The Best Exercises for Patients with Arthritis

Regular exercise is good for your overall health. But what if you have arthritis? Does the extra strain on your joints from exercising make the pain worse?

No. In fact, exercise may actually help improve the symptoms of arthritis. Exercise increases the strength and flexibility of the muscles and other tissues that support your joints. It also helps you lose weight or maintain a healthy weight, minimizing extra pressure on your joints.

But there are some exercises that are better for helping control the symptoms of arthritis than others. Such exercises include those that improve:

Before beginning any new exercise program, discuss your plans with one of our medical professionals at Nova Physician Wellness Center.

Range of motion

Exercises that improve your ability to move your joints through their full range of motion are critically important when you have arthritis. Some forms of exercise that may help your range of motion include yoga, tai chi, and Pilates.

If you’re not interested in a formal class or program to improve your range of motion, you may choose to do some simple stretches each day. If you’re especially stiff in the morning, you should spend a few minutes stretching to help your day go better.

Focus on gently stretching and moving your joints through the full motion. If you’re not sure where to start, talk to us about which stretches are most likely to benefit you.

Building strength

Exercises that build strong muscles and bones are extremely important when you have arthritis because strong muscles provide support for your weakening joints. Examples of strengthening exercises include:

It’s important to warm up and do some gentle stretching before doing strength-building exercises so that you don’t strain your muscles. You should also vary your routine so that you’re exercising different muscle groups on consecutive days to avoid overtraining. For example, if you do exercises to strengthen your chest and arms one day, work on your legs the next day.

Aerobic exercise

Aerobic exercise helps your overall health and improves your cardiovascular health. It’s great for relieving stress and helps with weight loss or weight maintenance. With arthritis, you should focus on low-impact, moderate-intensity forms of aerobic exercise.

Your goal should be at least 150 minutes of aerobic exercise each week, but you may need to build up to that slowly or break it into 10-minute blocks. There are many types of low-impact exercises:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the “talk test” to measure the intensity of your exercise. When you’re doing moderate-intensity exercise, you should be able to talk but not sing.

If you’ve been diagnosed with arthritis and you’re beginning an exercise program, book an appointment online or by phone for a consultation with one of our medical professionals at Nova Physician Wellness Center. They’re happy to provide an evaluation and help you design a program that suits your needs.

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