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  • Eric Carlsen, DC

Ways to Get Exercise When You Have Arthritis

older man and woman doing stretching exercises for arthritis

There are three general types of exercise that are recommended for those with arthritis.

  • Flexibility and range-of-motion exercises. Gentle stretching should be done daily and is especially important before beginning a workout. Stretching will also help promote relaxation and help prevent future injury to the joint. Recommended exercises for flexibility and range-of-motion can include tai chi, Pilates, and modified yoga.

  • Strength and resistance exercises. Strong muscles greatly reduce the amount of stress placed on arthritic joints. Strengthening exercises also help muscles develop shock-absorbing abilities to protect joints from further pain and injury. Supervised weight training and resistance band programs can be customized to each patient and are easily adapted as the patient progresses.

  • Aerobic exercise. Aerobic exercises use the large muscle groups in the body and teach the cardiovascular system (heart, lungs, blood vessels) to work more efficiently. This type of exercise also improves endurance, strengthens bones, enhances sleep and mood, and helps control weight. Low-impact aerobic exercises are preferred by many arthritis patients and include swimming, water aerobics, stationary biking, and walking.

Body awareness is also important for people with arthritis, which refers to knowing how the body and joints are positioned such as posture, balance, and coordination. This can be particularly helpful for people with impaired joint awareness, such as with those who have had a joint replaced or have both joint and muscle problems from arthritis; these conditions can increase the risk of falling especially when body awareness is poor. Certain activities and exercises may be prescribed for body awareness, such as yoga.

From: Arthritis Health


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