We’re seldom more creative than when we’re inventing excuses to avoid our weekly exercise routine. From impending appointments we “just can’t miss,” to the quality of the weather outside (even if you’re going to the gym), we can be masters of wriggling out from the activity we know we need.
Of all the reasons we cite for not getting up and moving, arthritis is certainly one of the most understandable. Joint pain, stiffness, sore ankles, and general fatigue can severely limit our enthusiasm for exercise. But staying fit and active is even more important for sufferers of arthritis as regular movement, increased strength, and general conditioning can help alleviate the symptoms.
What is a person with arthritis supposed to do?
Alabama Orthopaedic Surgeons know first-hand the difficulty arthritis patients face when it comes to staying healthy despite their condition. Here are four sure-fire ways to keep moving, get stronger, and reduce joint pain without going too far.
Reach [Halfway] For the Stars – And Walk
Increasing the blood flow and temperature of your muscles is the best way to avoid injury, and simulating the motion you’re about to perform can prepare the body best. When getting ready for a walk, consider stretching with half-movements to start out. Instead of a full lunge, squat, or complete seated hamstring stretch, work through the movements gradually and partially, increasing your range as you go.
Starting at a slow pace is its own warmup, so don’t be afraid to take it easy at first. You can increase speed and stride as you go along, but taking the first 5-10 minutes of a walk at a slower pace can ready your body for more later on.
Weight-training is great for strength and strength is great for joints. The more muscle you can lend to any motion or activity, the less pressure your joints ultimately take. Even so, hitting the weights can be an intimidating undertaking (perhaps the mostintimidating). But knowing where to start and not being afraid to keep it light and low can get you started on a path toward strength.
For working each major muscle group, a pair of light dumbbells works perfectly. You’ll want to prioritize repetition over weight by shooting for 10-12 reps for roughly 3-5 sets. When you’re confident, you can increase the weight slightly, but keep in mind that you’re working toward strength tomorrow rather than proving something today.
Discover Your Inner Fish
A good plunge isn’t just soothing and relaxing, it’s also an excellent way to relieve pressure on your joints. If you have access to a pool through a local gym or even your own backyard, a couple laps 3-4 times a week can work wonders.
Swimming and other aerobic water exercises can be the lowest of low-impact activities. Not only does the water support your body weight, taking some of the pressure off your achy joints, but it’s a great way to get your heart rate up and your blood flowing without risking injury.
You can find pools at local gyms, community centers, municipal recreation centers, or through public and private providers. Take a look around and choose the puddle best suited for you. Then, it’s as simple as making a splash.
Believe what you want to about crystals, herbs, tinctures, and aromas, but definitely consider tai chi and yoga serious, time-tested activities for moving and increased blood flow.
While it may seem mystical at first, there are plenty of videos online, digital guides, 101-courses, and community events where you can get the skinny on getting healthier through flowing movements and guided, meditative motions.
Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it. You might just discover your new favorite pastime.
Working Out with (and Through) Arthritis
Some movement is better than no movement every dayof the week. Choosing the right routine can make for the reliable exercise partner you need.
Alabama Orthopaedic Surgeons knows how hard it can be to get out there when you’re battling through aching joints, but choosing the best method of movement today can save you weeks upon weeks of making up excuses. For more information on how to discover your best self through smart exercises, consult one of our orthopaedic experts here today.