Exercise can have a substantial impact on your overall health as well as symptoms related to arthritis, and it plays a key role in successfully managing the condition. With an engaging but manageable workout routine, you should see a variety of benefits including reduced fatigue, lower levels of joint pain, and improved flexibility and strength.
Adding to your exercise routine or starting a new one doesn’t have to be overly strenuous, as even relatively low-impact workouts can contribute to positive changes. These simple exercises will help you feel your best and manage your arthritic symptoms, allowing you to maintain an active lifestyle.
Why Exercise Matters
We all know that exercise can have a range of positive effects on seemingly all areas of our physical and mental health, but fewer people are aware of its unique importance for people with arthritis. Beyond the general benefits like feeling more energetic and happy, staying active has more specific effects on arthritic symptoms.
People often assume that strenuous exercise will only lead to increased joint pain and other symptoms, but the truth is that a sedentary lifestyle will lead to significantly worse results. Your joints depend on the surrounding tissue and nearby muscles to help support your bones, so keeping your body strong will reduce joint stress.
Building an Exercise Plan
If you’ve decided to start taking your workout more seriously, your first step should be to meet with your doctor or get direct access to physical therapy in order to discuss your current health as well as your goals. These professionals can help you create a personalized routine and continue to make adjustments as needed.
Aerobic exercises are intended to improve your cardiovascular health and have a broad range of benefits, but your physical therapist may also recommend exercises for building strength or increasing your mobility. It’s important to work closely with your therapist and be honest about your capabilities, and you may want to find a physical therapist who has experience working with arthritic patients.
Minimizing Joint Stress
Although exercise can significantly reduce joint-related symptoms of arthritis, it may take time for your body to adjust to a new workout. If your exercise routine feels overly strenuous or begins to cause joint pain, talk to your therapist and consider slowing down until you feel ready.
Using a heat pack before exercise can help prepare your muscles, and icing any painful or swollen areas after you’ve finished will ameliorate those symptoms. Above all, never try to push through anything more than mild pain, and be patient if your body is taking time to acclimate to your exercises.
Compression and Arthritis
Compression sleeves are designed to reduce inflammation that accompanies arthritis while keeping joints comfortably warm. Compression wear is offered in a variety of styles (e.g. foot sleeves, knee sleeves, and leg sleeves), and each benefits those suffering from arthritis by providing pressure to the joints and increasing blood flow. For example, a leg sleeve is known to prevent cold feet, a common symptom of arthritic patients.
Wearing compression sleeves throughout the day can help reduce swelling and make it easier to live with arthritis. As a noninvasive option, compression clothing does not carry side effects and can be used whenever needed. Compression wear is an easy and effective choice for those looking to manage their arthritic symptoms.
Having arthritis can often feel difficult and limiting, but a regular exercise routine designed by a physical therapist can help you manage many of the challenges that come with this condition. Over time, you’ll begin to feel much stronger and more mobile, giving you the opportunity to live life to the fullest.