Exercising with Arthritis: A Guide for Better Wellbeing
According to the Arthritis Foundation, approximately 54.4 million adults in the United States have doctor-diagnosed arthritis, with about 1 in 4 adults being affected. This makes it one of the most common chronic conditions in the country, and even with medication, many people still struggle with its associated pain and inflammation.
One of the best ways for those with arthritis to help ease their symptoms is through exercise. Regular physical activity can help reduce pain, improve joint function, and increase strength and flexibility. Despite this, many people living with arthritis are hesitant to take up any form of exercise due to the potential worsening of the condition.
This guide is here to help inform you about the various types of exercises that are available to those with arthritis, as well as safety precautions to consider before starting a workout plan. You’ll also learn more about some of the benefits of exercise, typical challenges faced when exercising with arthritis, and tips on how to stay motivated and track your progress.
Let’s get started!
Types of Exercises for People with Arthritis
Exercise is an essential part of maintaining a healthy life, and it can be especially beneficial for those who have arthritis. There are many types of exercises that can help improve strength, flexibility, range of motion, and overall wellbeing for those with the condition.
The main types of exercise that can help those with arthritis include aerobic exercise, range-of-motion exercises, strengthening exercises, and stretching exercises. Let’s take a look at these in more detail:
- Aerobic exercise—This type of exercise helps to increase the heart rate and breathing rate and includes activities such as walking, cycling, swimming, and running.
- Range-of-motion exercises—These exercises help to improve joint mobility and flexibility and may include activities such as gentle shoulder circles and ankle circles, moving the wrists and hands, and bending the knee up and down.
- Strengthening exercises—These exercises are important for increasing muscle strength, which can help to reduce joint pain and protect the joints. Strengthening exercises may include weightlifting, using resistance bands, and performing simple bodyweight exercises.
- Stretching exercises—Regular stretching helps to reduce muscle tension and stiffness, along with improving mobility in the joints. This could include gentle stretching of the arms and legs, neck and shoulders, and lower back.
It is important to speak to your doctor or physical therapist about the best types of exercise for you. They will be able to provide advice on the most suitable exercise plan and help ensure your safety when exercising.
Safety and Precautions for Exercise
When you have arthritis, it’s important to be careful when exercising. While getting some physical activity is beneficial for those living with arthritis, it’s also necessary to take certain precautions before, during, and after your workout. Here are some tips for staying safe when exercising with arthritis:
- Always consult with your doctor about the type of exercises that are appropriate for your condition.
- Warm up before exercise to reduce the risk of injury and help you get into the workout.
- Choose an appropriate intensity level. Start slow and gradually increase the difficulty over time.
- Stop exercising if it causes pain or is too strenuous.
- Cool down after exercising by stretching and gently returning to your resting state.
- Take regular breaks throughout your workout. Listen to your body and rest when needed.
- Try to maintain good form in each exercise to minimize the risk of injury.
- Drink plenty of water before, during, and after your workout.
- Talk to a physical therapist if you need additional guidance or support for exercising.
By following these safety precautions, you can reduce the risk of injury and get the most out of your workout while taking care of your body.
Low-Impact Exercise for Those with Arthritis
For those with arthritis, low-impact exercises are a great way to keep your body active without putting too much strain on your joints. Low-impact exercises can include activities such as walking, swimming, cycling or going for a light jog, and are gentler alternatives to more intense or high-impact exercises.
Walking is an excellent exercise for people with arthritis as it does not require any special equipment, and can be done in most places. When going for a walk, make sure to wear comfortable shoes that will cushion and support your feet. It is also important to set realistic goals for yourself so you do not overexert yourself. Start with short and gentle walks, and gradually increase the distance, duration or speed of your walks as your strength and endurance increases.
Swimming is another great low-impact exercise for those with arthritis. Swimming puts minimal strain on the joints, while still giving your body a good workout. When swimming, try to focus on particular movements such as reaching out in front of you or using kickboards to work different muscles. It is also important to make sure you take breaks between sets to give your body time to recover.
Cycling is another form of low-impact exercise that can help with flexibility and range of motion. Make sure to use a bike with adjustable seats and handlebars in order to achieve a comfortable and safe riding position. Start off with shorter rides and gradually increase the time and distance as your fitness level improves.
Light jogging can also be beneficial for those with arthritis. Before starting, make sure to invest in a good pair of running shoes that provide adequate support and shock absorption. Start off slow and gradually increase your speed as your fitness level improves.
Low-impact exercises like walking, swimming, cycling and light jogging can help improve flexibility, range of motion and overall function for those with arthritis. Make sure to start slow and gradually increase the intensity of your exercise routine over time as your strength and endurance improve.
High-Impact Exercises for Those with Arthritis
High-impact exercises are activities that involve jumping, hopping, and skipping. These are great options for getting your heart rate up and improving strength and endurance. Some examples of high-impact exercises that may be possible for those with arthritis include jogging, running, jumping rope, and dancing.
It’s important to remember to warm up and cool down before and after each exercise session, no matter what type of exercise you choose to do. Start by doing some gentle stretching, then gradually increase the intensity of your movements. Make sure to focus on proper form and technique to ensure maximum efficiency and minimize injury risk.
When beginning any new exercise routine, it’s advisable to listen to your body and modify as necessary. If you feel any pain or discomfort, take a break and adjust your form. Don’t forget to stay hydrated, as this will help with your overall energy levels and functioning.
Benefits of Exercise for Those with Arthritis
Exercising can offer a multitude of benefits to those with arthritis. To start, regular exercise helps to improve physical fitness, coordination, balance, strength and range of motion in the joints affected by arthritis.
Additionally, regular physical activity can reduce joint pain and inflammation caused by arthritis, as well as help improve overall wellbeing. This is done by releasing endorphins, which are hormones involved in the regulation of pain. Moreover, exercise can help combat fatigue, increase energy levels, and assist with weight management, which can also reduce stress on the joints.
- Improved flexibility, range of motion, and function.
- Reduced joint pain and inflammation.
- Increased physical fitness, coordination, balance, and strength.
- Improved overall wellbeing.
- Reduced fatigue and increased energy levels.
- Weight management, reducing stress on the joints.
These are just some of the benefits of exercise for those with arthritis – so why not give it a go?
Typical Challenges with Exercising for Those With Arthritis
Exercising with arthritis can be a difficult task. People who suffer from arthritis often face challenges when it comes to staying fit and active, as they must take caution to keep their joints from becoming overworked or strained.
Some of the typical challenges associated with exercising for those with arthritis include:
- Joint pain or discomfort due to inflammation
- Weak muscles due to disuse of affected joints
- Limited range of motion in affected areas
- Fatigue due to increased physical activity
It is important to be aware of these common challenges associated with exercising for people with arthritis so that they can make the best decisions and take the necessary precautions when starting an exercise plan. There are a variety of methods that can help manage the challenges associated with exercising with arthritis.
- Finding an exercise routine that works with your body and limitations
- Making sure to rest between sessions and having regular breaks
- Using gentle stretching and warm-up exercises to loosen up stiff joints
- Seeking professional advice on the best types of exercises for your condition
By taking these measures into consideration, those with arthritis can approach exercise with confidence while avoiding injury. It is also important for those with arthritis to stay properly hydrated and listen to their bodies to ensure they stay safe and healthy.
Tips for Staying Motivated and Tracking Progress
Exercising with arthritis can be difficult, but it’s important to find ways to stay motivated and track your progress. Here are a few tips that can help:
- Set realistic goals: it’s important to decide on achievable goals and come up with a plan to reach them.
- Find an activity you enjoy: exercising with arthritis doesn’t have to be boring. Try different activities until you find something fun and engaging.
- Talk to others: seek out support from friends and family who can offer encouragement and motivation.
- Mix it up: alternate between different types of exercises so you don’t get bored.
- Take breaks: listen to your body and take a break if necessary.
- Track your progress: create a chart or journal to keep track of how often and how long you exercise.
Remember, it may take time to adjust to a new exercise routine. With patience, consistency, and an open mind, you can progressively improve your physical condition and overall quality of life.
Arthritis can leave people feeling limited in what they can do, however exercise can help improve quality of life in many measurable ways. It has positive effects on general wellbeing, flexibility, range of motion and functional ability. Exercise can be intimidating but by taking a sensible approach and choosing activities that are appropriate for each individual, people with arthritis can take part in exciting activities without putting their bodies at risk.
We hope that this guide has been helpful in giving you an insight into how exercise can help those with arthritis. Remember to stay safe, get creative and take things slow if needed.
The sources used in this guide come from a variety of reliable sources from both medical and fitness experts. These include articles from physical therapists, physicians, and scientific studies. It is important to consult a doctor before beginning any kind of exercise program, especially for those with arthritis. Additionally, it is important to stay updated on the latest studies and research into exercising safely with arthritis. Some of the sources used in this guide are:
- Arthritis Foundation – https://www.arthritis.org/
- Mayo Clinic – https://www.mayoclinic.org/
- National Institutes of Health – https://www.nih.gov/
- American College of Rheumatology – https://www.rheumatology.org/
These sources provide detailed information on the benefits of exercise for those with arthritis, as well as safety guidelines and precautions to take when working out. By consulting these sources, readers can gain more insight into how to exercise safely and make informed decisions on what type of exercise plan is suitable for them.
If you’d like to learn more about the benefits of exercise for those with arthritis, here are some additional sources of information:
- Arthritis Foundation – https://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/exercise/
- Mayo Clinic – https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/osteoarthritis/in-depth/exercise/art-20046661
- American College of Rheumatology – https://www.rheumatology.org/Practice-Quality/Clinical-Support/Exercise
You can also browse relevant books that provide more in-depth information about exercising safely with arthritis.
Getting in Touch
Do you still have questions or comments about exercising with arthritis? Our team is here to help! Just send us a message and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.
We hope you’ve found our guide to be informative and useful. As always, make sure to consult a medical professional before beginning any new exercise routine. With the right approach and precautions, exercise can provide major benefits for those with arthritis.