You might think that exercise will only worsen arthritis, but the truth is it alleviates joint pain and stiffness.
Exercise improves the power of the muscles around your joints so that they can support movement. It can also help maintain bone strength, reduce tension, and combat fatigue. Of course, the thought of exercise can seem overwhelming if the pain is severe. The good thing here is you don’t have to lift weights or swim like an Olympian to ease arthritis symptoms.
Here are some moderate exercises to keep you going:
Water walking is ideal if your joint pain is severe because it reduces the pressure on the joints by up to 50%, compared to walking on solid ground. Water also gives your entire body a gentle massage.
Find an instructor within your area who can teach you the proper form. Dipping into the water can excite you, and before you know it, you’re over-exercising already. An instructor can guide you through each session to make sure you don’t overdo it.
Note: For those who have had a joint replacement, you may perform water walking after your incisions have fully healed.
Swimming works for all your muscle groups and builds cardiovascular endurance.
Many would say swimming is the best exercise for all ages. Why? It engages all muscle groups while you’re enjoying the water. Swimming builds cardiovascular endurance, burns many calories, and reduces joint pain — as indicated in The Journal of Rheumatology.
However, it would help if you chose a routine that’s most comfortable for your joints. Exerting too much effort can increase injury risk and aggravate arthritis. For example, freestyle is ideal for people with knee arthritis because the legs are relatively straight.
Golf is a relaxed sport with considerable benefits to the upper back, shoulders, hands, wrist, and legs. If possible, avoid riding the motorised cart, and do a lot of walking to improve heart health at the same time.
David Taylor, CEO of Monkeyfoodz, shares that he plays golf to improve joint health gently.
“Wear proper sneakers with soft spikes. These spikes don’t grab the grass and cause tripping—unlike metal spikes. People who have arthritis should opt for lightweight clubs with graphite shaft and perimeter-weighted head for increased shock absorption. Pull your equipment in a wheeled cart if possible.”
Before playing, stand straight and gently rotate your hips, pretending you are swinging a club. Start with a few gentle swings using a light iron and then move to heavier ones once you are comfortable.
Walking outdoors is a proven stress reliever. You’ll reduce joint tension, improve heart and lung health, strengthen muscles, all while enjoying beautiful sceneries.
Search for smooth, dirt trails because they’re kinder to your joints than concrete or asphalt. Avoid uneven terrains or downhill treks because they can put stress on the joints.
Yoga is an ancient practice that aims to restore balance and control one’s mind and body. Numerous studies have shown that this slow-paced exercise can improve arthritis symptoms, relieve stress and anxiety, and improve sleep quality.
It’s important to discuss your condition with the yoga instructor because some poses can strain the joints. These poses can be modified to avoid injury.
Arthritis can hinder your daily activities, such as preparing your favourite hot beverage!
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