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Exercising With Arthritis

When you’re experiencing pain brought on by arthritis, you may feel yourself naturally slowing down. However, exercise is one of the best ways to prevent arthritis from worsening, and can help alleviate painful symptoms. Arthritis sufferers who don’t exercise may fall victim to muscle stiffness and increased joint pain, making it more difficult to function on a daily basis.

Why Exercise?

Arthritis sufferers can reap many rewards with a healthy dose of exercise:

  • Weight Loss: Losing weight reduces the strain placed on your joints. Losing just 10 pounds,has been shown to noticeably reduce the symptoms of osteoarthritis. For instance, many cases of knee osteoarthritis are brought on by too much weight being placed on the knee joint.
  • Building Muscle: Exercising helps to strengthen the muscles around your joints. Strong muscles can better support the joints, thereby reducing the pressure placed on them. Some exercises can also increase stability in the joint.
  • Improving Flexibility: Increasing your flexibility through exercise can help improve the function of your muscles, bones and joints. This means movement becomes a little smoother and may require a little less effort. Increased flexibility also greatly reduces your risk of a fall or injury.
  • Enhancing Sleep: Exercise can lead to a better night’s sleep. A good night’s sleep allows your joints the rest they need and can help you feel energized in the morning, leaving you more likely to get out there and exercise again!

Types Of Exercise

Often a doctor will recommend therapeutic exercise before giving the go ahead to participate in recreational activity. Therapeutic exercise is lead by a professional and prescribed very specifically to address the symptoms of your arthritis.

  • Range of motion exercise– These types of exercises usually focus on increasing flexibility and improving range of motion. They are especially helpful in reducing stiffness and improving posture. Yoga is a good recreational activity that includes both stretches and range of motion exercises.
  • Low-Impact aerobic exercise– This type of exercise works large muscles in the body. It is aimed to help with the function of the lungs and heart. Because aerobic exercise usually involves repetitive and rhythmic motion (almost like dancing) that is low-impact, this type of exercise is a good way to have fun while working out. Walking, swimming and biking are all considered low-impact aerobic activities.
  • Strengthening exercise– This type of exercise is aimed at improving the strength of your muscles and increasing joint support. Strength training can greatly reduce your risk of experiencing bone loss as a result of inactivity. Resistance is a key component strengthening exercise. Slowly increasing the amount of resistance is what helps build strength over time. Strong muscles can help support aching joints.

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