Joint pain caused by arthritis can often feel debilitating, making it difficult to find the motivation to go above and beyond your daily routine. But did you know that staying active is vital for those suffering from arthritis?
According to the Mayo Clinic, working out is essential when you have arthritis as exercising can:
- Strengthen the muscles around your joints
- Help you maintain bone strength
- Give you more energy to get through the day
- Make it easier to get a good night’s sleep
- Help you control your weight
- Enhance your quality of life
- Improve your balance
How to Prep
Healthline recommends that you apply a heating pad to the joints that you will be using 20 minutes before your routine to get the blood flowing and reduce stiffness. If you take pain medication, you should take it up to 45 minutes before exercising to maximize its effectiveness.
Most fitness routines that are beneficial to arthritis pain are gentle, low-impact exercises that do not aggravate your joints. Many common activities include yoga or even gardening. You can start with range-of-motion exercises, so you can easily do them daily. Rolling your shoulders, raising your arms and legs up, and moving them slowly in a circular motion are great examples. Even small stretches make a difference. These exercises help reduce stiffness and prepare you for more complex routines. You should talk to your doctor before engaging in more demanding exercises.
Next, you want to build up your muscular strength, so try strength training. With this type of exercise, you’ll simply lift weights a few times to work your muscles — don’t worry, they don’t have to be heavy! Also, allow your muscles to heal and try to stay away from working the same area two days in a row.
Another type of fitness activity you can try are aerobic exercises. Walking, biking or swimming are great ways to improve your health without putting too much strain on your body, especially your joints.
Lastly, one of the best forms of exercise is an aquatic workout, as the buoyancy of the water allows you to work out without much impact on your joints. You can swim or do a full workout in the pool — it all helps your body combat joint pain.
If at any time you feel extreme discomfort or pain during any type of exercise routine, do not continue. Take a break and let your body relax. If the pain doesn’t subside within a day or so, contact your doctor.
How to Cool Down
After you finish, it’s recommended that you ice the joints that you were using to help decrease any swelling caused by the exercise. Icing afterward also helps soothe and relieve any pain brought on during the workout.
NOTE: Content included here is not medical advice, and only is intended as information for adults. Always consult with your health care professional before making changes to diet, exercise, medication, or before use of any product or device.