Exercise That Works For Arthritis

Image Credit Sohel Parvez Haque|https://www.flickr.com/photos/sohelparvezhaque/17055878207
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Suffering from arthritis? Check out these exercise options to help ease your pain.

• Health: DIY • Health: Exercise • Health: Tips & Tricks

When you suffer from arthritis pain, exercise may be the last thing you feel like doing. It is, however, one of the main things you should be thinking about. Exercise can help reduce pain, improve your range of motion, and help your ease of your movement.

The exercise program for arthritis should consist of many different parts. These parts include:

Warm Up
It is imperative that you work up each time you exercise. Your joints and muscles need a chance to warm up to prevent injury. It doesn't have to be long. Simply walking or doing another slow-paced exercise will do. Some find it helpful to use heat prior to exercising. It will help loosen joints even more.

Flexibility & Stretching
This type of exercise is the most important for those suffering from arthritis and you should do them each day for at least 15 minutes. The best type flexibility / stretching exercises include those like yoga or tai chi. You should remember the following tips when doing this portion of your exercise routine:

  • Move gently, deliberately, and slowly when stretching

  • Slight discomfort is acceptable, but don’t push yourself beyond that

  • Doing your stretching exercises in a warm room can increase the flexibility of your muscles by helping to relax them

Strength Training
When the muscles around the joints are stronger, it can help make the joints less sore. These should be done after your flexibility exercises every other day. The both isometric and isotonic exercises should be used. Isometric exercise your muscles without the joints moving while isotonic exercises work your muscles while bending the joints. When doing strength training, here are a few tips to remember:

  • Don’t lift heavy weights right away. You should ease into this type of training.

  • Your muscles need time to recover, so you should take a day off between strength training exercise routines.

  • Joint pain shouldn't be "pushed through." If you feel pain, the amount of weight or the resistance should be reduced. You may also want to find another exercise that doesn't cause pain but works the same muscles.

After you can do flexibility and strength training routines in a comfortable manner, you should work aerobic into your exercise program. Aerobic exercise is not just good for arthritis. Your overall health can also benefit from aerobics. It is important that you select the right type. Here are a few tips you should remember:

  • Low impact exercises such as walking are recommended instead of high impact ones such as running/jogging.

  • The best type can be ones with no impact at all. These include bicycling or water exercises such as water aerobics or swimming.

  • They should not be done every day. Three-four days each week works best. Though ideally your goal is 30 minutes of aerobics that are done to target your heart, you should always start slowly. When you first start exercising as little as five minutes is fine.

  • Listen to your body when it speaks. If your joints hurt for an extended time after a workout, one hour or more, or your joints swell, stiffen, or feel weak discuss adapting your workout with your doctor.

Cool Down
Don't just stop exercising after aerobics. Just like your exercises need to warm up, they need to cool down. Here are a few tips you should remember to make sure your body gets the best benefit from your exercise routine:

  • Allow five-ten minutes for cool-down time

  • End your aerobic activity at a slow pace to begin to bring your heart rate down.

  • Do a few more easy stretches to further cool down the muscles / joints.

When you've finished your exercise cool-down portion, you should soak your body in a hot bath or warm whirlpool to help relax your joints / muscles. You can also spend some time in a steam room or sauna. After the hot soak, if you have sore muscles / joints, or if your joints appear swollen a bit, apply ice to them to reduce inflammation. Before long, you'll begin to feel the benefits of your efforts and you’ll be glad you started exercising.