Arthritis is the #1 cause of disability in the US affecting more the 50 million Americans. May has been designated Arthritis Awareness month to help people find effective ways to manage this disease.
One of the best ways to successfully control arthritis symptoms is through exercise. Even though the thought of going for a brisk walk or performing any type of physical activity might seem overwhelming when you are suffering with joint pain, the truth is moving your joints is exactly what you need to keep debilitating arthritis symptoms at bay. Not moving your joints to avoid pain and discomfort will weaken your muscles and increase stress on the joints, worsening degenerative joint condition.
Why is exercising important when you have arthritis?
Exercising can help manage painful arthritic symptoms by:
- Strengthening the muscles that surround and support your joints
- Increasing bone density
- Improving your energy levels
- Reducing or maintaining your bodyweight
- Improving your balance
- Boosting your confidence
How do you exercise without making your arthritis symptoms worse?
- Start out with simple range-of-motion exercises that will reduce stiffness and improve flexibility such as neck rolls, shoulder rolls, and swinging your arms and legs in multiple planes of Range-of-motion exercises may be performed every day.
- To improve muscle tone, use light dumbbells or bodyweight Progressive weight training exercises improve muscle mass and bone strength. They can be performed 2-3 times a week.
- Aerobic exercise will improve heart health and Bicycling, swimming, and brisk walking are good examples of low-impact exercises that can be safely performed without harming your joints.
If you have not been exercising for some time, slowly ease into the activity giving your muscles and joints a chance to warm up. Avoid any movements that cause sharp joint pain. After exercise, application of ice will help reduce joint swelling and heat application will help sore muscles relax.
The key is to remain consistent with your workouts without overdoing it on days when you are feeling good or doing too little when you experience flare-ups of arthritis symptoms.
Dr. Frisch is a specialist orthopedic surgeon focusing on minimally invasive hip and knee joint replacement as well as complex primary and revision surgery. He believes in creating a very personalized experience with the highest level of service. For all appointments & inquiries, please contact our offices located in Rochester, River District, or Tawas City, MI.