If you have arthritis, doing any exercise can be extremely painful, especially if you have been inactive for a long time. However, exercise is one of the best ways to improve your arthritis pain as long as you choose the right type of exercises. Depending on where your arthritis is located, some types of exercise can make it worse, so check out these three best types of exercise for arthritis sufferers.
Low-Impact Aerobic Exercises
Aerobic exercises are great because they help keep your weight down. Even if you aren't obese, a little extra weight puts a lot of stress on your joints, causing pain and inflammation where you have arthritis. However, some aerobic exercises can actually cause your pain to worsen. For example, if you have arthritis in your back, the impact of running could lead to more pain. It's best to stick with low-impact aerobic exercises such as cycling, swimming, elliptical, etc. Remember to start off slow. Getting too intense too soon could lead to injury or cardiovascular problems if you aren't used to being active.
Low-Impact Strengthening Exercises
Strengthening exercises are great because they strengthen the muscles around the arthritis. This allows the muscles to do more work, taking pressure and stress off your affected joints. Keep in mind that too much weight on the affected joint may cause damage, so start off slow, and make sure to work every muscle not only the muscles near your arthritis. If you are extremely sensitive to lifting weights and/or you have never done strength training, talk to your doctor about a physical therapist. A physical therapist will teach you minor muscle building/strengthening exercises you can do at home without weights while you build strength and endurance.
One of the most frustrating aspects of arthritis is the loss of mobility. If it is painful to move the joint, you likely don't move it much. This leads to decreased range of motion, which only worsens your condition. Yoga is a great range-of-motion exercise for arthritis sufferers because it is extremely low-impact, and you can go at your own pace. Yoga uses different poses to open joints and stretch muscles, tendons, etc. Plus, as you learn (and are able to perform) more advanced poses, it can also help build strength. Some of the poses you may learn in physical therapy are actually yoga poses, which could be a good starting point if you are new to yoga.
If you are sick of your arthritis pain, stop hiding in bed. The best way to improve your symptoms is by getting active with the right exercises. Make sure you talk to your doctor before start any exercise program. If you've been given the all clear, or you are used to exercise, get started today by finding a local yoga studio in your area today.