Did you know exercise can improve your arthritis symptoms? Exercise has been shown to reduce joint pain and stiffness and can help maintain flexibility. An arthritis exercise program can seem to be a daunting task when you have joint aches and pains. What is the best type of exercise program to help relieve the symptoms of arthritis?
If you’re new to exercise, it will be important that you start slowly with your arthritis exercise program. Start out with simple stretching exercises to promote flexibility and gradually work up to more vigorous exercise. Seek the expertise of your family doctor before beginning your new exercise program. He may recommend that you seek the guidance of a physical therapist who can help you set up an exercise regimen specifically designed for your needs.
Here are some types of arthritis exercise programs that can help to promote joint flexibility and reduce pain and stiffness:
1. Range of Motion Exercises
The goal of these exercises is to increase flexibility in the joints and tendons. This can help to significantly reduce your level of arthritis pain and stiffness. These exercises should be performed smoothly with a fluid motion, never in a jerky manner. Ask your doctor to give you instructions on how to perform gentle range of motion exercises for your arthritis. Do these exercises on a daily basis and you should notice a difference in the degree of pain and stiffness you experience throughout the day.
Walking is an excellent form of exercise for almost anyone, including those who suffer from arthritis. If you have arthritis, it’ll be important that you select a good pair of walking shoes with strong support. You should walk on a flat surface with a soft, even terrain. A shopping mall is a good location for your daily walks because you’ll be on level ground and won’t be subject to the vagaries of weather. If you belong to a gym, walking on a treadmill at low or no incline will put the least amount of stress on your joints. Always do a series of stretching exercises to warm up your joints before beginning your walk.
3. Water Aerobics
Water aerobics is one of the best forms of exercise for arthritis. The Arthritis Foundation has a water aerobics program designed specifically for arthritis sufferers. In these classes, you perform smooth stretching movements in warm water. The program is designed to increase joint flexibility and improve range of motion of joints affected by arthritis.
4. Low Impact Aerobics
Low impact aerobics forms a good basis for an exercise program because there’s no jumping which may add additional stress to your joints. Yet low impact aerobics is still fast paced enough to give you a good workout. One foot always stays on the ground, so there’s less risk of joint injury or stress.
5. Strength Training Exercises
This type of exercise is good for strengthening the muscles that support the joints. This can help you to better absorb shock and prevent injury to your joints. If you plan on adding strength training to your arthritis exercise program, it’s best to start with gentle range of motion exercises before proceeding to strength building exercises. Start slowly with low resistance and gradually work your way up to higher resistance which will help you tone and build muscle.
An arthritis exercise program using any of these approaches can help you maintain joint flexibility. Try it! It might be just what the doctor ordered!