How to Exercise to Help Relieve Arthritis

Arthritis is one of those things where relief comes counter-intuitively.  The more you move your joints and exercise, the less pain your arthritis will cause over time.

A good workout releases endorphins that can reduce pain.  What’s more, the weight you lose over time will help ease stress on your back and joints.  Exercising will also help your flexibility, mobility, and stability, easing many of your symptoms.

When you have arthritis, pain, stiffness, or fatigue get in the way of getting up and moving, but it’s important to remember that exercising with the incorrect amount of weight-bearing can lead you down a longer path of immobility and likely even more pain down the road.  It’s far better to get yourself into a habit of exercise and you will feel better for it.

Starting an exercise routine when you have arthritis can be like walking through a wall of sludge at first.  Wearing our braces eases this process immensely by reducing inflammation, increasing blood flow, and relieving pain caused by arthritis.  By relieving your pain in the beginning, starting your exercise routine won’t be nearly as difficult.  As you continue to make exercise a regular part of your routine, you will find it gets easier, and there are so many benefits in store for you.  Not only will you feel better and have more energy, but your stability, mobility, and flexibility will all improve.  

Aim for low-impact aerobic exercises.  Exercises such as speed walking, riding a stationary bike, swimming, and pickleball are all great ideas, they get your heart rate up without beating your body up.  The idea is to get your body and joints moving without risking further injury.  Signing up for classes is also a great way to stay motivated and meet other people that are on their exercise journey as well.  It always helps to have other people with the same goals around you.

Remember to allocate dedicated time for working out.  While walking your dog and working in the garden are fantastic things to do on a daily basis to keep yourself active, it’s incredibly important to get your body moving at a higher pace.  To get the maximum benefits from exercise, it’s essential that you make dedicated time to focus on it.  You may choose to work with a professional to help you choose workouts that work best for you.  Start by scheduling 20 minutes of exercise 3 times a week.  As your body adjusts, and you get more fit, you can start making your sessions longer.

Remember, pushing yourself is good, but know your limits.  There’s a reason you should start with 20-minute workout sessions.  If you have arthritis, you should ease yourself into any new exercise program and tailor to your specific condition.  You don’t want to go head first into a high impact sport like basketball if you have joint damage in your knees.     If you can’t give up your favorite sports, try smaller doses.  If you like golf, but have lower back problems, try playing nine holes at a time instead of 18.  

Let’s also not over-look the importance of asking your physical therapist.  It is so much better to get the help and advice from a professional rather than trying to build your own workout routine from scratch.  A well qualified physical therapist can build you a proper exercise routine and increase the difficulty over time.  Physical therapists are also great at encouraging you to make and keep healthy habits.

The number one rule: Don’t. Give. Up.  The hardest part about keeping a workout routine is not working out, but in keeping it a routine.  Let’s be honest, our lives get so crazy and things always get in the way of each other on our schedules.  It’s almost expected that you will miss a workout here or there, but the key is to get back to it.  Your stability is easier to regain with strengthening and stretching, but the longer you go without exercise, your flexibility and mobility begin to decrease, and it becomes harder to regain them.  By keeping a routine, it makes it much easier on yourself and your joints.

The age-old saying “No pain, no gain” does not apply the same way when you are dealing with arthritis.  If you try something, and it causes your condition to flare up, it’s wise to step away and talk to your doctor and physical therapist about what is causing you pain.  Sometimes it’s as simple as adjusting your form or picking an alternative exercise.

Balance is key, you want to get your joints moving, but not to the point it causes flare-ups.  Exercising properly will relive your symptoms over time and help you feel more stable and flexible.  

Keeping all these points in mind, you can create a workout routine that helps the stability, flexibility, and mobility that you may have lost due to arthritis, return to your joints.

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