How Exercise Can Help Ease Pain and Stiffness from Arthritis
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Arthritis pain is one of the most common reasons people limit physical activity. But activity can be very helpful in reducing the pain and stiffness of arthritis. Appropriate exercises can increase flexibility and mobility of arthritic joints, help maintain body weight and improve health overall.
Cooper Fitness Center Dallas Professional Fitness Trainer Debi Wilkins offers her advice when it comes to dealing with arthritis and physical fitness. For years, Debi has worked with Cooper Fitness Center’s “Classics” members—those 70+ years old—to help maintain fitness and healthy activities.
Arthritis refers to a rheumatic disease that causes pain, stiffness and swelling in joints and other connective tissues. There are many different types of arthritis, but the most common type is osteoarthritis. The knee, hip and spine are the most common areas affected by arthritis.
Studies have shown that regular exercise and physical fitness can reduce joint pain and stiffness, increase flexibility and increase muscular strength and endurance. Before starting an exercise program, consult your physician about activities that should be avoided. Typically, exercises that improve arthritis pain include:
Range-of-Motion Exercises - Gentle exercises performed daily to maintain or improve range of motion around an arthritic joint. These are also good to do in the pool. Water aerobics helps alleviate extra strain on your joints. Try this exercise move for a great leg workout and upper-body stretch.
Strengthening Exercises - Resistance training can help keep or increase muscle strength to help support and protect joints affected by arthritis.
Aerobic/Endurance Exercises - Aerobic exercises improve heart, lung and muscle function. Remember to consult your physician or professional fitness trainer on the best type of aerobic activity for your type of arthritis.
After consulting with your physician, meet with a professional fitness trainer to review proper exercises and techniques. Before practicing your planned workout routine be sure to stretch or warm up with range-of-motion exercises. Remember, you may always modify any planned exercise to your comfort level.
Usually, you’ll know you’ve overdone it if your pain lasts longer than one hour or you experience unusual fatigue, increased weakness, decreased range-of-motion and increased joint swelling. If joints become painful and inflamed during exercise, rest and let your physician or professional fitness trainer know immediately.
Most importantly, find something you enjoy and stick with it. Exercise, along with a comprehensive arthritis treatment plan, can help decrease pain and increase quality of life. Take slow steps for better health and enjoy!
For more information about Cooper Fitness Center, click here or call 972.233.4832.