In the past, the issue of exercise for arthritis drew mixed reactions from the healing community. There were fears that exercise could damage joints and increase inflammation in arthritis patients.
However, a growing body of research suggests the opposite. One such study was conducted by University of North Carolina’s Thurston Arthritis Research Center.
Their eight-week PACE (People with Arthritis Can Exercise) showed that physical activity is not only useful but vital for people suffering from arthritis. The program was approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Regular moderate exercise has several benefits:
Exercise must be planned and controlled. Start slow and keep it fun. Exercise is effective only if you continue the physical activity over a long period of time. Hence the need to enjoy the exercise.
Begin with flexibility exercises. Stretching gets rid of stiffness and improves your range of motion. This makes it easy to perform day to day activities without pain.
Strengthening exercise should follow flexibility exercises. Weight training helps maintain and improve the strength of joints and muscles.
Endurance exercise improves overall health, aids weight reduction and boosts the health of vital organs like the heart and brain.
Weight reduction is crucial for arthritic patients because overweight patients experience excruciating pain in their joints and bones. Losing excess weight relieves pain and inflammation significantly. Low impact endurance exercises like walking and swimming are excellent exercises for arthritis.
Important points to note before you exercise for arthritis:
In case of small pains and aches, patients may use a number of home remedies to find relief and continue with their exercise for arthritis.
Moist heat application through warm towels or a warm bath is helpful. In case of swelling and inflamed joints, a cold pack may be applied to the area.
In patients who experience chronic pain and stiffness, hydrotherapy or exercising in water helps reduce pain. There are special exercises for people with arthritis.
Relaxation therapy is effective for releasing tension in muscles. Physical therapy and acupuncture are examples of relaxation therapies. Discuss with your doctor to identify the best therapy.
Exercise has a host of benefits for arthritis patients and goes a long way in managing the degenerative condition. However, patients must exercise safely and regularly to achieve and maximize results.