Published on October 7, 2013
The Importance Of Exercise For Arthritis Treatment
Exercise plays an extremely important role in keeping our joints healthy, mobile and stable. As well, arthritis exercises are one of the best ways to keep chronic inflammation at bay. Arthritis exercises prevent joints from degrading, and also increase blood flow and circulation to keep joints healthy. Additionally, exercise also allows us to lose weight as extra weight increases the load on joints. Did you know that one extra pound can cause as much as five pounds of pressure to be added to your joints? This is why you are always hearing it is important to avoid excess weight gain.
Exercises for arthritis will help to increase bone mineral density, muscle mass and promote circulation to the surrounding tissues of the joint. In order to help conquer your arthritic pain use a combination of exercises that include cardiovascular training, weight training and flexibility. Osteoarthritis patients tend to prefer low intensity exercises and stretches.
Arthritis Exercise Tips:
- Progression of exercises should be slow and gradual to avoid soreness. Start with using just your body weight and 8 repetitions working up to 1-2 sets of 20 reps.
- Alternate days of resistance training (2-3 per week) with low impact cardiovascular training for approximately 30 minutes with activities such as walking, swimming, cycling, aqua-aerobics, elliptical, etc. Anything that feels good for your body is welcome. Slowly condition yourself to accumulate between 150 to 300 minutes of aerobic exercise per week.
- Incorporate stretching into your program once or twice a week. As we age, we lose flexibility of tissues and maintaining adequate range of motion within our joints will help to keep them pain free and increase the synovial fluid to keep the joint healthy.
Example Of A Beginner’s Osteoarthritis Resistance Program:
- Warm up for 5 minutes using your choice of walking, marching, bike, elliptical or stair stepping at approximately 50% of your maximum heart rate.
- Alternate between lower body and upper body exercises to increase peripheral heart action (again start with 8 reps and work towards progressing to 20 reps 1-2 sets).
- Leg exercise can be either body weight squats against the wall with a stability ball for support, step ups or using a leg press machine
- Body weight Pushups in a kneeling position or against the wall. As your strength increases, move to full Pushups
- Standing rows using Flex Bands
- Side Bridges
- Stretching – holding each stretch for a minimum of 30 seconds and repeat 2-3 times