Low Impact Exercises For Arthritis
Gentle exercise can help your body in many ways, including reducing symptoms of arthritis by helping you control weight and improve balance, bone and muscle strength, energy and overall quality of life.
Check with your doctors first
Your rheumatologist or general doctor will know what you should avoid in an exercise program, so it's best to always check with them before beginning. You may be using light exercise to combat arthritis, but you also could have other underlying conditions you don't want to aggravate, such as high blood pressure. Ask your doctor specifically how long and how hard you should exercise to benefit you without causing strained or pulled muscles, which can set you back.
Get the right gear
A large part of exercising safely is using the right equipment properly. For most exercises, you'll need a good, well-fitting pair of running shoes. Remember, you can wear running shoes for walking as well, but finding a different pair specifically for a more leisurely pace may prove beneficial. It's also best to shop for your new kicks later in the day because sometimes your feet swell as you move through the day and you can always tighten the laces for morning workouts. Shoes that are too tight or ill-fitting will deter you from an exercise regime.
What are some low-impact exercises?
You can choose from several different low-impact exercises to help you in your quest for pain relief.
Walking is a great daily exercise, with the option to go fast or slow depending on how much of a workout you want. If you have balance issues, consider changing locale. Simply walk up and down the aisles of a big box store and use a shopping cart to support yourself. As an added incentive, you may find a great item for your home or a loved one or even simply knock out day-to-day errands.
Cycling is another good option, but to eliminate the barrier of inclement weather, consider a stationary bike. Set your own pace, get your heart rate up and keep your joints moving, all while watching your favorite show—just set your bike up in front of your TV. To prevent back pain or overextension of your limbs, adjust your seat height and handlebars appropriately.
Water aerobics allows for light exercise without the need for weights, as pushing your body against the water works similarly to resistance bands. You can also meet new friends in a water aerobics class, which can keep you accountable to others and more likely to keep up the routine.
Weight and resistance training, contrary to popular belief, can be good exercise methods to relieve arthritis pain. The key to weight training is to make certain you get advice from a personal trainer so you learn and maintain correct form, preventing injury. To strengthen your joints, try weight machines, free weights or resistance bands.
Dancing and arthritis
Another great and fun activity for strengthening and building muscle around arthritic joints is dancing. Dancing gets you moving and includes some aerobics, and there are some dance classes that target arthritis specifically.
If you are a bit shy and don't want to exercise and dance with other people, you can find a video that targets dancing for arthritis and dance yourself healthy at home and at your own pace.
Other activities for exercise
Any exercise is better than none when it comes to arthritis. The goal is to get moving more than normal to improve joint health. You can rake leaves in the lawn, mow with a push mower, walk the dog, mop, sweep and vacuum the floor to get gentle exercise. Each of these activities uses your muscles a bit differently to give you a variation daily and keep you interested.
Age doesn't matter when it comes to exercise and staying healthy with arthritis. Your main goal is to strengthen your muscles and tissues around your joints to improve your mobility and relieve joint pain.