Exercise, exercise, exercise — do it, and your body will thank you. You may have rolled your eyes, and that statement or others like it, but when you have arthritis, you no longer have the option to ignore the importance of exercise.
Dr. David Wu and our team at CurePain have helped many in the greater Torrance, California, find relief from their arthritis symptoms through regular exercise. But it still seems to be the best-kept secret.
Here, we highlight the link between increased exercise and healthier, more mobile joints.
The magic of movement
At the heart of arthritis is a bone problem. The more your joints wear down, the more bone rubs against bone. What your bones need now are stronger muscles to support them. If you don’t exercise, those should-be-supportive muscles weaken and allow more stress on your joints.
The right exercise can work wonders on your health and significantly improve your arthritis without causing additional joint damage. Combined with the treatment program we prescribe, exercise can improve your quality of life and:
- Strengthen the muscles around your joints
- Enhance and maintain bone strength
- Help you sleep at night
- Make it easier to manage your weight
- Improve your balance
Exercise may also improve lack of energy and mood changes, which are some of the lesser-known side effects of arthritis.
How much activity do I need?
There’s no magic number of minutes you should clock on the treadmill to help your arthritis; simply do as much as your health allows and change your activity frequency and intensity to meet your needs.
If you don’t know where to start, we can help you find the perfect balance. Remember, some activity is better than none at all.
How to exercise safely
If you’re determined to make exercise a part of your arthritis treatment plan, you’ve taken an important step toward becoming healthier. But that doesn’t mean you should dive right in and run a marathon, especially if you haven’t ever done much exercise.
Instead, follow these SMART tips.
- Start low, go slow
- Activities should be joint-friendly
- Recognize safe ways to be active
- Talk to our expert
Here’s a closer look.
Start low, go slow
When you start or increase your activity, pay close attention to what your body tells you. This step is crucial if you’re new to the workout world. Some say it takes 6-8 weeks for your joints to get used to a new activity. So, allow yourself time to adjust to your new regimen and start with a small amount of exercise.
Also, make sure you warm up and cool down properly. Heat and ice therapy before and after your workouts can also go a long way.
With arthritis, there are good days and bad days. On those days when your symptoms are at their worst, modify your movements to keep your joints safe but still get some activity.
That may mean reducing weight, shortening a workout, cutting reps, changing your pace, trying a different activity, etc. talk to us if you need help tweaking your workouts.
Activities should be joint-friendly
Arthritic joints don’t need any extra stress. So, when you hear joint-friendly, think low-impact. We recommend that you try various exercises that work different parts of your body, including:
- Low-impact aerobic activity
- Muscle-strengthening exercises
- Flexibility exercises
- Balance exercises
- Range of motion exercises
The best exercises for arthritis are walking, bicycling, water aerobics, yoga, tai chi, etc. these activities and many others like them don’t force you to twist or pound your joints too much.
Be sure you’re using any equipment properly and wearing a pair of properly fitting supportive shoes.
Talk to our expert
Dr. Wu has many years of experience helping folks just like you understand how exercise works to improve arthritis. He can help you create the best arthritis exercise program to fit your needs and goals.
Need help getting started with an arthritis-friendly exercise program that’ll work for you? We’d love to talk with you. Call or click to schedule an appointment today.