Tips for Exercising with Arthritis
Exercises for People With Arthritis
Stretching, strength training, and cardio workouts are important factors in any fitness program, but when you have arthritis, it’s important do these workout routines while taking care to avoid jarring movements that increase pain and inflammation of the joints. Anytime you exercise you should be sure to wear good quality, supportive footwear, and only exercise on flat level surfaces to help avoid injury.
Stretching is important for people with arthritis. It helps reduce stiffness, and prevent the loss of function. One good exercise is the Sun Salutation. This yoga stretch is easy to adapt to varying levels of ability, and gives the entire body a good stretch.
- Stand with feet together and arms to your side.
- Bring yourself up as tall as you are able. Pay attention to good posture.
- Bring your arms forward, and up until your hands are over your head.
- Spread your fingers, and stretch up as far as you’re able.
- Lean back from the waist slightly.
- Bend at the waist.Try to touch your toes. Don’t try to stretch father than you are comfortable, but challenge yourself.
- Hold this position for a few seconds.
- Straighten and return to the standing position. Repeat 3 or 4 times.
Cardio exercises get your blood circulating, and help strengthen your heart. Walking, running, and bicycling are examples of good cardio exercises. It’s important to start slow when beginning cardio exercises. For people with arthritis, using an exercise bike is best because it puts little pressure on the joints, while providing a good work out for the heart and lungs. Swimming is also good for people with arthritis. The water provides slight resistance that challenges muscles and helps build muscles. Walking is the easiest cardio exercise to start because it requires no gym membership, and no special equipment other than supportive footwear.
Strength training helps maintain muscle mass as you age, and having strong muscles helps protect your joints from injury and makes everyday tasks easier. Start slowly and use weight bands, small hand weights to avoid overtaxing your joints. You can combine stretching or cardio with a little strength training by using wrist or ankle weights while you stretch, walk or ride a bike, but it’s also important to challenge your muscles by lifting weights that are as heavy as you can manage without pain.