If you live with arthritis and joint pain, exercise is probably the last thing you think about doing. But exercise is still important to keep your joints mobile and pain-free. The key is to pick the right exercises so that you don’t cause more harm than good.
Here are some of the best exercise options you can choose from if you have arthritis or live with joint pain.
Exercises to Perform with Arthritis
Stretching: Stretching is important because it helps with flexibility, reduces stiffness, and increases the range of motion. Performing daily stretches first thing in the morning can set you up for less pain throughout your day. It’s important that you work with your doctor to create a stretching routine and are picking the right stretches to not cause damage. Static stretches should be avoided as it can lead to injury – this means performing a small warm-up to heat up muscles. This is simply done by walking on the spot or pumping your arms to get proper blood circulation.
Walking: This low-impact exercise is simple enough that it can be performed at any time as you don’t need any equipment. Furthermore, if it’s cold outdoors, you can head to your local shopping center and walk indoors. Ensure you wear proper footwear or it can take a negative toll on your joints.
Tai chi or yoga: These types of exercises keep your blood flowing while being gentle on your joints. Better yet, there are specific tai chi and yoga routines for arthritis patients.
Pilates: This exercise helps stabilize joints and strengthens muscles. You can begin with a mat and work your way up to using machines.
Water exercises: Water offers gentle resistance, which means you still get a great workout without the stress on your joints.
Cycling: Cycling is not only gentle on your joints, but works to support cardiovascular health too, which can negatively affect rheumatoid arthritis patients.
Strength training: Strengthening your muscles can help stabilize and better support your joints. Resistance bands offer a challenge to help you build muscle over time. You can work with a physical therapist to ensure you’re not causing injury.
Additional Tips for Exercising with Arthritis
Along with knowing the right exercises to perform, there are additional tips to consider, such as:
- Be consistent with your exercise routine. This means creating a set routine and dedicating a certain number of days to exercise
- Always wear and use the proper equipment when exercising
- Choose a variety of exercises to reduce the risk of boredom, promote consistency, and offer your body different challenges to prevent overuse
- Adjust your exercises based on your symptoms and always listen to your body if you need a break, need to stop, or ease up
- Work with a physical therapist to better understand proper form and reduce the risk of injury
By incorporating regular exercise into your daily life, you can experience greater mobility along with a reduction in joint pain.
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