If arthritis is in your family you are likely to also develop this inflammatory disease. A family free of this condition doesn’t free you from risk under certain circumstances. If your job or an athletic pursuit has caused strain on a joint or joints, arthritis is frequently the outcome in later life, starting at around the age of 40. You could potentially prevent or slow the onset of arthritis, but even if it’s too late, this article will supply some ideas about how you can exercise with arthritis.
Take it Easy
When you are in a lot of pain it is unrealistic to aim for high intensity workouts and a fitness regimen similar to what you once knew. Right now your aim is to reduce inflammation and pain using fitness as one of your tools. Consult a physiotherapist about how best to approach exercise and for some ideas about which ones will work best to increase range of motion, strength, and reduce pain.
Maybe you have never been much for sports and fitness. It’s never too late to get started, but you have to begin slowly at first. Start with warming up your body. Improve circulation by taking a walk or going for a swim. If you can’t manage this, have a hot shower first to increase blood flow, sending nutrient rich and oxygenated blood cells to the affected area.
Safe to Stretch
Increase flexibility by stretching areas affected by arthritis. Yoga is an excellent exercise for individuals with arthritis because there is zero impact but plenty of stretching. You also learn to breathe properly, increasing oxygen volumes to your blood and sending more oxygen to inflamed areas. Even if you can’t manage a heart-pumping aerobic workout, you can still stretch.
Careful with Cardio
When you feel ready to tackle some cardio movements, take it easy and begin with something gentle. Walking is the easiest and cheapest form of exercise but you might have to give it a miss if your hip or knee is giving you trouble. Swimming is the best starting point.
This is the quintessential non-impact exercise. Water supports joints, protecting them from damage. At the same time you make your heart and other muscles work hard, at least as hard as you can manage.
With other movements, be careful not to cause too much impact to the affected areas. Running is not recommended for arthritic knees and hips but an elliptical trainer is much easier on your lower body while also working your arms. Select a program that alternates or increases resistance so you actually feel like you worked. If you really want to run, use a treadmill or find a route that keeps you off of cement sidewalks and, if possible, even off of the road. Choose grass, sand, and other soft trails. Always wear supportive footwear when you work out.
Remember to lift weights or do pushups: something to strengthen the muscles around your inflamed joints. This will increase circulation, strengthen your bones, and help to prevent injuries which are likely to increase arthritic symptoms.