength.
Pilates is a certain kind of exercise ideal for people without as much mobility as others. It is wonderful for people with rheumatoid arthritis who want to gain stronger muscles to stabilize and support the joints. Pilates concentrates on the body’s core, which is the abdomen, obliques, lower back, bottom, inner and outer thigh. It develops strength, endurance, flexibility, and coordination and is hugely beneficial for anyone wanting to get strong with exercise. Some think it is similar to yoga, but while yoga focuses on flexibility, Pilates focuses on range of motion and core strength. Pilates also uses reformer machines to work with, for specific training or rehabilitation.
Practicing yoga daily, or at least three times a week is a great way for those with swollen and tender joints to deal with the progressive impact of arthritis. Yoga uses deep relaxation techniques, which benefit most people, but also helps those with arthritis to find a tranquil space to them be able to heal and work on their body as well and promote a healthy immune system. The stretching involved helps movement and mobility and the strength and concentration used to hold each of the poses benefits the entire body and soul.
Swimming is an excellent way to get an overall exercise session. Best of all, it doesn’t put the strain on your joints that land-based exercises involve. For those who have significant joint pain in the body, use a water-jogging belt, which helps you walk, suspended from the bottom of the pool. This will take away an enormous amount of pressure on the joints of the hips, knees, and ankles. If there is no belt available, simply walking from one side of the pool to the other at a relatively brisk pace, will do as much for you as swimming laps. There are water aerobics classes you can take, held in most public pools, or a personal trainer will help you design a routine that is specific to your arthritis needs.
Cycling is a great all-around exercise for those people living with arthritis that have problems in their feet and ankles. It’s low impact as far as anything below the knee is concerned, but still, packs a cardiovascular punch and works the leg muscles for a top daily workout. Something to build on: start with 10 minutes at a time and grow each week to 30 -40 minutes. If you don’t own a bike, or if you don’t feel like cycling the streets in winter, or simply if you live in the city and can’t get out, gyms have great recumbent exercise bikes to work with.
Tai Chi is similar to yoga in that it is a low impact exercise. Practitioners use slow, deliberate movements that which strengthen the body and reduce pain. Accompanied by deep breathing, this is an ancient Chinese tradition that has been practiced for centuries which aims of finding peace and calm within the body. It takes on the notion of meditation, as well as the benefits of improving mobility and balance. 20-40 minutes of Tai Chi per day is a good place to work towards for people with arthritis. There are many varying styles of Tai Chi, find the one that suits you best, and enjoy the benefits.