Illness and injury can make it feel impossible to move, much less work out.I know.
I injured my hand recently, and it makes exercising difficult sometimes.
I’ve had to adapt. Thankfully, the sports medicine doctors said my hand is healing well and won’t need surgery. Still, I need to be mindful of the limitation while it heals.
Working out is possible, even when we have pain. Actually, working out can actually help with our pain. We just have to adapt.
Today I want to talk about a specific kind of pain; arthritis.
The joint inflammation of arthritis causes can be painful and exhausting. While medication is often used to manage pain, it’s really not enough.
As a Nurse Practitioner and zealous proponent for prevention, I often see the element of exercise is overlooked as an effective management tool for many kinds of arthritis.
Physical activity is critical, even for someone with arthritis.
Regular exercise maintains and strengthens muscles, keeps them flexible, and even helps control pain and swelling in the joints. Beyond the physiological benefits, exercise has its psychological rewards too – decreasing stress, improving mood, and having a relaxing effect. Exercise is a powerful tool.
Exercises to Decrease Pain and Increase Mobility
There are a lot of different ways to approach exercise for pain management. (People with arthritis are much more capable of activity than they often think.) Here are a a few exercises to reduce pain and increase mobility, among other benefits. Key thing to remember – many exercises can be adapted to your strength and fitness level. Don’t be afraid to experiment.
Stand in front of a chair, with back of knees touching chair. Place your hands on the arms of the chair, shoulder width apart. Then, supporting your weight on your arms, bend at the elbow, lowering yourself a bit and then pushing yourself back up. You will be able to dip your butt down lower to the seat of the chair as time goes on once you get stronger. You can even start this exercise by lowering yourself to the seat of your chair slowly and deliberately each time you go to sit. This activity alone will strengthen your arms more than you can imagine!
Yoga, Tai Cheng, Pilates/Piyo
Did you know stretching strengthens muscles? It does. And methods like yoga, Tai Cheng and piyo/pilates are fantastic programs for it. Can’t get out to the club? No problem – they can come to you in at-home DVD programs! Caution: as with any of these options, check with your doctor or NP first. It is important to start slowly and gradually increase the exercises as you get stronger. Be sure to do this and don’t overdo it too fast or you may be vulnerable to injury.
Don’t underestimate the power of going for a walk every day. Movement gets our blood flowing, muscles working, and the body functioning more optimally. This is essential for reducing pain and inflammation in the joints. Whether you do it on a treadmill, out on the road, or on an Elliptical machine for reduced joint impact, the point is to get moving.
Aquasize / Aqua-therapy
Check your local pool or YMCA for aqua-size class times. You may be fortunate enough to have a therapeutic pool in your area, which is even better for arthritis. There, water is kept at a warmer temperature (25.5 – 28°C), and the pool has access ramps for easier entry.
Yes, weight lifting is not only possible for someone with arthritis pain, but highly beneficial. As with many of these options, it’s best to get professional advice from your medical practitioner or fitness coach about how to proceed, but don’t let that stop you!
If walking impacts the joints too much, or you just happen to enjoy cycling, it’s a great alternative to get that blood flowing to muscles and joints. Hit the road for a scenic trip, or hop on a stationary bike at home or in a gym. It is a good idea to combine this with yoga or Tai Cheng to ensure you have good balance before heading out on the road!
A wealth of active recreation options can be beneficial too, if done carefully. Such activities include golf, hiking, raking, curling, bowling, or gardening. The important thing is to do something that’s both comfortable and enjoyable.
Benefits of Exercise to Arthritis:
The physical benefits of exercise to someone with arthritis are huge. Low-impact aerobics, strength training, and other activities listed above can help reduce joint stiffness (and prevent stiffness too!), build muscle, improve endurance, and benefit your heart and bones. Plus, you’ll feel great too – your mood will be improved, stress and anxiety reduced, and you’ll feel more relaxed.
Don’t know where to start? I can help.
Take a few minutes to watch this Tai Cheng Video.… To do this complete program may totally change your life!!
Once you get stronger and want to build up your core strength, you may be ready to move on to Piyo, which is an incredible program that combines pilates and yoga to help with back pain and create a solid core and strong muscles!
To get set up on a home-based programs or if you would like further information about options and recommendations, please CONTACT ME.
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