Exercise Tips for Arthritis
Feb 07, 2023
First the bad news: Almost 25% of adults in the United States have arthritis. However, there’s some good news, too: Exercise can actually halt, slow, or delay the onset of arthritis symptoms. Unfortunately, because of the pain associated with arthritis, many people shun it and therefore don’t reap the benefits it can bring.
But, there’s more good news. There are things you can do to exercise safely and comfortably.
Here at the Florida Pain Management Institute, with offices in Delray Beach and Boynton Beach, Florida, our pain management specialists are experts in helping people with arthritis exercise. In this blog, we explain more about what arthritis is and how you can get moving again.
Arthritis and exercise
Arthritis isn’t a single condition. It’s an umbrella term that refers to more than 100 conditions that involve joint pain and stiffness.
The most common type of arthritis, osteoarthritis, is linked to the mechanical wear and tear of the joints and cartilage. Another fairly common type of arthritis is rheumatoid arthritis, which is the result of an overactive immune system that attacks healthy tissue, such as joint cartilage. Some types of arthritis are a result of an infection.
Unfortunately, sufferers of arthritis often experience pain and stiffness when moving certain joints. And while a sedentary lifestyle can provide short-term relief, especially after an acute episode of arthritis, as time goes by, a lack of exercise can lead to increased joint stiffness as well as weight gain, which can increase the load on joints.
Fortunately, as we’ll explain below, there are things you can do to get your body moving again.
Tips to exercise with arthritis
If you have arthritis, the following tips may be able to help you exercise comfortably:
1. Stretch first
Before starting any workout, no matter how light, ease your joints and muscles into it by stretching. For example, lay down and draw your knees up to your chest and hold them for a minute. Then, stretch your hips by standing up and reaching down toward your toes.
2. Go for low-impact activities
High-impact activities, such as running, jogging, and jumping rope, can put tremendous pressure on your joints. Instead, try low-impact activities, such as swimming or cycling.
With swimming, the water can help suspend your joints, which can allow you to exercise with a decreased risk for pain. And with cycling, a can bike can support your weight as you pedal.
And using an elliptical machine can help you strengthen your leg muscles and keep you from slamming your feet against the ground.
3. Give yoga a try
Yoga can provide many benefits to arthritis sufferers. Yoga can help stretch your muscles, strengthen your core, and help you focus on your breathing to calm your nervous system. Yoga classes are available at every level, from beginner to advanced. And some classes are designed with specific goals, such as to increase strength or improve flexibility and range of motion.
Furthermore, there are other types of movement classes you can try — in person or online — such as tai-chi and pilates. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a list of recommended activities and exercise groups that can help anyone who has arthritis get moving again.
4. Get medical care
While exercise can gradually reduce arthritis pain and even help you control the condition, you may need some help getting to a place where you can exercise comfortably. If this describes you, we can discuss treatments that may be able to help you, such as the following:
- Facet joint injections
- Sacroiliac joint injections
- Peripheral joint injections
If you have arthritis and want help to get moving again, we can give you the help you need. To learn more, call 561-331-5050 or book an appointment online with Florida Pain Management Institute today.