You may think arthritis and exercise do not go hand in hand, however this is definitely not the case. It was believed for many years that if an individual had arthritis they should not attempt exercise as it could further damage joints. Today, research shows that exercise is an essential tool in the management of arthritis.
If you are a sufferer of arthritis, you may not have a great enthusiasm for exercise and understandably so. However, specialists in the field of arthritis say that engaging in exercise is exactly what people need to do. It may be the last thing a sufferer with arthritis may want to do but exercises’ importance cannot be stated enough.
This is advice that 65-year-old Sibyl Zaden has taken into account. She is a former marathon runner and triathlete, and now suffers from osteoarthritis in her shoulders and knees. “My problem is lifting my arm,” she says. “It’s very painful. I can lift it halfway and that’s it.”
Her knees hurt, too. Even with the pain Zaden has not been deterred from going to the gym and getting on a treadmill for 15 to 30 minutes on a regular basis. Her doctor, UCLA Medical Centre rheumatologist Roy Altman, says more people with arthritis should follow this example.
“The one thing that people don’t understand is that you have to do something,” Altman says. “When you don’t do anything with osteoarthritis of the knee, arthritis actually gets worse.”
Even though exercise may be viewed as near impossible for sufferers of arthritis due to pain, its importance cannot be stated enough. Even light exercises can provide strengthening of the joints and also helps to provide positive results. Regular and moderate exercise provides a number of benefits to those who suffer from arthritis.
Exercise mainly helps to reduce joint stiffness and pain, this helps to build strong muscle around the joints and then this can lead to increased flexibility and endurance. This is turn can reduce inflammation from arthritis and other associated conditions and reduces the risk of other chronic conditions.
Beginning a programme of exercise may seem like a daunting task but the important thing to remember is to go at your own pace and try to make it fun. Flexibility exercises are a good starting point, so something like stretching, which will improve motions, which will help with performing daily activities is a good idea.
Once you feel comfortable with this, light weight training, water aerobics, playing golf, yoga walking and cycling machines are all beneficial methods of facilitating exercise. Setting goals such as regular exercising will help to motivate you as well. Do not feel like it is to late to start these programmes and with some planning and motivation, personal goals can be attained.
If you are thinking of beginning one of these programmes always consult your doctor, occupational therapists or physiotherapists beforehand, who will be able to advise you best as to what your exercise capacity should be. They will be able to provide any other necessary advice you may need.