KEEP MOVING, TO STAY A STEP AHEAD OF ARTHRITIS.

There are many different forms of exercise to choose from. The type that is best for you will depend on your personal preference, the severity of your symptoms and whether or not you have other musculoskeletal conditions or health issues.

If you aren’t sure which exercises are suitable for you, be guided by your doctor or other health professional, such as a physiotherapist

Getting started is tough for people with arthritis, no doubt about it. But once you become consistent, exercise is self-reinforcing, because it gets easier, you lose weight, you gain strength, you experience less pain, and you feel better emotionally.

Aim to do some form of exercise every day. The exercises you choose should ideally help with:

Flexibility – stretching and range of movement exercises help maintain or improve the flexibility of your joints and nearby muscles. They will help keep your joints moving properly and ease joint stiffness.

Strength – to build muscle strength, provide stability to your joints and improve your ability to perform daily tasks

Overall fitness – exercise that gets you moving and increases your heart rate (such as walking, swimming and cycling) will help improve the health of your heart and lungs (cardiovascular system).

Many types of exercise can help with flexibility, strength and overall fitness at the same time, including:

  • swimming or water exercise classes
  • taichi,
  • walking
  • chair exercises
  • low-impact aerobics,
  • strength training and
  • dancing

The exercise you choose should be something you enjoy and you’re committed to doing. Consider exercising with friends, or in a group or a team environment if you find it difficult to get motivated. I have been personally doing these group classes for the last 5 years and look forward to each one of them.

Sometimes it can be difficult to exercise due to pain. An inflamed, hot or painful joint needs rest, but too little exercise can cause muscle weakness, pain and stiffness. It’s important to find the right balance of rest and exercise.

The trick to not losing quality of life, it is to find a substitute for the activities limited by arthritis. What can you do? Walk, swim, walk in water — anything that gets you moving. The bottom line: As we get older, if we don’t get up and move around as much as we can, then we soon won’t be able to move at all.

If you’re not sure what the right balance is for you, talk with your doctor, physiotherapist for some advice… but keep moving!

 

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