If you suffer from arthritis, exercise or activities that make use of those joints may be painful and difficult. However, exercise and movement is good for osteoarthritis and should be part of any core treatment. It may hurt to begin with but can then ease pain and help keep the joint supple and healthy.
Osteoarthritis (the wear and tear form of arthritis) is very common. It happens when joints become damaged with age and injury. Being overweight also contributes to it. Exercise, although difficult and painful at first, should be the main treatment according to new guidelines from the UK.
Many people believe that exercise can harm the joints further. Exercising, knowing it will not further damage the joint, can build confidence to live your life as you like and not fall into a sedentary lifestyle.
Exercise builds muscle and can help maintain a healthy weight, which is important for managing osteoarthritis. If you have pain, consider using an anti-inflammatory cream or medication. Of course, talk to your doctor before taking any kind of medication.
Therefore, what exercises help? Your doctor or a physiotherapist can advise on what is best for you but some general guidelines include:
- Low impact activities such as walking, cycling, or water activities (swimming, aqua fit, etc.)
- Strengthening exercises that work major muscle groups to help maintain muscle strength to support joints
- Flexibility exercises including gentle stretching and balance work
- Aerobic exercises that increase your heart rate (walk, hike, cycle, easy jog)
- Remember to warm up before any activity.
Being active will not only help manage arthritis it will also improve your over all health resulting in an increased quality of life.