Arthritis pain can hold you back from doing the things you love. When your joints are stiff and sore, you might not feel up to going for walks, meeting your friends for lunch, or chasing your children or grandchildren around the park. Unfortunately, inactivity can make arthritis pain worse, so regular, gentle exercise should be an important part of your self-care regime.
Low-impact exercise can help ease arthritis pain, increase mobility, and improve your mood. In particular, regular aerobic exercise and muscle-strengthening activities are recommended to help you manage your condition and increase your quality of life. Here’s why.
Why Is Aerobic Exercise Good for Arthritis Pain?
Aerobic exercise is any type of workout that increases your heart rate and gets your blood pumping. As well as being good for your overall health, this type of activity relieves stiffness in the joints and gives you a boost in energy. It’s also a great way to help you achieve or maintain a healthy weight, which will further relieve pressure on the joints.
Walking, cycling, swimming, and water aerobics are some examples of enjoyable, low-impact aerobic exercises that you can do today. The key is movement, so if you don’t feel like leaving the house, activities like walking up and down the stairs or jogging on the spot can be very beneficial.
You should aim to get about 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise every week. The more you do, the easier it will become, and you’ll find you quickly develop a routine. If you have friends who also struggle with arthritis or just want to be more active, ask them to join in to make the activity more fun and social.
Why Are Strengthening Exercises Good for Arthritis?
Strength exercises help make your muscles strong, all the better to support and protect your joints. Some strength workouts, like circuit training, also double as aerobic exercise, so you’ll get the benefits of both.
Training with light weights is one way to maintain or increase your muscle strength. You can do this at the gym, or at home with cans of soup. Yoga is another option that can be done at home, although attending a group class is a good way to meet people and make new friends.
Before starting any new exercise routine, it’s important to speak to your doctor. While exercise will provide relief over time, your joints will be sore until they get used to the activity, and you don’t want to overdo it. Always remember to warm up and cool down before you exercise, and stop and rest if you feel a sudden increase in pain.
At the Spine and Joint Center, we specialize in alternative, minimally-invasive treatments that have helped many patients with arthritis experience long-term relief from pain. To find out more about the treatment options we offer, contact us today.