More than 30 million people in the United States have osteoarthritis, a form of arthritis that involves the cartilage in joints wearing down. The likelihood of developing osteoarthritis increases with age, and the condition can limit a person’s independence if it becomes severe.
If you have arthritis, it may be difficult to move without pain. However, movement could be the key to improving some of your symptoms. Here are some exercises that can help improve arthritis pain and increase your strength:
Arthritis does not have to get in the way of a good cardiovascular workout. While some exercise options may put stress on your joints, there are many varieties that are still safe to do and will not cause joint pain. Some exercises you may want to try include walking, cycling, swimming or using an elliptical machine. These workouts will help improve your range of motion while building up your muscles and improving endurance. Water workouts can be especially beneficial because the water takes some of the weight off your joints.
It can be difficult for people with arthritis to get the recommended two days a week of strength training, but it is possible to build muscles when you have sore joints. This exercise is important for arthritis sufferers because it can reduce the likelihood of a fall by improving balance. If you find strength training difficult due to arthritis, talk to your doctor about the best way to incorporate this exercise into your routine.
“Using strength training to help arthritis may seem counterintuitive when aching joints make it painful to move,” says Dan Bushnell, administrator of Gramercy Court Assisted Living. “However, building up your muscles will help to support your joints and reduce pain.”
Exercises like yoga are low impact and can help build strength and flexibility over time. Yoga can also help build up your endurance and improve your balance. Taking a yoga class is accessible for people of all skill levels, and there may even be classes available specifically to help people with arthritis.
Arthritis can make you feel like you can’t do all the activities you once could. Flexibility exercises may help get you back in the swing of things by improving your joints’ range of motion. Work your affected joints through their full range of motion with a variety of exercises to improve your flexibility and reduce pain.
Exercises to avoid
While exercise can be beneficial for people suffering from arthritis, there are some workouts you should stay away from. Avoid exercise that will put extra strain on your painful joints, like workouts with running or jumping. Jump rope, high-impact aerobics and exercises that involve both feet leaving the ground for any amount of time are all exercises that could exacerbate joint pain.
Though movement right now is difficult, the right exercises can help increase your mobility and reduce pain from arthritis. Talk to your doctor about the best way to incorporate exercise into your routine and which workouts will benefit your arthritis the most. Bit by bit, you’ll find moving becomes less of a chore.