Exercising with Arthritis

Posted on May 17, 2019

Always warm-up before jogging or injury occurs…

Written By: Megan DeLuca, MEd, CPT
PTS Fitness Blogger

Your joints ache, you’re tired and in pain. Getting up and active may be the last thing you want to do but it could be just what you need to ease pain, improve range of motion and energy level. Exercise plays an important role in managing arthritis symptoms and has many benefits including:

 aiding joint lubrication and nourishment
 easing joint pain and stiffness
 improving flexibility
 building muscular strength
 improving balance
 helping you sleep better
 improving posture
 improving or maintaining bone density
 improving overall health and fitness
 lowering stress levels
 improving your mood
 helping you maintain a healthy body weight

The type of exercise that is best for you will depend on your personal preference, the severity of your symptoms and whether or not you have other musculoskeletal conditions or health issues.

The exercise you choose should be something you enjoy and you’re committed to doing. Consider exercising with friends, or in a group or a team environment if you find it difficult to get motivated.

Arthritis-friendly activities include:

 swimming or water exercise classes
 tai chi
 walking
 chair exercises
 low-impact aerobics
 strength training
 dancing

Sometimes it can be difficult to exercise due to pain. An inflamed, hot or painful joint needs rest, but too little exercise can cause muscle weakness, pain, and stiffness. It’s important to find the right balance of rest and exercise.

Some general exercise safety guidelines to follow:

 See your doctor before starting any new exercise program to help determine which exercises are suitable for you. If you have had a joint replaced, find out from your surgeon or health professional which movements you should limit or avoid.
 Don’t exercise a painful, inflamed or hot joint. Instead, gently move the joint through its range of movement to help reduce stiffness and improve circulation.
 Start gently and increase the intensity of your exercise program gradually over weeks or months.
 Warm up thoroughly beforehand. Cool down after exercise with gentle movements.
 Pay attention to good technique and try to move smoothly. Don’t force a joint beyond a comfortable range of movement.
 Don’t try to do too much too soon. If you feel out of breath, slow down.
 If your joint feels particularly painful afterward (for longer than two hours after an exercise session), reduce the intensity of your next exercise session.
 If an activity causes you pain or increases your pain beyond what is normal, then stop this activity.
 Drink plenty of fluids during and after exercising.
 Wear appropriate clothing and footwear when exercising.

For more information on arthritis please visit www.arthritis.org