Affecting over millions and millions of people worldwide, arthritis is a severe health disorder that affects your joints. People with this condition suffer excruciating pain, stiffness swelling and difficulty in movement. In some cases, other organs are also affected.
It is essentially the inflammation of your joints. Physical therapy, medications and lifestyle changes can help you recover from it. But exercises for arthritis can accelerate the process of your recovery to a great extent and that is what we are going to discuss today.
The Most Effective Exercises for Arthritis
Physical exercises not only help you prevent stiff joints but also improve your endurance, builds muscles and benefits your bones, heart, and mood. When it comes to arthritis, you need to take it easy and be careful about which exercise to pick.
The following exercises are recommended for arthritis patients since they help in improving your flexibility and range of motion. However, it is of utmost importance that you talk to your doctor and/or physical therapist before performing these exercises as the degree of arthritis and the ability to perform physical exercises vary from person to person.
Yes, you heard that right! Walking is indeed an exercise and can be performed by almost everyone. This is a perfect gateway to the exercises for arthritis pain. Walking is an aerobic and bone-strengthening activity and can be performed anywhere without the assistance of any equipment or special training.
It can help you maintain a healthy weight, which would, in turn, minimalize the stress on your joints. Besides, your bone and heart will live healthily if you walk regularly.
Remember to start slow. You can increase your pace and distances eventually over time. There is no need to rush it up. We recommend you to go at a moderate-to-hard intensity level three to five days a week. A 30-minute walking session will suffice in providing you with the much-needed relief from the pain of arthritis. If a 30-minute is too much for you, then you can always start with a 10-minute session.
Next up on our list of the best exercises for arthritis pain is cycling. This aerobic exercise helps in getting your heart pumping which is very important since arthritis puts you at a greater risk of cardiovascular diseases.
As cycling is a low-impact exercise, it decreases the stress on your weight-bearing joints such as your hips, knees, and feet. Moreover, it also helps in lubricating your joints, which, in turn, help in reducing stiffness and pain.
Now, we understand that there might be some danger involved with cycling as it entails the risk of falling off. So, we suggest you go for a stationary bike. These bikes are easier on your hips and lower back since they have large, chair-like seats which allow you to sit back into the frame in a more reclined and comfortable position. It is also easy to get on and off on these bikes as they are lower to the ground.
There’s nothing like hitting the pool to relax your joints and stretch your muscles. If you can’t swim, then you can even opt for water walking or water aerobics class in a shallow pool.
It has been seen in a study by the American Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation that water-based exercises help improves joints in women more when compared to land-based aerobic activities. Moreover, swimming also helps in boosting your mood, controlling your weight and in improving your sleep.
In a 4-feet pool, you can try walking from one side to another at a brisk pace. You may also use an underwater treadmill for your water-based exercises. The buoyancy of the water provides relief to the pain in your joints. We also recommend you to use a water jogging belt while performing any water-based exercise since it will help you stay suspended above the pool. As a result, you would be able to move around without putting any pressure on your hips, knees or ankles.
Any type of stretching is a great exercise for arthritis pain. This is basically an umbrella term for all free-hand stretching exercises. Stretching helps you in reducing joint inflammation and enhancing your overall flexibility. Furthermore, it is also great for maintaining mobility and movement.
You can stretch by even sitting on your chair. In order to include a variation to your stretching exercises, you can use a stretch-out strap which is essentially a nylon strap with built-in loops for your hands and legs.
For instance, you can place the ball of one of your feet through a loop and follow it up by grasping both the ends of the strap with your hands. Next, you need to straighten your leg. Gently, raise your leg and slowly pull on the straps.
You can partake in Yoga lessons since they are invariably based on stretching. In addition, Yoga would help in putting pressure on your joints and in increasing the internal heat, which would, in turn, be of great relief to people suffering from arthritis.
Pilates is extremely popular but few know how beneficial it is for arthritis patients. Since Pilates gives you better control over your muscles and in strengthening them, it is highly recommended by physical therapists.
To put it simply, Pilates is low-impact workouts that help in putting pressure on your joints and hips. Moreover, it is also known for helping you with pain management and in coping with the symptoms of arthritis.
Pilates include various balancing exercises such as standing one foot or walking backwards. It helps in boosting your balance and in avoiding falls. Feel free to modify certain postures to minimize the stress on the joints with the help of your physical trainer. You can even integrate props in your Pilates routine.
Counted among the most fun exercises for arthritis pain, Zumba will lift your spirits in no time. This Latin American exercise fitness regime is an out-and-out cardio and aerobic workout that provides huge calorie consumption. On top of that, this can be performed by anyone irrespective of their age.
It increases good cholesterol, decreases bad cholesterol, reduces blood pressure and lowers the risk of heart diseases. The ability of Zumba to burn calories without jarring your joints is what makes it a universal favourite.
Don’t overexert your body if you are getting into Zumba for the first time. Just ease into it. Let your trainer train you separately if required. Remember, when you are doing Zumba, you are using every muscle in your body. So, naturally, you don’t want to hurt yourself by overdoing it. Taking two classes every week will suffice in learning the choreography.
Next up on our list of exercises for arthritis pain is Tai Chi. You would often find people who are suffering from arthritis saying that their “knees are giving out”. This is because arthritis severely affects your joints and the surrounding muscles. As such, it results in loss of position awareness, impaired coordination, and a higher risk of falling and lack of balance.
This is where Tai Chi comes in. It is an ancient internal Chinese martial art that is practised for both health benefits and defence. It has recently gained huge popularity worldwide, and for all the right reasons.
Now, before you freak out by thinking that it is a martial art which means it must be difficult to learn, let us tell you that Tai Chi involves slow and soft movements that are very easy to learn and anybody can master them. It helps in relaxing your body and stimulating blood circulation. Whether its heart failure or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease of arthritis, it has shown its implications in multiple diseases.
We must warn you that when you are in a Pilates class, don’t shy away from sticking to your own pace instead of following others. Speak to your physical trainer and inform him or her about the status of your arthritis and introduce modifications in your routine under their guidance.
Now, this is one of the more challenging exercises for arthritis pain. Suspension training is not for everyone and is suited for those arthritis patients who were willing and capable of performing a challenging core workout. It must be noted that this should be performed under trained supervision in a controlled environment. People with serious ankle or wrist issues must avoid it.
It can be performed during the initial stages of arthritis to help it from becoming more severe. When you are doing suspension training, you are leveraging your body weight from straps that hang from an anchor point. You need to put your legs in the stirrups and hold your body up with your arms. You can even choose to rest flat on your forearms.
It will help you in developing core body strength and in stabilizing your joints and muscles. It also reduces the chances of you incurring any injury.
Arthritis is a serious health concern and you must do everything in your power to put yourself in an advantageous position. The aforementioned exercises for arthritis pain will help you recover healthily and naturally. So, contact your doctor and physical trainer today and help yourself out from this dreadful disease.