The Importance of Exercising When You Have Arthritis

The Importance of Exercising When You Have Arthritis

An estimated 54 million Americans have arthritis, and 24 million find that arthritis limits their activity level. Arthritis is characterized by joint inflammation that causes pain and stiffness.

Osteoarthritis, or wear-and-tear arthritis, is the most common form of the condition. It occurs when joint cartilage disappears over time and bones begin grinding against one another. Rheumatoid arthritis, the second most common type, is an autoimmune disorder that also causes joint pain.

If you have arthritis, you might avoid physical activity in an effort to prevent pain. However, regular exercise is crucial if you have arthritis. It might sound counterintuitive, but moving your joints can preserve your mobility and improve your arthritis symptoms. 

Jocelyn R Idema, D.O., at Steel City Spine and Orthopedic Center, offers comprehensive solutions for arthritis pain. From the latest treatments to exercises that you can do every day, she can help you live with less arthritis pain. 

Exercise helps ease arthritis symptoms

Arthritis causes joint pain and stiffness, and it can make moving painful. You may think that not exercising is the best way to prevent joint pain, but the truth is that living an inactive lifestyle can make arthritis pain even worse.

If you don’t use your joints, they can become stiffer and more painful. Exercise might be uncomfortable at first, but maintaining an exercise routine when you have arthritis can improve your symptoms in the long run.

Exercising when you have arthritis can help you maintain and improve joint mobility. Exercise can strengthen the muscles around your joints and help preserve bone strength. When the muscles and tendons around your joints are healthy, arthritis symptoms can improve.

Over time, moving and exercising can lessen arthritis symptoms and prevent progressive deterioration. By using your joints, you’ll be able to better manage your condition and maintain a better quality of life.

Along with exercising, stretching is important if you’re living with arthritis. Stretching can help preserve your range of motion and relieve stiffness and discomfort. Movements for arthritis can include lifting your arms above your head and gently rolling your shoulders.

Getting at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity can significantly lessen arthritis pain. Try to incorporate 2-3 days of moderate strength training each week, and stretch before and after you exercise.

The best exercises for arthritis pain

Staying active is one of the best things you can do to manage arthritis pain. Dr. Idema can help you find the right types of exercise for you based on your overall health and the severity of your arthritis.

In general, people with arthritis find that low-impact aerobic and strength training activities can help minimize joint pain. Low-impact activities are easier on joints, but they still offer all of the healthy benefits of exercising.

Some popular low-impact activities include:

These activities will allow you to move your body and not put too much pressure on your joints. Take time to warm up slowly before exercising. Ease into physical activity and listen to your body. If you experience sharp or increasing pain, stop exercising and rest. 

When you’re increasing your activity level, you might notice that your joints hurt more. Consider applying heat or ice for 20 minutes at a time to reduce swelling and ease the pain as you get used to a more active lifestyle. 

In addition to strengthening your joints and helping you preserve your range of motion, regular physical activity can promote heart health, boost energy levels, and help you maintain a healthy weight. All of these benefits are an essential part of managing arthritis plan.

Arthritis is a chronic condition, but that doesn’t mean you have to accept a life of ongoing pain. Let Dr. Idema and her team help you find arthritis treatments and exercises that can help you. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone with Steel City Spine and Orthopedic Center today.

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