When you suffer from arthritis and it’s difficult to move without pain, you may be wondering if exercising is a good idea. When you can feel the grinding in your joints, it’s difficult to picture yourself grinding it out on the mat in the gym.
The good news is that exercise has actually been shown to be one of the most effective ways to reduce joint pain in people who suffer from arthritis. As outlined by the Mayo Clinic, exercising with arthritis has some great benefits including strengthening your muscles and helping you maintain bone strength.
Of course, you don’t need to jump into an extreme exercise program like P90X and start hammering out massive curls and chin-ups to benefit. You can leave the extreme programs to the workout buffs.
Here are some ways you can get in an effective, low-key workout that will help reduce your joint pain:
- Do some gentle yoga
Yoga is more than just a gentle form of exercising—it’s life changing. From the outside, it may look like simple stretches and poses, but because it relies on core strength and postures that train you to breathe deeply and properly, yoga provides you with a full body workout, helping you achieve joint flexibility and endurance in the process.
Yoga is especially beneficial if you have arthritis because the stretches allow you to make modifications for your specific level of comfort. You can modify most positions to your knees and use blocks and chairs to relieve pressure on your wrists, knees, and other joints.
Sharon Kolasinski MD, a rheumatologist at the University of Pennsylvania, discovered that knee osteoarthritis patients who engaged in yoga once a week for eight weeks had a significant reduction in pain and improvement in joint mobility.
Yoga reduces stress
An Arthritis Foundation study has shown that rheumatoid arthritis patients experience far less pain and swollen joints when their stress levels are low.
Yoga is a great way to keep stress levels low. And the best part is that you don’t need much equipment. All you need is a mat, a DVD, some floor space, and you’re good to go.
- Use range of motion exercises
When your joints swell up from arthritis, your range of motion can become restricted, making it difficult to perform everyday tasks. Thankfully, range of motion exercises can help by progressively stretching your joints until a normal range of motion is reached.
These exercises can include some familiar pre-workout stretching, like raising your arms in circles over your head or rolling your shoulders. These exercises look simple but are powerful in contributing to increased joint mobility.
- Get in the pool
If you haven’t tried water exercises, it’s time to get your feet wet…literally. The buoyancy of the water makes you weightless, taking the pressure off your joints while you get in a good aerobic workout. Also, the warmth of the water naturally alleviates pain and stiffness in the joints.
The Arthritis Foundation says one of the best water exercises you can do is water walking. Since water provides a level of resistance twelve times that of air, a swimming pool is a perfect place to build muscle while going for a stroll.
- Use weight training to strengthen your muscles
You may not realize how important muscle strength is until you can’t easily open a jar or a bottle of water. In addition to providing you with strength, muscles are like shock absorbers that work to support and protect your joints. The better shape your muscles are in, the better they’ll protect your joints.
You can use a simple weight training routine just a few days per week to increase your strength. Just be sure to give your muscle groups a few days to recover before working them again.
Maintain wellness by exercising regularly
Regular exercise gives you more energy, improves your balance, helps you maintain cardiovascular health, and makes you feel great.
If health and wellness are important to you and you’ve considered a career in the medical field, contact Orion College today to find out how our flexible degree programs could put you on the path to helping others get well.