Living with arthritis makes moving your joints painful and difficult. The less you move your joints, the more your joints deteriorate, making it even more difficult and painful to move. This is why effective and comfortable exercise techniques are imperative when you have arthritis. If you want to reduce your arthritis pain, consider trying these low-impact exercises.
One reason arthritis is frustrating is that it affects your mobility, so you may not be able to bend, twist or move as well. This reduced movement means you don’t use your muscles as much, so they shrink, further impacting your joint mobility. For this reason, stretching is especially important for anyone with arthritis or another mobility complication.
Stretching exercises won’t cure your arthritis, but it will take some strain off the joint and put it back on your muscles. If you are new to stretching, you may want to speak with your doctor to get some tips and to be sure this is a recommended activity for you. It is important to make sure you aren’t stretching “cold” muscles. You need a small warm-up, such as a short walk, before you start stretching. Otherwise, you risk muscle damage.
Yoga is a type of exercise that offers lots of positions that help stretch muscles, open joints, strengthen muscles, and improve balance. The movements are low-impact, and you typically flow into each move. Yoga positions range from simple to complex, so you should start with easy poses.
Another benefit of yoga is that it forces you to focus on your breathing and movements. This helps you focus more on your body, which can help reduce stress. If you can’t do a pose without pain, talk to your doctor or physical therapist about modifying the exercise or using special tools, such as foam rollers.
Pilates is like more advanced yoga. It still uses poses, but the poses are more about strengthening muscles, especially the core. For this reason, before you start Pilates, you need to be able to perform exercises by using your core. Pilates may be a particularly good idea if your arthritis causes poor posture or is worsened by poor posture.
The core strengthening exercises in Pilates helps improve posture. In particular, the exercises target the deep muscles in the back and abdomen, which are hard to get to but are important for good posture. It may be best to start with a class because proper posture and form is imperative. If you perform these without the right posture or form, you can actually worsen your situation. Check within your community to find classes and instruction in Pilates.
Swimming is one of the most ideal exercises for people with arthritis because it is basically non-impact. Instead of your bones and joints supporting you while you swim, the water does. In fact, you only support about 10 percent of your body weight while swimming. This allows you to strengthen muscles and your cardio system without much strain on joints.
If you don’t like swimming, the pool may still be a good place to exercise. In particular, aqua-jogging is a great idea if you have arthritis. You get the same benefits of jogging, but your joints experience 50 percent less weight. Aqua-aerobic is another great option to consider. Your local community pool may offer this.
It is important and beneficial to exercise when you have arthritis, but many types of high-impact activities can worsen your condition. Luckily, the four types of low-impact activities listed here help strengthen and stretch muscles to relieve some joint stress. If you want to find out more about living with arthritis, consult with your local doctor.