Exercising With Arthritis

Arthritis troubles many seniors. There are different types of arthritis that can damage the joints of sufferers. Osteoarthritis is a disease that breaks down the cartilage in joints. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder where the body itself attacks the tissues in the joints and causes bone on bone grinding.

Arthritis is painful and troubling. If left alone, it will cause debilitating problems and turn every day actions into difficult tasks fraught with pain. However there’s hope for people with arthritis. Exercise offers a great way to minimize the damage that arthritis does to a person’s body.

Exercising With Arthritis

One way to combat the onset of arthritis into the joints is to ensure regular exercise. This will help minimize symptoms and slow down the onset of joints losing their range of motion. Exercising with arthritis is often very difficult. Arthritis tends to set in during times with a lack of movement. People with arthritis will often wake up in the morning in much pain.

This pain and stiffness can make it very difficult to will oneself to exercise. However those suffering from arthritis need to overcome this problem. By exercising properly, they can help support their joints and ensure their bodies feel as good as possible.

There’s more benefits to exercising if you have arthritis. In addition to maintaining bone and muscle strength, it also assists with daily life. Those who exercise sleep better.

Workout Types

Typically when you are choosing to work out with arthritis, there’s three different reasons you’re going to do it. The first is to work on your range of motion. These exercises work to help the joints continue to reach their maximum range. The second type is strengthening exercises. The goal here is to create additional muscle that will support the joints and try to protect them from additional damage.

Stretching/Flexibility Workouts

As mentioned, the goal of these workouts is to extend the full range of motion to your joints. Some may consider these exercises to be stretching exercises rather than a standard workout. In truth, that’s fairly accurate. These stretching exercises should be done every day.

A typical workout will include shoulder rolls, raising your arms over your head or lunges. The workouts and exercises are specifically tailored towards the locations where your arthritis is painful.

Strength Workouts

As mentioned, strength workouts aim to strengthen the muscles around the joints. This provides vital support and takes pressure off joints so that they can work to heal themselves. Strength training should not be repeated every day. Programs of three days per week will improve muscle strength, while two days per week will maintain strength.

A basic strength workout may look like this:

  1. 15 Squats
  2. 10 Pushups
  3. 20 Bicep Curls (Alternating Arms)
  4. 10 Push Ups
  5. 20-30 Jumping Jacks

A break should be taken after each exercise and then repeat the routine for three rounds. This is merely a very basic strength workout. However if a person finds themselves unable to complete each exercise, they should not stress and hurt themselves. Consulting a doctor before any strength exercise routine should be mandatory.

Aerobic/Cardio Workouts

The goal of any good cardio or aerobic workout is to try and get your heartrate up to improve your cardiovascular health. These workouts do a great job of helping with overall health. The downside is that many of the workouts for this can be very high impact. For those with arthritis, the best option is to opt for workouts that don’t include these impacts and protect the joints. This includes:

  • Walking
  • Cycling
  • Swimming
  • Water Aerobics
  • Elliptical Machines

Some of these can seem daunting. A good workout routine will encourage 2 ½ hours of these exercises every week. It can easily be split up into small sections of around 10 minutes/session as a minimum. If you are not capable of 150 minutes of aerobic exercise during a week, the goal has to be to work up to that amount.

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