We know that the weather has a role to play when it comes to arthritis pain and flare-ups. The cold weather can aggravate aches and pains. According to research from the Arthritis Foundation, cooler temperatures can:
- Increase pain sensitivity
- Slow down blood circulation
- Cause muscle spasms
This is why it is important to know just how beneficial physical activity and exercise can be when it comes to managing arthritis. Both can help increase strength and flexibility, reduce stress and help to combat fatigue.
Is there a difference between physical activity and exercise?
Yes there is.
Refers to all of the activities that make of your everyday life. This can include the cleaning of the house, what you do in work that keeps you moving and general physical lifestyle activities. The great news about this is that you can take advantage of your day-to-day physical activity to help get more active.
- Vacuuming: it’s a great example of aerobic exercise. When you vacuum you are using both your arm and leg muscles.
- Washing up: Washing the dishes can help you maintain movement. The warm water can help to loosen up finger joints, while loading and emptying the dishwasher can help stretch arm and leg muscles
- Making multiple trips with the shopping when bring it in from the car
- Walking to local shop instead of driving
Exercise is a type of physical activity. This is where you use exertion (effort) to improve at least one aspect of your physical fitness. Exercising will not make your arthritis symptoms worse as long as it’s the right type of exercise. The good news is that you aren’t stuck to just one type of activity or exercise. Choose one that you enjoy and that’s convenient for you.
Low-impact exercises, with little weight or force going through your joints is the best. This could include:
- Yoga, Tai Chi & Pilates
What are the benefits of physical activity & exercise?
When you exercise, you are actually ”feeding your joints”. The cartilage around joints depends on joint movement to be able to absorb nutrients and remove waste. Exercise can help you improve your overall health and fitness level without hurting joints.
With exercise you will be able to maintain a healthy body weight which will in turn help with arthritis management. Did you know that by losing just 1kg (2.2lbs) of excess weight, you are reducing the stress and pressure on your knees by 4kg (8.8lbs). Imagine the relief.
Increasing both physical activity and exercise into your daily lifestyle means that you can benefit from a wide range of benefits. This would include:
- Lowering your blood pressure and cholesterol
- Reduce the risk of stronger heart & lungs
- Promotes stronger heart and lungs
- Helps to control weight
- Improves your balance
- Helps you to maintain good bone strength and quality
- Strengthens your muscles, ligaments and cartilage around your joints
- Reduced joint pain and stiffness