Some people question the wisdom of engaging in exercises when one has arthritis. To them, this chronic disease does not go hand in hand with physical exertion. In the past, it was thought that exercises and other physical activities can even aggravate the condition and do serious damage to the affected joints. However, several medical studies have confirmed the beneficial effects of specific exercise regime to patients who are suffering from arthritis.
For those who are suffering from this chronic condition, starting an exercise program may seem to be a daunting task. The important thing that you have to remember is that you have to take it one step at a time and start slow. It would be best that you begin with flexibility or stretching exercises. These are the types of exercise which will help you maintain your capability to perform regular daily activities. And once you are able to provide the necessary foundation, then you can “up the ante” and engage in moderate exercise routines including endurance exercises and weight training.
General Overview of Arthritis Exercise
Exercise is actually an important component of arthritis treatment. Light to moderate exercise routines performed on a regular basis can significantly help in reducing fatigue and malaise, increase stamina and flexibility, strengthen the bones and muscles and boost the health and overall well-being of the patient. Joint flexibility is extremely important for people who are suffering from this disease. Stiff joints brought about by the condition can lead to inability of the person to perform even the simplest and ordinary daily tasks.
People who are intent on managing their arthritis problem must focus on three main categories of the exercise program. These are:
Flexibility exercise – range of motion and stretching
This may seem to be a major challenge especially for those who are engaging is such physical activities for the first time. However, if you know how to properly incorporate them in your daily routine, you will learn that it is not as hard to get going.
Consult with your Doctor Before You Pump those Irons
Before you start with any exercise program, it is important that you consult with your doctor in order to determine which one is the most appropriate for your condition. You may also have to discuss your exercise program with a physical therapist. These are the things that must be done if you want to start on the right foot and help yourself design a program that will not damage your joints and worsen your condition.
Rest is important in case the affected joints are swollen, painful and warm. Thus, your doctor as well as your physical therapist may recommend light to moderate range of motion and stretching exercises to maintain normal movement of the affected joints.
Flexibility Exercises for Arthritis
Flexibility exercises are light range of motion and stretching exercise routines that are normally done on a daily basis. This exercise regime helps arthritis sufferers protect susceptible joints by limiting the risk of possible injury to the affected joints and preparing the body for the tougher exercise routines later. Flexibility exercise also helps to release tension from the body.
Those who are suffering from arthritis are strongly advised to engage in light flexibility exercises for about 15 minutes to ease the stiffness in the affected joints, which normally occurs in the morning. This healthy morning habit should be helpful in maintaining the range of movement of the joints that are affected by arthritis.
Strengthening Exercises for Arthritis
Those who have arthritis should focus on ways by which they can build their muscles. This will help them alleviate the stress on their joints, especially the weight-bearing ones which are the most susceptible to this chronic disease. Your muscles serve as the natural “shock absorber” of your body and stronger muscles mean better protection for your joints from serious injuries.
Strengthening exercises use resistance or weights to develop and strengthen your muscles. Patients who are suffering from arthritis should engage in strengthening exercises every other day after doing the necessary stretching and warm-up routine.
Cardiovascular Exercises for Arthritis
Cardiovascular exercise programs are those involving endurance and aerobic routines. These are basically physical activities that target the body’s large muscles characterized by continuous and rhythmic motions. Examples of cardiovascular exercises include swimming, dancing and walking. The main objective of cardiovascular exercises is to ensure that the major organs of the body, which include the muscles, lungs and heart, function more efficiently. These exercise routines will also boost your endurance, strengthen the bones and reduce stress, anxiety and depression.
Arthritic patients are advised to integrate aerobic exercises in their fitness program 3 to 4 times a week. Your main objective is to obtain your ideal heart rate for half an hour for every session.
Can exercise work as a cure?
While exercise regime is an integral part in the management of the disease, you will not be able to get full benefit if you fail to adopt the appropriate treatment mode for your condition. This is one of the major reasons why you have to seriously consider some of the well known side effect free treatments for instant relief.