Arthritis friendly workouts
- By Sanjay Akolkar
Rheumatoid arthritis is more common in women over 60, and is the inflammatory type of arthritis where the synovial fluid functioning is disrupted. The synovial fluid maintains the health of joints, bones, and cartilages. Osteoarthritis is the most commonly occurring type in both men and women, and in this type there is gradual wearing away of the bone cartilages, which, in turn, causes stiffness, and pain in the muscles, joints and tendons.
There is a classic catch 22 situation in arthritic patients and that is they avoid exercise or are advised extreme caution while exercising. The pain and soreness which comes from exercising can be extremely discouraging, so some shun exercise altogether. Now, the lack of exercise is going to precipitate the condition further, and could even increase the soreness, and lead to deformity. This is what challenges most arthritic patients. Should someone with arthritis be allowed to exercise? And if yes, then what type of exercise will prove to be most beneficial?
Main question is: Are there any arthritis friendly workouts?
Doctors now recommend that exercising could actually work wonders for arthritis patients. The right method and type of exercise can help ease the inflammation and soreness of the joints, and build overall health, strength and flexibility of the bones, and joints as well.
What would be a good exercise routine?
- The arthritis foundation recommends routines which exercise the flexibility of the joints, and build muscle mass, for better shock absorption, coupled with physical endurance should be specially designed for arthritics.
- Regular walking: Walking is a great exercise for arthritics. Walking at a steady pace for about 30 minutes, thrice a week, can help keep the limbs active, and could reduce the swelling at the knees, and hip joints. Warm up is absolutely essential in any work out, and here it is of paramount importance that you go through a warm up routine before you begin your walk. Simple leg raises, hand to toe stretches, and light back bends can be done to warm up the muscles and joints for your walking activity. That will also reduce the possibilities of strain or sprains of the ankles along the way. Choose your exercise route to ensure that you don’t walk up a gradient, and put unnecessary pressure on your knees and ligaments.
- Aquatic Exercises: Exercising in water is perhaps the best possible alternative, as water is absolutely low impact. This is great for arthritic patients to reap the benefits of a swimming pool workout. The easiest for chronic arthritis patients would be to simply walk, or wade in water for about 20-30 minutes. This can help greatly with building strength, and endurance in the extremities. For enhancing co-ordination you can even try walking backwards in water, or simply float and relax the body. Avoid water which is too cold, as that might adversely affect your condition.
- Stretching and Yoga: All easy stretches for the limbs and joints will be helpful to facilitate ease in movements, and dealing with joint pain. Standing leg raises, shoulder raises, wrist rolls are exercises which can be done quite easily, and can help keep the body supple. Though yoga also enhances flexibility, it goes way beyond just that, and actually aims at harmonizing the life force in the internal and external organs as well.
No matter what type of exercise suits you, always remember:
- Proper warm up exercises are a must for the arthritic patient, as that can help reduce, and eliminate the possibility of injuries while working out.
- Do not force your body into an exercise regimen, if you are experiencing pain. It is quite ok to take a day off if the joints are sore.
- Get into an exercise routine slowly as your body might take a little longer to recover from it.
- Always seek the advice of an expert or a doctor before making any alterations to your regimen.