Arthritis and Exercise - Know Your Limits!

You may think that arthritis and exercise don't go together but you would be wrong.  If you suffer with arthritis it is important to exercise regularly using flexibility, strengthening and aerobic activities.

Exercise can actually ease the pain of arthritis provided it's the right kind of exercise.

If you suffer with any form of arthritis you need to be aware of the kind of excercise which is going to help your condition and what is going to make it worse.  When you want to exercise but aren't sure what to do, arthritis pain, stiffness, and the fear of doing harm can be powerful forces to overcome.

Thanks to many people with arthritis who have volunteered to exercise in various research studies, it is now acknowledged that people who have arthritis and exercise will be more likely to improve their general health and sense of well-being which are all important for good arthritis care.

A healthy diet and regular exercise programme that includes flexibility, strengthening, and aerobic exercises lessens fatigue, builds stronger muscles and bones, increases flexibility and gives you more stamina.

People who have arthritis and exercise have improved their personal level of fitness with an exercise programme that includes walking, bicycling, or aquatic exercises. After two or three months, most exercisers report less pain, anxiety and depression.

Traditional medical care of arthritis is based on helping people mainly when their arthritis flares. During a flare, it's important to rest more and to protect the inflamed joints. However, continuing to be inactive after the flare is over can be bad for your health and actually increase some arthritis problems.

Unused joint, bones and muscles deteriorate quickly. Even for someone who does not have arthritis knows that long periods of inactivity can lead to weakness, stiffness, fatigue, poor appetite, constipation, high blood pressure, obesity, osteoporosis, and increased sensitivity to pain, anxiety and depression.

These are some of the problems that occur when a person has arthritis. So it can become difficult to tell whether it's the arthritis, inactivity, or some combination of the two that is to blame.

People who have arthritis and exercise should be able to improve their all round physical fitness.

What is Physical Fitness

  • Physical fitness is a combination of
  • Cardiovascular fitness (heart, lungs, and blood vessels)
  • Muscle strength
  • Muscle endurance
  • Flexibility
  • Percent of body fat.

People who have arthritis and exercise regularly should have an exercise programme that includes flexibility, strengthening and aerobic activities. This will improve and maintain their physical fitness above and beyond the general benefits of improved health.

Strong muscles that do not tire quickly help protect joints by improving stability and absorbing shock.

  1. Good flexibility lessens pain and reduces the risk of sprains and strains.
    Maintaining a good weight helps take stress off weight-bearing joints.
  2. Regular exercise that moves the joints improves joint circulation and nutrition, decreases joint swelling, and keeps cartilage and bone healthy.
  3. Regular exercise and fitness also result in higher energy levels, less depression and pain, better balance, and greater comfort doing daily activities.

By understanding physical fitness and exercise, you'll be able to improve your health, feel better, and manage your arthritis too. Feeling more in control and less at the mercy of arthritis is one of the benefits of becoming an exercise self-manager.

Your Exercise Programme

Although there are exercises that you can do on a daily basis in and around the home it is generally more enjoyable if possible to join a class or to buddy up with at least one other person.

This helps to keep you motivated. Any exercise programme takes commitment and can prove a challenge. Arthritis and exercise creates a bigger challenge.

Recongnize that there are times when you have a flare up that you will not be able to go to a class. So expensive membership fees that have to be paid monthly, quarterly or annually could be a waste of money.

  • Look for Classes that are designed for moderate and low intensity exercise.
  • Instructors who have qualifications and experience. Better still and understanding of arthritis and exercise.
  • Membership fees that are payable on attendance.
  • Facilities that are easy to get to, park near and have professional staff on site.
  • A pool that has an 'adults only' time when the pool is free of noisy and boisterous children.

Check out these websites to see if they run any exercise classes local to you

United States

Your Complete Guide to Arthritis and Exercise

Download this pdf publication "Exercise and Arthritis" by Arthritis Care.

It gives an indepth guide to what you should include in your exercise programme. You can then personalise your own exercise programme according to your level of fitness and mobility. No matter how bad you think you are there are exercises in it for everyone. Even exercises that you can do while sitting in a chair in your own front room.

Topics Covered:

  • Exercising for Health
  • The different types of exercise
  • Common exercises for people with arthritis
  • Aerobic exercises
  • Other popular ways to exercise
  • Working exercise into daily life
  • Tips for specific types of arthritis
  • Information on more resources.

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